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Cotton Knitting Tips

Since the cotton fiber is less elastic than other fibers, special steps should be taken to assure that the finished piece will keep its shape.

Knit tightly to prevent your sweater from stretching out of shape. A thin cotton, knit on size 3 or 4 needles will help hold your sweater's shape.

Tightly knit the ribbing on smaller size needles. Cast on with a wider needle than called for. Immediately, on the first row, switch to needles three to four sizes smaller than those indicated for the body of the sweater. The total number of ribbing stitches should be 10%-15% fewer than the body.

Knit into the backs of all your rib stitches. Insert the needle through the back, instead of the front, of the loop.

For extra elasticity, try a rib with a right-over left crossed knit stitch, a cable rib or a reverse cross-stitch rib.

Add body to your cotton knitting by using either a garter, seed, or plaited stockinette stitch. You can also knit into the back of the purl stitches on a simple stockinette stitch. On circular needles, knit into the back of stitches on alternate rounds only.

Allow for a greater-than-usual reduction of stitches at points of body contact and control. At the underarms and wrists. The length of the underarm decrease for a set-in sleeve should always be a half inch greater for cotton that for wool.

Always knit a test swatch before beginning your project. This is the single most important step you can take in assuring as accurate fit for your completed cotton garment.

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