Why Scrap and Ravel?

Why Scrap and Ravel?


Starting your knitting with waste yarn and ravel cord is a machine knitting staple technique.

Why Scrap and Ravel?

  • Use waste knitting to hang cast on comb and/or weights
  • Protect delicate/fine yarns
  • Immediately start patterning (tuck, lace, etc) with weights in place
  • Leave waste knitting in place to make blocking easier – especially for edges that roll

Scrap and Ravel Cast on

  1. Chose a yarn that is appropriate for your machine
  2. Cast on with any method
  3. Knit a few rows – end with the carriage on the left.
  4. Knit 1 row of ravel cord (smooth, slippery yarn – crochet cotton works great)
  5. Cast on over the ravel cord with your garment yarn
  6. Knit your piece
  7. After blocking, pull out the ravel cord and remove the waste yarn.
When non-machine knitters hear the term waste yarn, they often cringe.  Spinners especially are uncomfortable thinking about “wasting yarn”.  I’ve even known machine knitters who unravel and re-use waste yarn (even though they have dozens of cones sitting in their stash) … .but that’s a topic for another soapbox post.
scrap and ravel for machine knitting waste knitting for machine knitting

Scrap and Ravel Cast on for Machine Knitters

Ravel Cord – Machine Knitter’s essential tool

Ravel Cord – Machine Knitter’s essential tool

The most common use of ravel cord is to separate waste (scrap) knitting from your main knitting.

OK, I know that caps is considered “yelling” on the web … but I’m on my soapbox.

Scrap and ravel for machine knitting  ravel_cord1


I recently had a friendly discussion with 2 very experienced machine knitters who told me that they are still using the original ravel cord that came with their machines.  One confessed that she washes her cord when it gets grungy. Yikes!

I love the freedom of using any suitable yarn as  ravel cord and having the ability to cut it.  I’ve never been able to keep track of those little pieces that came with my machine.

Crochet cotton is my go-to for scrap and ravel.  It’s inexpensive.  Ecru or white colors seems to work with most yarns I use.  It’s smooth, strong and slippery … and I can toss the scraps when I’m done!

I’m not saying you need to go out and buy a cone of ravel cord, but perhaps there is something in your stash that you could use. I use the yarns shown (the first one I can locate when I’m in a hurry).


Characteristics of Ravel cord

  • Similar weight to your garment yarn
  • Contrasting color
  • Smooth and slippery
  • Strong (you have to cut it and can’t break it with your hands)


machine knitting ravel cord

Ravel Cord Options – click for larger image

OK – Off my soapbox … back to knitting 🙂

2 Hour, machine-knit Child Sweater

2 Hour, machine-knit Child Sweater

There are so many things you can do with the 2 hour sweater!
Hacks in this version:

  1. Used 2 colors and added stripes
  2. Eliminated the 1″ front rolled edges (I cast on and bound off with waste yarn)
  3. Picked up the neckline, front edges (from the waste yarn) and hem on a large circular hand knitting needle
  4. Hand knit garter stitch around the entire opening, adding mitered corners with increases
  5. Added garter stitch to the cuffs as well

I have to confess that the hand knitting took longer than knitting the sweater! But the results are well worth the time. If you want a fast project, stick with the machine knit rolled edges in the pattern.

Lifelines: A Machine Knitter’s Best Friend

Lifelines: A Machine Knitter’s Best Friend
Has this happened to you? You are knitting a complicated stitch pattern or you’ve just worked a very detailed hem.

The power goes out, or you drop a stitch, or your yarn breaks or something catastrophic happens.
What do do? Drop the work from the machine and start over?

Heavens no!!!

Lifelines for machine knitters

Subscribers: Watch the video for more lifeline techniques

machine knitting tips Plan ahead! Add lifelines at regular intervals
Use a double eye needle or a tapestry needle and a smooth, contrasting color yarn.

Run it through each of the stitches of a row. Note the row number or place in the pattern repeat.

machine knitting tips
machine knitting tips If (when) disaster strikes, you may have to rip … but only to the point of your last lifeline.
With each live stitch “secured” with the lifeline, you can pick up stitches and re-hang them on the machine.

Then continue knitting.

machine knitting tips
Fewer tears …. guaranteed!
Saved by the lifeline!
machine knitting tips


For more lifeline techniques, please watch the video “Lifelines: A Knitter’s Best Friend”

The humble Rolled Hem – made fabulous!

The humble Rolled Hem – made fabulous!

Machine knit scalloped rolled edge


For fast, casual garments, rolled hems are perfect. Work a closed cast on and just start knitting! No muss or fuss! Embrace the roll!

With tension changes you can improve the look of the rolled edge. Subscribers, take a look at our “Rolled Hem Study” Video[/one_half]


With just a little bit of hand sewing, you can quickly add a pretty scalloped edge to your rolled edges.

Scalloped Rolled edge for machine knitters

Going Vertical with Slip (Sneak Preview)

Going Vertical with Slip (Sneak Preview)

Slip stitch is such an easy way to add texture to your knitting. (Take THAT hand knitters!)

I’ve had this slip stitch pattern in mind for some time and finally found a use for it!

This stitch pattern is from Stitch World III – number 299. It’s 28 sts x 30 rows. It’s a fairly simple geometric horizontal design. But every time I looked at it, I envisioned it vertically.


This stitch pattern is the inspiration for our newest pattern (yet to be named).  Here’s a sneak peek at the front.




2 swatches – (Math Alert)

In addition to entering in the gauge for both stitch patterns in my new sweater, I’ll need to do a little math to incorporate the 28 sts / 30 row stitch repeat.

Let’s pretend the longest edge of my center front panel is 142 stitches.  142/28 = 5.07 ( that’s 5 repeats plus 2 stitches) So I’ll “fudge” a bit and cast on 140 stitches.  Although with this stitch pattern, 2 stitches wouldn’t make any difference.

Let’s pretend the width of my front panel is 124 rows.  124/30 = 4.13 (that’s 4 repeats plus 4 rows).  If you look closely at the stitch pattern, there are 4 plain rows included.  For this example, I’d simply knit 4 plain rows before starting my stitch pattern.  This would center the stitch pattern rows perfectly over my 124 rows.



Stay tuned for our newest pattern, it’s based on a “retro” pattern – it will be available in both Plus and misses sizes … with lots of options for customization!


Machine Knitters Stitch Library

Machine Knitters Stitch Library

There are probably a zillion different stitch patterns that machine knitters can use. Why limit yourself to the stitches that came with your machine?

The Knit it Now Stitch Library is more than just “eye candy”



  • DAK Stitch Pattern Files
  • Printable Full Size Punch Card diagrams

We’ve also included Black and White versions of the images so you can see the stitch without being blinded by our choice of colors.




Not too high, not too low … just right …

Not too high, not too low … just right …

Everyone has their “Goldilocks Zone” when it comes to the front neck depth of sweaters and shirts.

Our “basics” scoop neck patterns previously had a default 6″ depth. The crew neck default is 2″. Somewhere between there is your “Goldilocks Zone”.

We’ve just added a feature to these patterns to allow you to adjust the front neck depth.  Enter in exactly how low you want your neckline. This feature is now available on any Basics Dynamic Pattern with a scoop neck.

 Machine knitting basics patterns

Not familiar with Knit it Now Basics?

Your favorite basic sweater styles in one place!

  • Choose the most flattering style for you
  • Mix and match sleeve styles, necklines and body shapes
  • Knit at YOUR gauge
  • Use ANY yarn
  • Use ANY stitch pattern
  • Use the patterns again and again
  • No software to buy, install, learn or update

See what everyone is talking about – Knit it Now “Basics”