Needle Pointers: Quick Tips For Crafters

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Here are a few quick tips I’ve collected from vintage magazines and articles dating from the 1950s:

Basketful Of Yarn

Basketful Of Yarn

  • Powder your hands lightly with corn starch before taking up your tatting or crocheting, if the work is white. It relieves the annoyance of hands getting sweaty or sticky, and the work will come out cleaner. Better not try it with colored thread, though.
  • Very sheer materials when run through your sewing machine may pucker or draw despite all your efforts. Place a piece of clean paper underneath the material and stitch through. Then pull the paper off, leaving the stitching smooth as can be!
  • To keep crochet thread from tangling, run it through the loop in one end of a safety pin; then fasten the pin to your dress.
  • Put real precision in your blanket stitch–or any other ornamental stitch you use on comforters, coverlets and the like. Baste a tape measure along the edge to be stitched, and space stitches by the measure.
  • In knitting situations calling for an extra long stitch holder, a piece of pipe cleaner fills the bill admirably. Transfer the stitches to the pipe cleaner, bend the ends back, and the work will be securely held.
  • Use a white or black cotton shoe lace to hold stitches, instead of the conventional stitch holder. You can quickly cast the stitches back on the needle as they can be taken off either end of the string.
  • When laundering doilies or other linen pieces that need careful shaping, leave unstarched for the first ironing. When ironed and shaped to your satisfaction, dip a thin cloth in starch, wring out and smooth it over the article on the ironing board, then iron both layers dry. The doily will be nicely starched and finished.
  • When knitting argyle socks, use an empty egg carton to hold the yarn. The different colors of yarn will fit in the sections, make a hole above each one, thus saving confusion.
  • A small zippered cosmetic pouch in your knitting bag will keep the weaving needle, spare bobbins, tape measure, stitch holders and other small accessories together where you can find them.

Tips & Resources:

  • Knitter’s Gauge Cards: Keep track of each project’s needs by noting the yarn used, color, needles, pattern, gauge, date and miscellaneous. Free pdf download (prints 4 cards per sheet).
  • Fabric Swatch Cards: Keep track of your fabric stash with these handy cards, has room for a swatch and notes the fiber content, yards available, the fabric width, washed or not washed and miscellaneous notes.
  • Standards & Guidelines For Crochet & Knitting: Handy resource (pdf) that provides a Crochet & Knitting Abbreviations Master Lists, Descriptions of Skill Levels, Standard Body Measurements/Sizing (and how to measure), Baby Size Chart, Child’s Size, Woman’s & Men’s, Head Circumference Chart (Preemie, Baby, Toddler Child, Woman & Man) and much more.
  • How to Turn Paper Patterns Into Cardboard Patterns: Smart idea for those patterns that you reuse over and over again.

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Published: November 2, 2009

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