Published on August 2nd, 2015 | by Angie


5 Habits of highly successful knitters

Scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest, you wonder: ”How do their projects always turn out so beautiful? What’s their secret?” We’re here to shed some light on the subject: here are some habits of successful knitters. 

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1. They limit their WIPs

5 habits of successful knitters: read more at LoveKnitting


We know this one isn’t fun – casting on a new project is exciting, inspires creativity, and leads the charge towards a new finished object. Some of us (LoveKnitting team members included!) have a tendency to cast on more projects than we have the time or energy for. If you’re choosing your next WIP based on the one set of needles you have available, you might want to scale back. Successful knitters limit themselves to a number of projects they can handle, and make themselves complete one before starting another.

2. Frogging it out. Yes, you heard me.

Habits of highly successful knitters: read more at LoveKnitting


It might be easy to ignore that tiny hole you just made, or that small error in the lace chart, but I promise, it’s not worth it. If you knowingly leave a mistake in a project you’ve been working hard on, that’s all you’ll ever see. Take the time to rip it back and re-knit, it’s worth your time to take pride in your work. (Some aren’t bothered by small errors in their work, and that’s fine! To each their own – but if you’re the sort of person to dwell on a mistake, fix it before you cast off.)

3. They take notes

5 habits of successful knitters - read more at LoveKnitting


At the end of a long night of knitting, when your eyelids are starting to feel heavy, make a note of where you were in the pattern. Too often, I will think that it will be obvious where I left off in the morning, only to wake up and have no idea if I was on row 13 or 15! Take notes. Do it.

4. Learn something new every day

Why does my yarn have knots in it? Read more at LoveKnitting


Learning something new about knitting doesn’t have to be a scary endeavor – it can be as easy as reading the above blog post (or any of these how-tos)! Some knitters swear by the 1% rule: 15 minutes spent learning something new is only 1% of your day, so why not spend that 1% wisely?

5. Have a knitting tool kit

Habits of successful knitters: having a knitting tool kitClick here to check out this knitting tool kit!

Highly successful knitters have a tool kit that contains everything they need for a project. Point protectors, stitch markers, stitch holders, measuring tape, and more – don’t get frustrated when you don’t have an accessory you need, be prepared! (Don’t forget your scissors!)

What are your “successful knitter” tips? Share them with other readers in the comments below!

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About the Author

Jack of all trades, Master of Netflix and video games. A musician by passion, a gamer by choice, and a crafter by chance: I write about knitting and crochet, design fun patterns, and blog at GamerCrafting!

Last updated: August 10th, 2015.

31 Responses to 5 Habits of highly successful knitters

  1. People laugh at me, but I love to swatch. I can’t imagine spending that much on good yarn and investing all that time without knowing how the yarn’s going to behave.

    And I limit my WIPs. Right now I’ve got one sweater and 2 pairs of socks going. And that’s it! Anything more than that and nothing gets finished. My knitting mantra is “Finished Is Good!”.

    • Lorraine says:

      Ha Ha – I am learning to love swatching! It takes soooooooo much time to start something and then find that your gauge is so far off the project would fit an elephant or a mouse but not that 6 month old baby it was meant for. !!!!!!

  2. Linda Quick says:

    Life lines… ‘nuf said.

  3. mkg says:

    Learn to block well and then ALWAYS do it!

  4. Natadcha says:

    I have about 3 or 4 pencil cases filled with everything I will ever need. Scissors, safety pins, sewing up needles, tape measure, oddments of yarn, needle gauge, pencils, hair pins and on and on. When ever I cast on a new project I have the extras ready to go.

  5. Ginny says:

    Numbers 1 and 2 on any list like this ought to be swatching and blocking.

  6. Penny Tasker says:

    as for knots in yarn … I’ve learned to always rewind Noro yarns. I’m not bothered by their knots, but with the long colour gradients I like to know I can go ahead!! It’s made up for by the beauty of the yarn.

  7. Always practise new techniques on spare scrappy yarn. That way, you’ll get your mistakes out of the way before you launch into the heirloom lace tablecloth you’re making for your great aunt.

  8. Findy says:

    I’ve been knitting for over 40 years, and I’ve never knitted a tension square, and I’ve never blocked anything. I also don’t have any particular gadgets, never heard of point protectors, and I keep track of which row of a pattern I am on by writing it down on apiece of paper, or the edge of the pattern. if it is colour work, I tick off each row when I have completed it. If you look at the pattern as you are knitting, you should be able to see where the stitches are going after a few rows I do have a huge bag of knitting needles, and a needle gauge, but that’s about it

    • Welsh_Tenor says:

      My grandfather knitted for 40+ years till he passed away a few years ago, he had the same approach as you, I don’t ever remember him swatching, he ran up jumpers like a pro!

      I’m not quite that confident though so I tend to follow the general view of swatch and block…

    • view stitch says:

      I use “point protectors” all the time. (They are rubber stoppers you put on the end of your needles when you aren’t knitting. Some people use them to protect their points, but they keep your stitches from slipping off the needles.) By using them I can slip my row counter onto my work and always know where I am when I pick it up again. I use them mainly because I don’t go anywhere without my knitting, which means it has travelled in some chaotic situations.

    • Linda Galloway says:

      A lady after my own heart. I learned to knit when I was 4 – 60 years ago now, and continue to see it as a relaxation, so I just jump in there and knit. Point protectors are old wine bottle corks – and only when I’m travelling; all my FUPs (frequently used patterns) have notes of stitch numbers, rows worked etc. and I do keep track of row numbers with row counters. I have several bags of knitting needles, files of patterns and a great big stash of yarn. All I need, really.

  9. evelyn says:

    Have just brought home from storage a large amount of yarn. Very few individual yarns have labels. I am matching to the labels as best I can but am desperate to get all the yarn separated according to its gauge Please HELP!

  10. Dianne White says:

    I’ve always been completely organised when I knit, ie when I have the time which is governed by how busy I am with other people and things. My stepson calls me the “neatness nazi”, but I have to completely finish off one project such as cleaning out my knitting basket and any left over wool is put back into my stash and all scraps relegated to the bin. I’m like this with just about everything I do, but setting yourself up for your next WIP is essential as far as I am concerned. Even when we are travelling away (short trips), I have a knitting bag which also has everything I would need for the current project – for me, organisation is the key !

  11. Dianne says:

    As I have been ready the comments is it always to do swatches to find out the tension and the pattern. Never done it before but I think I will just to see how it comes out .

  12. janet says:

    stop when you’re tired. too many times i thought i’d just do one more row and that’s when the thing risks frogging.

  13. Nikki says:

    Like Findy I have been knitting a long time, 50+ years and now I don’t swatch, block for tension or anything I take it as it comes and things usually work out as planned. I am a bit obsessive about making notes on a complicated pattern, in fact patterns in general and have to have my trust notebook to hand. I always start off a new page noting the size of the item I’m knitting, colour etc so if I have to leave it for any length of time I always know where I’m up to. My biggest problem these days is finding affordable yarn 🙁

  14. view stitch says:

    You forgot row counters in your list of tools. If you use them faithfully, you will always know where you are when you pick up your knitting again.

    I learned to knit from my perfectionist mother almost 60 years ago, and she followed all of your tips, and so do I. One difference in your list: she only knit one thing at a time until she finished it. I generally have 2 things going: one complicated (need to pay close attention); one mindless (can knit in the car at night).

  15. Catty says:

    I have been knitting for a lot of years now, but only just started blocking recently, it really does make an amazing difference to the finished garment. I also used to mark off my rows, until I got a free owl row counter from a knitting magazine, you just click the top, it is easier and quicker than picking up my pencil and marking off the row. I also now use needle protectors they stop me losing my stitches off inside my knitting bag. Over the years I have learnt it is best to finish one thing before starting another, however like many others have said I do keep a small tem for travelling by bus, usually a pair of baby socks on four small needles. Oh, and I nearly forgot I must stop knitting when I am tired it is fatal, my knitting is usually in a mess and to take back, the next day.

  16. Jan says:

    I put all of my patterns in Knit Companion on my iPad. I no longer need magnet boards, sticky tape, etc. I can pick up any UFO, pull up the pattern, and I know exactly where I was the last time I put it down whether it was last night or last year. I have no connection with this product other than I love it and I love how it has increased my productivity and reduced my error rate.

    • Nicky says:

      Me too. Love the app. Now I can’t manage without – haven’t paid for any of the extras though. It would be nice if someone could tell me exactly what they do and whether it is worth it.

    • Frankie says:

      Just downloaded Knit Companion…..thanks

  17. Dottie says:

    I use pencil boxes, too. I also used them for counted cross-stitch when I had the manual dexterity for it. My grandmother taught me 64 years ago. She taught me to use a sturdy bag for my projects and something that snapped, zipped or clicked to store tools. While teaching I discovered pencil boxes. Don’t swatch but would rather frog a few inches than swatch. Do use leftovers to learn new patterns. My other best tip: Use Fiskers For Kids as scissors. The ones with round tips and bright plastic handles. They are very sharp and cut fiber easily but won’t poke holes in your project or your bag. And the TSA people? They will take them out, stare at them, and show them to each other, but they have never suggested that they could be used as a weapon.

  18. Ernie says:

    Having a couple of wips helps me with hand strain. Since each pattern or technique uses different set of motions, it gives my hands a rest while still being able to knit, and, crochet.

  19. Ernie says:

    Note: Blocking can take a rough textured cheaper yarn project to a softer more luxurious feeling project. I’m always amazed when i compare the differences.

  20. Louise says:

    I always use post-it notes to keep my place in a pattern. . I also have a knitting notebook where I keep any notes on completed projects in case I want to knit them again.

  21. Nancy Kindlund says:

    I am enjoying this blog & all the helpful tips! I have knitted a little in the past, mostly baby blankets & afghans years ago. Now I am into sock knitting, love it, & on my third pair! I am saving patterns for other stuff too that looks interesting, but so far, socks are keeping me busy! Thanks for all the great tips & sharing, everyone!

  22. Trudy says:

    I have been knitting for nearly 60 years and was a pattern tester for Coats Patons. I used to do swatches for all the Coats patterns but I know that I am an “average” knitter and all my tensions are spot on so I don’t bother now. However, I do use a scrap piece of yarn to weave up my work every rows as I go. Makes row counting and measuring easier. Always, always, block. It just finishes the garment off. You wouldn’t sew a dress and not iron it! Same deal. Also, I keep all my patterns in plastic pockets in lever arch files – men, women, babies. And, my favourite patterns, I now photocopy and laminate so that they don’t get destroyed. I am kicking myself for not laminating patterns years ago. It makes them indestructible and if you, like me have a fave that you knit over and over, it will protect your patterns. Oh, and I only do 1 thing at a time. I did make and exception when I went on holidays earlier this month. I left a knitting project going at home and took a new crochet project with me.
    Happy knitting.

  23. Margaret says:

    I have been knitting for 74yrs.My mother taught me when I was 4yrs old.
    I am still in love with knitting and knit for family and charity.
    I love the colour ,feel ,texture of all types of yarn and still get excited when starting a new project.
    We are so lucky to have the limitless choice of yarn and needles which is why I always have several projects on the go as I can’t resist buying!
    A few years ago I visited Shetland and had the great pleasure of going to Jamiesons wool shop.If I could I’d live in that shop.Oh happy day!!!!!!

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