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How to Become an "Expert Knitter"   *Buy this book on CD for offline reading!

table of contents Ľ chapter 1 (of 29)

1: Choosing Patterns, Yarns & Size (cont.)

Will it look good with wear?

Scrunch a bit of yarn tightly. If it is still kinked up after a few minutes, it means there is a problem with recovery, and as you wear the garment it could crease and even sag. Quite often, these yarns canít be ironed successfully, so you will have to appreciate a creased effect.

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Will it fluff?

Loosely wound wool or cotton yarn will be more likely to fluff, fuzz or pill. This is the result of the fibres being too short to be held by the twist, and they will work their way out of the yarn. A quick test is to rub the yarn with your finger, or rub some strands together. If it fluffs quickly, find another yarn.

Short fibres are less valuable, and usually used in lower quality yarns. Good quality  yarn is made from more expensive, long fibre  wool or cotton and so the price of the yarn points to a better product. If you buy a better quality yarn, any garment you make will look and wear better for a longer time.

A garment made from good yarn or one made with a shoddy yarn takes exactly the same time to knit and finish. Donít waste your time and effort with a yarn that is not going to stand up to any wear.

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Making sense of the symbols on ball bands

Read all the information on the ball bands. Sometimes the information is in words, sometimes in symbols. As I write this, I have been told that there are moves to standardise the symbols and advice, but at the moment, it is a grab-bag. Itís all there, you just have to be able to understand it. Use your common sense, and most of the instructions will be clear. (However, I have to admit defeat. There is one symbol I cannot understand. Itís a table with something on it. I simply have no idea what on earth it is supposed to be telling me. Iíve searched the Internet, jumped on people in yarn shops, looked in knitting books and Iím still waiting for a revelation!)


There is a large variation of symbols in just a few ball band samples.

Most ball bands use symbols to convey the information you will need. Although they vary slightly from company to company, they are divided into five different shapes, and on or around the shape will be the relevant information for the yarn you have chosen.

A crossed shape means JUST DONíT DO IT (whatever ďitĒ is)!

The basic symbols follow:

  Washing instructions

  Bleaching instructions

  Drying instructions

  Ironing or pressing instructions

  Dry cleaning instructions

It is easy to understand what you have to do when you can decode the shapes.

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