3 Easy Ways to Join a New Skein of Yarn in Knitting


It’s just a fact folks.  Whether you are a knitting beginner or an experienced knitter, at some point in your knitting journey, you are going to have to join a new skein of yarn while working on a project.

This can happen when you come to the end of your first skein of yarn or your project calls for a color change.  Your project may even require a change of color in the middle of a row!

Regardless,  the same technique is used in all three cases.  Thus,  this is an extremely important skill to master.

Adding new yarn might seem scary.  I know I was terrified the first time my project called for a color change.  I actually broke out in a cold sweat!  But, truthfully, there’s no need to panic.

Joining a new skein of yarn to your knitting project is much easier than you think.  Let me show you how!

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Beginner Knitting: The Easiest Way to Cast Off

How to Cast Off in Knitting

Knitting by Itchin' for some Stitchin'

* This post contains affiliate links.  See my full Disclosure Policy for details.


Hello, fellow knitters!  Today’s tutorial is part of my beginner knitting series.  If you’ve followed along then you should be familiar with the knitting basics and now be comfortable with how to make a slip knot, how to cast on, how to knit the knit stitch, and how to knit the purl stitch.

Now it’s time to learn how to bind off, also called casting off. Binding off is the process of securing the last row of stitches to create an edge that will not unravel.  This is also known as finishing the edge.  There are many ways to bind off and each method produces a different edge on your knitting project.

When I was a knitting beginner, my first project sat, finished, but untouched for weeks before I learned how to bind off.  This is because binding off sounded complicated to me.  I am not ashamed to admit that knitting was and sometimes still is difficult for me.  Knitting doesn’t come as naturally to me as crochet or sewing does.

Despite this, I love it and continue to work hard to improve my knitting skills.  Thus, in the beginning, learning to bind off my knitting projects was intimidating.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t worry!

I am going to guide you through the Basic or Standard Binding Off method, the most common binding off technique because it is the one that most knitting beginners learn first. And believe it or not, this binding off method turned out to be super easy!  If I can master it, so can you.  🙂

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Everything You Need to Know About Knitting Needles

* This post contains affiliate links.  See my full Disclosure Policy for details.

Beginner Knitting: All About Needles. http:/www.itchinforsomestitchin.com


Hi folks! This post is for all you knitters out there, especially if you are a newbie knitter. Knowing how to cast on, make stitches, and deciding on a pattern are not the only important things you need to do when starting a knitting project. You need to make sure that you are picking the correct yarn and needles as well.

When I started knitting I went to the craft store and stood in the aisle staring at all the needle choices. Long ones, short ones, shiny ones, thick ones, round ones, plastic ones, wood ones… it went on and on. I had no idea which ones I needed. As a beginner the array was overwhelming.

So today I want to review the different types of knitting needles available so you can pick the right tool for your project and hopefully save you some of the frustration I suffered as a knitting newbie.

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Free Easy Knit Scarf Pattern

My Needles are Knitting Again!

Men's Knit Scarf. itchinforsomestitchin.com


Hi everyone!  For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I put down my knitting needles nearly two years ago.  I promised you and myself that I would pick them back up and relearn this wonderful fabric arts technique.  I bet you thought I’d never actually do it.  Ha!  You were wrong!  I’ve been practicing for weeks and I feel like I am back in the swing of things.   😃

My first attempt was a dishcloth pattern.  It was a major failure.  I learned that when you are a beginning knitter or just relearning how to knit, it is best to use a pattern that calls for larger size needles.  The smaller needles used to make dish cloths are just too difficult to work with when you are a knitting novice.  I remembered from my first time around that the prayer shawl knitting club I belonged to suggested size 15 needles, but I found these to be much too large for my hands to work with.  I went down to size 13 needles and found that these suit me perfectly.

I also discovered that it is best to use bulkier yarn like a Super Bulky 6 weight yarn.  Thinner yarns are harder to maneuver, especially when you are still trying to master how to use the needles as well.  Thus, I looked for a simple project that called for bulky yarn and large needles.  After reviewing multiple patterns I decided to cut my teeth on an easy knit scarf pattern from redheart.com.  I simplified the pattern slightly and used a smaller needle size, just because I have small hands and smaller needles are easier for me to work with.  Here’s my changes:


Free Easy Knit Scarf


1.  Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick, Super Bulky 6 yarn, Claret

Easy Knit Scarf. itchinforsomestitchin.com2.  US 13 (9mm) needles

3. Yarn needle


K = Knit stitch

Second side of Knit scarf. itchinforsomestitchin.com

Side 2

One side of Knit Scarf. itchinforsomestitchin.com

Side 1

P = Purl stitch

sts = stitch (es)

Pattern Stitch:  Garter Rib

Rows 1-2 (Right Side): Knit all sts.

Row 3: K2, p3, k2, p3, k2.

Repeat rows 2-3 until scarf measures 81⁄2” wide x 60” long [22 cm x 152 cm].

Final 2 rows:  Knit all sts.



Weave in ends using yarn needle



Now, I’ve said repeatedly that this is an EASY pattern and that’s the truth, but remember, I am also just relearning how to knit.  So, just because the pattern was easy, doesn’t mean it was without its trials!

There I was, knitting along, purring to myself about how simple this pattern was and patting myself on the back for mastering it so quickly, when I realized that I had messed up.  Not once, but twice!

Knitted scarf. www.itchinforsomestitchin.com


These two patches were made by inadvertently repeating a row, continuing correctly, and then repeating a row again.  For example, I knitted two rows of Row 3 when I should have only knitted one, then I followed the pattern correctly for a while, then I knitted two rows of Row 2 when I should have only knitted one.

Now, I actually liked the effect and would have kept it, thereby creating my own unique pattern.  However, the two patches of errors occurred at the end of my scarf.  There were no errors in the remaining 80% of the scarf.  Leaving the patches would make the scarf look uneven.  So… I had to rip it all out.

Usually I pride myself on not making the same mistake twice.  Yet, in this case, I repeated this same error five times!  Yes folks, I said five times.  Five errors, five rip-outs, and five re-dos.  For shame!  If you could see my face you would note it is beet red with embarrassment!

This taught me a valuable lesson.  Sometimes even with the simplest of patterns it is best to find some way of marking each completed row.  Either write it down or tag each row with a different color.  For instance, I could have used a blue stitch marker to designate a completed knit row and used a pink stitch marker to mark a completed k2, p3, k2, p3, k2 row.

Despite the pitfalls, I am quite pleased with the finished product.  It created a soft and cozy scarf that will be perfect for those breezy autumn or chilly winter days.  Yes, I realize that it is currently summer and nobody wants to wear a scarf in the summer!  But, as I said earlier, I needed a simple project to start with and this pattern met all the necessary criteria.  Plus, I love the color and think it can suit both a woman or a man.  Maybe my fiancé and I will share it?  Nah…. I’m too greedy for that!  😜


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The Crochet Adventure Begins

Stepping Into Crochet

After purchasing my first crochet hook and learning the basic stitches, it was time to practice.  As they say, “practice makes perfect”. The first project I completed was a funeral shroud for my cat Christine.  Morbid, but true.  I took pictures, but doubt you want to see my dead kitty, so you’ll just have to skip out on viewing my first crocheted creation.   It was made entirely of single crochet and by the time it was finished, I felt I had mastered the technique.  It was time to practice double crochet.  I decided a simple scarf would be easy enough.

I was working on this scarf during one of my weekly visits to g-ma’s when she asked me what I planned to do next.  I told her that I had been giving it a lot of thought, but as of yet hadn’t come up with anything solid.  I didn’t want to just learn another technique.  I wanted to do a prayer shawl, but couldn’t figure out how to create one on my own.  G-ma’s response?  “Why don’t you just look it up on the internet?  You know you can find tons of videos and patterns.”  Let me tell you folks, it’s utter humiliation when your 80-something year old grandma schools you in the use and benefits of the internet.  I hadn’t even thought of it.  Oh the shame…  ha… ha… ha…

I spent that evening scouring the internet for my next crochet project.  I wanted something that was easy, but involved more than just single & double crochet.  After reviewing loads of patterns I settled on a Simple One Skein Wrap from Caron.  This is a free pattern that I have seen reproduced on several sites such as favecrafts.com and allfreecrochet.com so I think it should be okay for me to post it here.  I am still new to the legalities of what I can and cannot post on this website and will remove it if it turns out that I am not allowed to post it.  If anyone does know the rules for re-posting free information on the web, please let me know in the comments below, thanks.

Moving on… I picked this pattern for three reasons.  It was beautiful, it was labeled “EASY”, and I had just bought Caron One Pound yarn in off-white on sale at Wal-mart.  However, if you are a beginning crocheter, please wait before diving into this pattern.  It was NOT easy! I don’t know if it is how the pattern is written, if it is mislabeled as “easy” when it really should be “intermediate” or “difficult”, or if I just simply picked a project that was too far above my skill level, but I was so frustrated with the pattern that my g-ma actually had to complete first and then show me how to do it.   And, just so you know,  even my g-ma struggled with this pattern.  Thus, as it turns out, this is not a good choice for a beginner.

Simple One Skein Wrap

Image courtesy of caron.com

Image courtesy of caron.com

Finished Measurements:  Wrap measures approximately 24″/61cm wide x 68″/172.5cm long

Crochet Hook: N/15 or 10 mm hook

Yarn Weight: (4) Medium Weight/Worsted Weight and Aran (16-20 stitches to 4 inches)

Materials:  1 skein of Caron One Pound (454 g/16. oz;742 m/812 yds),  pictured in Cream #0589 (you can use any color you like)

Gauge:  In pattern, 3 pattern repeats = 16″/40.5cm and 7 rows = 8″/20.5cm.

Note: One pattern repeat forms one “wave”,
and includes one dc7tog, 6 tr, and the ch-1 sps between them.


1.  Wrap is worked horizontally (lengthwise).

2.  For a longer or shorter wrap, work more or fewer beginning chains in multiples of 12. Each multiple of 12 will lengthen or shorten the wrap by about 2″/5cm.

3.  For a wider or narrower wrap, work more or fewer repeats of Rows 2 and 3.

Stitches used:  Chain (ch), double crochet (dc), single crochet (sc), treble crochet (tr)

Special Terms:
dc2tog: Double crochet 2 together—[Yarn over, insert hook in next stitch and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] 2 times, yarn over and draw through 3 loops on hook.
dc3tog: Double crochet 3 together—[Yarn over, insert hook in next stitch and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, yarn over and draw through 4 loops on hook.
dc4tog: Double crochet 4 together—[Yarn over, insert hook in next stitch and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] 4 times, yarn over and draw through 5 loops on hook.
dc7tog: Double crochet 7 together—[Yarn over, insert hook in next stitch and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] 7 times, yarn over and draw through 8 loops on hook.


Ch 159 loosely.

Row 1: Dc3tog working over 4th ch from hook and next 2 ch, ch 1, [tr in next ch, ch 1] twice, (tr, ch 1, tr) in next ch, [ch 1, tr in next ch] twice, ch 1, *dc7tog over next 7 ch, ch 1, [tr in next ch, ch 1] twice, (tr, ch 1, tr) in next ch, [ch 1, tr in next ch] twice, ch 1; repeat from * to last 4 ch, dc4tog over last 4 ch, turn—13 pattern repeats.

Row 2: Ch 3, dc in next ch-1 sp, [dc in next tr, dc in next ch-1 sp] 5 times, dc in next tr, *dc2tog over next 2 ch-1 sps (skipping the dc7tog in between), [dc in next tr, dc in next ch-1 sp] 5 times, dc in next tr; repeat from * across to last ch-1 sp, dc2tog over last ch-1 sp and last dc3tog, turn.

Row 3: Ch 3, sk first dc2tog, dc3tog over next 3 dc, ch 1, [tr in next dc, ch 1] twice, (tr, ch 1, tr) in next dc, [ch 1, tr in next dc] twice, ch 1, *dc7tog over next 7 dc, ch 1, [tr in next dc, ch 1] twice, (tr, ch 1, tr) in next dc, [ch 1, tr in next dc] twice, ch 1; repeat from * to last 4 dc, dc4tog over last 4 dc, turn.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until piece measures 24″/61cm wide (or to desired width). Fasten off.


Cut remaining yarn into strands 14–16″/35.5–40.5cm long. Holding 2 strands together, fold fringe in half. *Insert crochet hook from WS to RS in side edge of wrap, pull fold through, insert ends into fold and pull tight against edge; repeat from *, working across side edge. Repeat across other side edge.

Knotted Fringe (Optional)
Draw one end of the 2 strands all the way through the piece, folding the strands in half, until all 4 ends are even, tie an overhand knot about 1″/2cm from side edge.

I chose to do the regular fringe and with g-ma’s help it took me about a week to complete.  It turned out beautifully! Thus far, everyone who has seen it loves it and  I hope you do too!  By the way, I was so excited to get into this pattern that I never finished the double-crochet scarf.  This shawl ended up being my second crocheted creation and my first major crocheted project.  And boy was it ever a “project”!  Whew…
My Simple One Skein Shawl

My Simple One Skein Shawl

Close up of pattern

Close up of pattern

Close up of fringe & pattern

Close up of fringe & pattern


Crochet 101: Lesson One

Basic Crochet Stitches

Crochet is a craft in which a patterned fabric is created by looping yarn, thread, or other material with a hooked needle.  Like knitting, crochet consists of pulling loops through other loops, but with the addition of wrapping the working material around the hook one or more times.  Unlike knitting, and with a few exceptions, in crochet only one stitch is active at one time.  Also, crochet uses a single crochet hook instead of two knitting needles.  Crochet has its own system of symbols to represent each stitch type.  Reading a crochet pattern can be like reading a foreign language!

There are literally hundreds of different forms of crochet with more in development.  CrochetWithDee.com gives a great list of many types of crochet, so be sure to check it out.  Hundreds of crochet methods means tons of “advanced” crochet stitches, yet, there are only a few basic stitches.  If you can learn these, you can create loads of fun and unique crochet patterns!

In general, the basic crochet stitches are:  chain stitch, single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet,  and the slip stitch. Some sources also include: triple or treble crochet and double triple crochet.   The chain stitch is used to make the foundation of your crochet project and thus, is the first stitch to master.  After that, the single and double crochet stitches were the easiest for me to learn.  So, these are the three stitches I will show you today.

 The Chain Stitch(ch):  Making the Foundation Chain

The first advice I will give you about starting your foundation chain is to use at least one hook size larger than what your project calls for.  This keeps the foundation chain looser so it is easier for you to make the next round of stitches.  This is particularly important for beginning crocheters who often chain too tightly.  Once you become more skilled in the art of crochet, this tip may no longer be necessary for you.  I started out with a 9.0 mm (size N) hook, but now have no issues with using much smaller hooks right from the star

The Single Crochet Stitch(sc)

The single crochet stitch creates a tight, dense fabric. You can repeat this stitch over and over or combination with other stitches to create a pattern.


The Double Crochet Stitch(dc)

The double crochet stitch is twice the height of the single crochet and a solid, but not stiff fabric.  It is often used for making afghans, sweaters, shawls, etc…  You can combine this stitch with others to create unique patterns and textures.


With a little practice I know you will quickly master these three stitches and be on your way to creating your first crochet project!  Check back for my future posts as I will share some patterns to get you started and of course, pictures of my own projects.  Until next time!

End Knitting. Start Crochet.

From Knitting to Crochet

Around the time I started knitting I also began weekly visits to my grandparents.  It was the best day of my week.  We would watch old Bonanza or Mayberry reruns, cooking shows, chat, and share a lovely dinner.  Then one day I decided to bring my knitting to keep my hands busy and wouldn’t you know it, as turned out, my grandma (a.k.a. g-ma) was a knitter too!  Only she was and is much more advanced than me, plus, she can knit in both the English and Continental styles.  She is amazing to watch!  From there on out, knitting became a standard in our weekly time together.

Sadly, I didn’t stick with knitting for very long.  In fact, I completed two knitted prayer shawls and exchanged my knitting needles for a crochet hook.  The reason was three-fold and had nothing to do with a lack of love for the art of knitting.  Truth be told, after finishing the two prayer shawls my arms were killing me.  Prayer shawls can be long and the weight of the shawl is held by the arms as you knit.  My arms are puny and weak.  I decided to give them a break and stopped knitting for several days.

But I was restless and itchin’ for some more stitchin’, so I took my g-ma’s advice and bought a crochet hook. In crochet, the weight of the project lies mostly in your lap, plus you only need to coordinate one hook versus two needles.   Mind you, I was terribly intimidated by the crochet hook.  If you read my “about” page, you’ll remember that I had a failed crocheting experience years earlier and loathed to try again.  But, my hands needed to work and my arms needed a break.   So, crochet hook in hand, I referenced the crochet section of Reader’s Digest’s Complete Guide to Needlework and taught myself two of the elementary stitches, the single and double crochet.

Believe it or not, I had NO trouble with either!  In fact, to this day I cannot figure out why I had so much trouble when I tried to crochet years ago and feel silly that I struggled so much.  Perhaps I was just young and impatient, or maybe the guide I used back then wasn’t easy to understand, or perhaps I was simply crochet stupid and grew some extra brain cells in the years since I had put down my hook.  The truth may never be known.  The point is, I can crochet now and have only sharpened my skills since I re-started crocheting.  And all thanks to knitting, sore arms, and my g-ma’s advice.

Originally I had intended to work on two projects at once, one knitting and one crochet.  This would allow me to continue knitting, but crocheting would give my arms the rest they needed.  Learning to crochet, however, took some focus and time away from knitting.  By the time I felt comfortable enough with crochet to pick my knitting needles back up, I had forgotten how to knit!  I told myself, no worries, I will re-teach myself tomorrow… next week…. soon…  and as I am sure you can guess, soon turned into years.   Life caught up with me.  I became too busy to work on two projects at once and since I had mastered crochet and forgotten how to knit, I ultimately never picked up my needles again.  Until recently that is, but that folks, is a whole other post….

So there you have it, the three reasons I stopped knitting.  Sore arms, mastering crochet, and lack of time.  Excuses, pathetic excuses, every one of them.  Although I am still as busy as ever, so busy in fact, that my weekly visits to my grandparents have stopped

Beginner Knitting: How to Knit the Knit and Purl Stitches

Basic Knitting Stitches


Knitting Methods

Knitting is the art of creating a fabric by using yarn to make consecutive rows of interlocking loops. These interlocking loops are called ‘stitches’.  The active or working stitches are held on a needle in the left hand.  The right-hand holds the working needle.

There are different ways to hold the yarn and needles. In the ‘English’ or ‘American’ method, also called throwing,  the yarn is controlled and ‘thrown’ (looped) with the right hand to create stitches. In ‘Continental’ or ‘German’ knitting, also called picking, the yarn is controlled in the left hand and the stitches are made by ‘picking’ loops off the left needle with the needle held in the right hand.

Some knitters consider the Continental method to be faster because there is less motion. Also, since the yarn is controlled in the left hand, this method may be a little easier for left-handed knitters and somewhat more difficult for right-handed ones. However, I am a right-handed knitter and find the Continental method easier than the English method.  Thus, all knitting tutorials shown on this website are done in the Continental style and you should try both methods to find the one that works best for you.

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How to Cast On in Knitting

Casting on

The second step in knitting, casting on, is slightly more involved that the first step, the slip-knot.  Which brings me back to the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. I would love to show the detailed images from this book, which were so good that I was able to easily, if not quickly,  learn two of the five illustrated methods.  However, copyright laws prevent me from photocopying and displaying the pages.  So, I created photo/video tutorials of these two techniques to share with you.

Additionally, since my first days of knitting, I have learned that there are many more casting on methods.  I have listed all the techniques I have found and will add image/video tutorials as I learn them.


Casting on Methods (found in Reader’s Digest)

  1. Two-needle method
  2. Cable cast-on
  3. Single cast-on (“backward loop cast-on”,”e-wrap”, “e-loop”)
  4. Double cast-on (“long-tail cast-on” or “knit half-hitch cast on”)
  5. Looped cast-on

Additional Casting on Methods

  1. Knit on cast-on
  2. Tubular cast-on
  3. Provisional cast-on (“invisible cast-on”)
  4. Braided cast-on
  5. Chain cast-on
  6. Crochet chain cast-on
  7. Turkish cast-on
  8. Magic cast-on
  9. Circular cast-on
  10. Old Norwegian cast-on
  11. Picot cast-on
  12. Guernsey cast-on
  13. Rib cable cast-on

Each of these methods is best suited to a particular type of knit or situation, depending on the flexibility or firmness needed, and on how simple or elaborate you want the project to appear.    So far I have learned the single and double cast-on techniques, as demonstrated in the videos below.


Single cast-on

This technique is quick and easy to carry out, making it a favorite for children and beginners.  It creates a delicate, flexible border that is particularly good for a hem edge or lace.

Double cast-on

This popular method creates a firm, yet stretchy, edge making it suitable for any pattern that does not need a delicate border.  However, it takes some practice because you have to estimate the length of the “tail” of yarn.  If the tail is too short, you will run out of yarn before all the stitches have been cast on and you will need to pull everything out, reposition the slip-knot, leave a longer tail, and start again.  I usually estimate 2-3 inches of yarn for each cast-on.

Well, folks, that’s two casting on techniques down and 16+ to go, as there are even variations of each method listed!  So stay tuned.  I’ll post about them as soon as I learn them.

Until next time… Happy Knitting!


How to Make a Slip-Knot

Making a Slip-Knot:

The First Step in Crochet & Knitting


Hi folks!  If you’ve been following along,  you know that my fabric arts journey began with learning to knit as part of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, but I have yet to tell you how I actually learned to knit.  Well, ultimately, I taught myself.  Betty Jo, the lady with all the true knitting “know how” went on vacation for the summer and, as it turns, everyone else in the group were newbies too.  So no one really knew what they were doing and I didn’t want to wait four months to start.  I was too dim-witted to think of the internet as a resource.  Hahahaha….   Instead, I pulled out my 1979 copy of Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, gifted to me by Marianne, who had apparently decided to give up knitting and very kindly passed on some of her materials to me.  Anyway,  I opened the book and skipped straight to the knitting section where I found myself completely overwhelmed by the five illustrated methods for casting on.

As I studied these techniques, I realized that I had to back up.  Casting on was not the first step in knitting.  Before I could learn to these methods, I had to learn the essential first step.  How to make a slip-knot. A slip-knot is a knot tied so that it can slip along the rope which it is made and can easily be undone or “slipped” by pulling on the free end.  Of course, there are several ways to do this.  Let me show you mine.



I learned this technique quickly and I am sure you have too!  So let’s move to the second step in knitting, casting on.  Check out Knitting 101: Lesson 2–Casting on to learn some of the most common ways to cast on and start your knitting project.


Until next time…  Happy Knitting!