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5 tips for knitting with textured yarn

by Michelle Nussey

In my post on Monday, I briefly mentioned that Scrubby Cotton is a highly textured yarn and doesn’t flow the way normal yarn does. Today I’m going to go over a few more tips and tricks to help you knit with not just Scrubby Cotton, but any highly textured yarn.

1. Busy yarn, plain pattern

If your yarn has a lot going on, pick a pattern that has less happening. If you knit a really complicated cable pattern with something like Fur yarn, it will completely obscure all your hard work. This same rule applies to yarn that has a lot of color variations. If it’s highly variegated, the color will hide all your excellent work!

Red Heart's Fur yarn in the color slate, click on the image to check it out on their website!

Red Heart’s Fur yarn in the color slate, click on the image to check it out on their website!

2. Get a feel for the yarn

I mentioned this in my Tuesday post about the Simple Knit Dishcloth. Give yourself time to get a feel for the yarn. Highly textured yarns are not going to feel like a regular yarn. Scrubby Cotton is a perfect example. You might need to knit a swatch or two first. This isn’t something you have to keep either. If your yarn comes in a relatively small ball and you don’t want to use half of it on a swatch, just knit until you feel comfortable with the yarn and undo your swatch.

Red Heart' Scrubby Cotton - one strand of Lemony flanked on each side by a strand of Jade. Lit from the top right of the photo, the texture is emphasized in the resulting shadows in the foreground.

Three strands of Scrubby Cotton, can you see the texture in each strand?

3. Use a row counter

I always lose track of how many rows I’ve knit and I just count them later. With a highly textured yarn, this may be very difficult to near impossible! A row counter is your best friend in this situation. Rather than losing count and trying to figure out approximately how many rows you’ve done, just grab a row counter and stay on top of marking off those rows. If you’re not partial to row counters or don’t have one, you can easily use a pen and paper to keep track.

Post it notes and a pen are used to keep tally marks. A pair of scissors and stitch markers are also in the frame.

My love of post-it notes knows no bounds! Although I will say a row counter is more eco-friendly, post-its are plentiful in my house, and just as effective.

4. Always work in good lighting

Dim recesses aren’t going to be the ideal place to work with your textured yarn. If you can work in natural light, you’ll have the best visibility for your yarn. If natural light isn’t available, make sure you’re next to a really good light source.

Sunsets are beautiful, no questions asked, but they are also a time to start turning on the lights in your knitting area.

Sunsets are beautiful, no questions asked, but they are also a time to start turning on the lights in your knitting area.

5. Don’t knit angry

If you’re getting frustrated with a particular yarn, walk away. You’ll be more likely to make a mistake if you’re frustrated to the point of not thinking straight. You’ll be even more cheesed off about having to rip several rows (or possibly the whole garment) out. The same goes for being tired. How many times have you got to the point of almost finishing something, but it was 2 a.m. and in that last 10 minutes of project you made a glaring mistake. Just give that knitted garment a time out and come back to it when it will behave itself.

A ball of Scrubby Cotton in Lemony, being punched down onto a white tabletop.

Don’t act like you haven’t thought about giving a misbehaving ball of yarn a knuckle-sandwich!

Now that you’ve read these tips, you can put any yarn to use! Go out, experiment with all sorts of different colors and textures. Let the yarn do some of the work for you and make a simple-to-knit garment that looks fabulous!

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: What amazing cleaning tool do you get when you cross Scrubby yarn and slippers?


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