Novice sewers encounter a lot of problems as they learn more and more patterns and use different fabrics. Occasionally, some patterns can only be completed by using knitting techniques exclusively. Many resort to buy new fabric at their local store to complete their design.
There are times when it is inconvenient to buy new fabric and some opt to use the materials they already have and use the pick-a-knit rule to complete their project. Inexperienced knitters may get confused with this rule and pattern instructions can seem a bit vague.
Question about fabric stretches, cross grains, and other details of the pattern can get you stuck for a time. It’s important to note that when patterns call for stretches they refer to the cross grain of the fabric being able to stretch out to the length required by the pattern. For example, patterns that require a 50% stretch should use fabric that have a cross grain that can stretch from 4 inches to a minimum of 6 inches.
Here’s a detailed step-by-step approach in learning the pick-a-knit rule:
1) Look for the cross grain in the knit fabric you’ll be using which is found from selvedge to selvedge. The standard tube fabric cross grain can be found across the width of the knit.
2) Take 2 small pins and measure a 4-inch line across the grain while it isn’t stretched.
3) Place the measured line on the fabric over the pattern where your pick-a-knit gauge (arrow to arrow) is found. Place one pin at the start of the gauge and move the other pin to the end of it to see how far the fabric can stretch.
4) Mark the point where the stretched fabric reaches before it changes appearance.
Your fabric should be able to reach the required length for the pattern before it can be used for your project. Using stretchable fabrics won’t be a problem if you choose to use them in your knitting. But, fabrics that don’t stretch to the required length can be problematic since it may not accommodate the bust and curves of the pattern.
Some knits can give stretches in more areas while others can only stretch across the grain. Measuring the grain lines is important to note if you want how the resulting product will fit across different parts of the body.