Can You Answer These Knitting Questions?


By: Maria Trimarchi

6 Min Quiz

Image: Emma Innocenti/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The Craft Yarn Council estimates fewer than 10 percent of Americans who practice knitting are men, but when the very first knitting trade union was founded in Paris, France, in 1527, it was for men only. Surprised? So were we. Whether it's been for functional uses like making sweaters, hats, and blankets, for colorful urban yarn bombing, or just purely decorative and fun (who doesn't need another cute felted thing?), people around the world have been knitting for several centuries – since the Middle Ages. In fact, experts have unearthed evidence of ancient knitting from Egypt to South America and into Europe as far back as the 11th century.

Fast forward ahead a little, and our word for "knitting" appears in the English language a few centuries later, in the 1300s. While the very first documented knitting patterns, all 126 of them, were published as far back in history as 1611, knitting continues to remain a popular pastime. Today, as many as 30 million Americans, men and women, are knitters, who, on average, spend about $20 per knitter on yarn and accessories every month -- and, of whom more than half enjoy their craft every single day.

Whether you prefer stockinette to garter, you choose bamboo to metal needles, or maybe you eschew patterns for more freestyle projects, you probably know more about your favorite hobby than you think. It's sew on!

What type of knot is made when you cast on?

A slip knot, used as the first stitch in knitting, is also known as a "stopper" knot, and it's undone simply by pulling its tail.


There are two basic kinds of stitches: knit and what?

Purl stitch is commonly called the opposite of knit stitch. Both stitches are created the same way, but purl stitches are worked from back to front instead of front to back (as knit stitches are).


What are the set of instructions on how to make a knitted item called?

Whether you're making a scarf or a sweater, a pattern will walk you through the step-by-step instructions of how to get it done.


Which of these is not a style of casting on?

Casting on is how you get your yarn onto your needles -- and it's nothing more than making a series of loops. From long-tail cast-on to knitted cast-on, there are many ways to do it, although knitted cast-on is popular among beginners.


What's it known as when you knit every stitch and row in a project?

Garter stitch is the most basic stitch among several types in knitting, although its downside is its tendency to curl. Also known as "knit stitch," it's made by knitting every stitch in every row of your project.


What does the abbreviation 'P' stand for in a pattern?

A single "p" in a knitting pattern indicates that you'll use the "purl" stitch in that section of your project.


Which needles are best suited for making an I-cord?

An I-cord is a long, skinny rope, which is a perfect project for your double-pointed needles. DPNs, as they're called, are great for knitting tubes or small circular objects, , like an I-cord, fingerless gloves, or the crown of a beanie, that are too small for circular needles.


In which knitting method do you hold the yarn in your right hand and throw it over the knitting needle?

Just like in writing, knitting moves in one direction -- from left to right. But how you hold your needles depends on the style of knitting you learned. Most Americans knit in the English style, which means the yarn is held in your right hand while you cast-on stitches in your left.


If it's not dropped stitches, what might cause holes in your knitting project?

One of the most common reasons for extra stitches and holes to appear is accidental yarn overs. This happens when you accidentally bring the working yarn to the front of your work, which then creates an extra loop on your needle as you make a stitch.


What's it called when you do something wrong and have to tear the work out and start over?

The process of ripping out rows of your knitting because of a mistake is known as "frogging." If it's just a few stitches that need tearing out, you "tink" (which is "knit" spelled backwards) it.


How do you prevent your knitted fabric from unraveling as a finished project?

You've finished your project -- but there's one final step to complete to be sure your project won't unravel and its edges stay neat. It's called binding off (which is also sometimes called "casting off"), and it's the same basic method no matter what stitch you've used.


Yarn comes in a variety of sizes that are known as what?

Although we're talking about yarn weight, we're not talking about a number on a scale. We're talking about the thickness of a yarn strand, which is what determines how many stitches it takes to knit one inch.


Which style uses the same stitches and techniques as conventional knitting, but with needles that are at least a size 17?

While mega-knitting may use the same techniques as conventional knitting, it's done on a much larger scale. In addition to using jumbo yarns, the process is done on super-sized, hooked knitting needles that are at least half-an-inch diameter -- that's a size 17, at the minimum.


What kind of stitch is created when you knit one row and purl the next?

Stockinette stitch, one of the basic knitting stitches, is created by alternating one knit row with one purl row. It's popular not only because it's a relatively simple stitch, but because it's flexible enough to be used in everything from scarves to sweaters.


If the stitches look like Vs when looking at your knitted fabric, which side are you on?

There's an easy way to check if you're knitting or purling a row: When holding your work in your left hand, look for the Vs. If the Vs are facing you, as opposed to bumps, you're looking at a row of knit stitch.


Yarn that comes in what form needs to be wound before it can be used?

Because it comes wound in a large circle, before you can knit with a hank you need to wind it into a ball of yarn with an end you can pull. Spinners and dyers work with yarn this way.


What's it called when you add stitches to your knitting to make the piece wider?

When you change the width of your knitting, you either "increase" or "decrease" -- to make a piece wider, you increase, or add an extra stitch to the needle. You'll see it abbreviated as Make-one or M1 in knitting patterns.


When you finish a ball of yarn and join a new one, you do what to "the ends"?

Weaving in ends as you knit comes up when you need to join a new ball of yarn to your existing row or when you're tidying your edges of a project. To join a new ball, you loosely tie a knot with the new and old yarn, making sure to leave a yarn tail of no less than 4 inches -- any less and it's hard to weave in. (Remember, it's always easier to add a new ball of yarn when you're beginning a new row!)


How can you prevent your knitting project from curling up when it should lay flat?

Not only will blocking your project prevent it from curling, this wet-and-reshape technique also is used to help stretch and redistribute the stitches in your knitted fabric -- all in the effort to create the shape you want without damaging the fibers.


When reading a pattern, what does the abbreviation 'k2tog' mean you should do?

K2tog is the abbreviation for "knit two stitches together," and is a method used to decreasing the stitches in your work. To do it, insert the right needle into two stitches at the same time, and continue knitting.


Which technique involves knitting patterns with blocks of color?

Intarsia is a knitting method that's used to fit together different colors in different patterns in your project. The look appears as blocks of color inlaid in your knitted fabric.


Your gauge is too big. How do you fix the problem?

Sometimes called "tension," gauge measures the number of stitches per inch for that project. If your knitting has fewer stitches per inch than the pattern says it should, using a smaller needle will help. Remember: The smaller the number of the knitting needle, the smaller the needle.


What style of knitting is done with the yarn held in your left hand?

Knitting in the Continental method means you control the yarn in your left hand, and you "pick," as it's called, loops from the left needle to create stitches. Some argue that the movements in this method make for faster knitting.


A project's 'gauge' is determined by the weight of the yarn and what else?

The "gauge" of a knitted fabric refers to the number of stitches per inch of that fabric. For instance, if you knit with thicker or thinner yarn or needles than the project calls for, your number of stitches and rows per inch won't match the pattern.


What's it called when stitch a falls off your needle and unravels for several rows?

A "dropped" stitch is a stitch that's come off the needle. While many knitters rely on a crochet hook to pick up the bottom-most strand in the ladder (always go in order!), you can also use the tip of your knitting needle.


Which simple stitch is good for invisibly holding two pieces of knitting together?

Look to whip stitch when you need a good general seaming method in projects such as joining afghan squares. Outside of knitting and crocheting, it's a handy stitch for tacking up a fallen hem.


What does "sl1, k1, psso" mean in a knitting pattern?

Also known as a slip-stitch decrease, the technique is usually abbreviated as "sl1, k1, psso," or sometimes as "SKP." This type of decrease will slant to the right in your final project.


Which device is used to turn a hank of yarn into a usable center-pull yarn ball?

Hanks or skeins of unrolled yarn need to be wound into balls before you can easily knit with them -- and unless you use a chair back to hold the yarn, that's where the yarn swift comes in.


In which type of knitting do the stitches run from left to right, horizontally across the fabric?

Stitches running left to right, horizontally across the knitted fabric happens with the weft knitting technique. It can be done by hand or with a knitting machine, but, either way, the piece is knitted with just a single yarn.


Before beginning a new project, what should you knit to ensure your needles and yarn will equal the recommended gauge?

To make a swatch, first, knit a 6 inch square. Then, count both the stitches over 4 inches and the rows over 4 inches. If what you counted doesn't match the recommended gauge on the pattern, you'll need to make adjustments.


Which stitch is used to create bumpy clusters of stitches called "bobbles"?

To create a "bobble" with popcorn stitch, it works like this: you increase into a single stitch, work those stitches for a few rows, and then decrease back to one stitch. It got its name from its appearance, a puff in the fabric otherwise known as a "bobble."


Which method is a way to add a stripe, colorful details, or correct small mistakes?

The duplicate stitch is actually embroidery that you do on the surface of your knitted fabric. It's a good way to add a colorful design -- or correct small mistakes -- to your project after the project is finished.


Which knitting technique would you use to create a textured diamond pattern in your fabric?

Knitting entrelac, fabric knitted with interconnected squares, resembles a textured basketweave -- and you only need to know how to knit and purl to create it.


There are three basics required to felt your knitted project: wool, friction, and what?

All that is required is hot water and agitation to felt a knitted fabric made of wool yarn. The technique shrinks and bonds the wool fibers together, making the fabric dense and soft, and can be done by hand or in your washing machine.


Which is not a final step in the knitting process?

Binding off and blocking your work are important steps in finishing up your knitting project. But, additionally, weaving in the ends -- which is working the extra yarn tails into the "wrong" side of your work -- is one piece you have to do before you call this project done.


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