I hope this question is on-topic -- I'm not a knitter myself, and won't be attempting to knit anything you suggest -- I'm actually trying to write a story. I want to show one character realising that another one knows her stuff when it comes to knitting, so ideally it would be something that's not obvious to someone without some expertise. It would be good to use a jargon word or two, if that fits -- while avoiding writing anything that sounds ridiculous to people who know the subject well, of course (the way any treatment of "hacking" in early films and TV series does to programmers...).

It will look something like the following, where phrases in brackets show areas probably in need of improvement (but feel free to make other suggestions):

[Foo-stitch]? Her eyes shot straight to the [shoulder seams], looking for the telltale [bunching], but there was nothing but row upon row of perfectly even [colourful synonym for stitches]. Row upon row upon row.

"Well? Is it any good?" Dan said.

She swallowed, and put it back down. "Yes," she said quietly. "It's good. It's very good."

In case anyone's interested, what happens is that a glamorous new housemate arrives, and the main character finds to her surprise and dismay that she is actually very good at knitting -- something the main character had thought of as being "her thing". The crisis sharpens further after that, but it's eventually resolved :)


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    Love it. I have some friends who are experts I'll share it with them and an online knitting group; and get back to you.
    – SAM A
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 2:32
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    She held up the aran (sweater/ Jersey/ cardigan) and inspected the"Gordian knot,” of cable work, and not a stitch was out of place. Well? Is it any good?" Dan said. She swallowed, and put it back down. "Yes," she said quietly. "It's good. It's very good."
    – SAM A
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 2:56
  • Much appreciated :) Commented May 23, 2019 at 12:22

3 Answers 3


Our Wiki answer:

background information

Trust me when I say realistically there's not alot of difference between knitting a 4" by 4" square and a metre by a meter cot blanket. Size of project is no indication of skill. Typically a good knitter progresses from plain items to fancy. Shawls are definite "I've made it as a knitter" items, & socks can be too. To put it another way, due to shawls using a number of techniques you wouldn't expect a beginner to attempt or be able to make.

Advanced techniques include: lace - one very carefully, literally, knits something that resembles lace

cables, "Aran" is the jargon name

colour work -this includes "fair isle" which is a very particular type.

, "entrellac", (which I've always wanted to do) it looks like someone wove narrow knitted strips together

jogless stripes, ideally ones stripes don't start/finish with an offset. If you achieve this, your stripes line up perfectly they are said to be jogless

A good knitter has even stitches that are not too loose, not too tight They can find and fix there own mistakes, and use many different "cast on & cast off" techniques.

If you want to keep the looking at the shoulder of the Jersey/cardigan your sentence could read

[Kitchener]Her eyes shot straight to the shoulder seams, looking for the tell tale pucker, but there was nothing but a row of perfectly even [pick any expletive] stitches.


Short rows? Her eyes shot straight to the neckline, looking for the telltale holes caused by the wraps, but there was nothing but row upon row of perfectly even, perfectly slanting curved knitwork. Row upon row upon row.

Fair isle? Her eyes shot straight to the colourwork, looking for the telltale puckering of tight floats, but there was nothing but row upon row of perfectly even tension.

Little Arrowhead stitch is a difficult technique

"She looked at the Little Arrowhead panels, not a stitch or hole was out of place" "Well, Is it any good?" Dan said [Mia] conceded that "not only is it good, it's amazing" her insides churning as she felt her thing ripped away by [Naomi]'s clearly superior skill. (Lol)

"Oh don't you just love steeking" gushed Naomi, clearly pleased to talk with someone who shared her passion.

"Yes" Mia agreed matching Naomi's tone, unwilling to admit she had no idea what [private derogatory nickname] was on about

"The thrill as you cut through your stitches; watching them unravel" continued Naomi. Mia suddenly realised her new acquaintance had jumped the line between genius and insanity, and was merrily skipping away.

(Steeking scares/horrifies knitters of pretty much any skill level)

  • Several members would like to read this. I hope I've helped
    – SAM A
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 6:40
  • Thanks so much, this is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for! :) Maybe you could clarify a couple of things for me: When you say shawls and socks are "I've made it as a knitter" items, do you mean these are things that would usually not be considered too interesting/challenging by experts? If so, they sound like items to avoid in the context I have in mind. Are "lace", "cables" and "aran color work" 3 separate things? And does "lace" refer to a style of knitting, or the incorporation of lace "fabric" (for want of a better word) into something knitted? Thanks! Commented May 23, 2019 at 12:21
  • Nice to hear that there's interest in reading it :) I have a long way to go, but if people really are interested I could probably post it as an answer here when it's finally ready (assuming it fits in the limits.) Commented May 23, 2019 at 12:24
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    I'm on my phone, formatting is difficult. Edited and added information.
    – SAM A
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 18:42
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    Thanks! So shawls are actually showcase pieces, or can be. Good to know. Commented May 23, 2019 at 18:58

Finishing Technique -- this is a catch-all term all of the work done after the knitting techniques are done and before the work is done. Examples are seaming the individual pieces of a sweater together, weaving in the loose ends of yarn left over from color changes, or attaching the arms and legs of a knitted stuffed animal to the body.

I'm always the most impressed with knitting that is finished well. The knitting itself might be simple, but seaming a drop-shoulder arm piece to a body piece and making it look professional is difficult, and often separates good knitters from great ones.

Other things that often separate casual knitters from enthusiasts are dying your own yarn, or spinning your own yarn from wool with a drop spindle or even a spinning wheel. I'm not sure if there's a correlation between those who dye and spin to those who have great knitting skills, but I've never met someone who dyes or spins who isn't deeply into knitting or crocheting.


I'm still far from done with this story, but to those who might be interested in reading it, here's the opening scene to whet your appetites. Contains some NSFW language and themes, so if this is against site policy please let me know:

We all stopped talking the instant Sue entered the room. It couldn't have been much more obvious.

She took a few steps towards the centre, enjoying it, letting the tension build, before finally putting it out there: "Well boys, what do we think of the new girl?"

A long pause followed as we eyed each other.

"Seems nice," volunteered Nick at last, his face a study of innocence. No, more than that: upbeat innocence. Family-friendly Nick: suitable for a general audience. How nobody snickered I'll never know.

"Is that what you noticed first? That she's nice?" said Sue. I had a feeling I knew where this was going. The others didn't know Sue as well as I did. Sure enough: "Cos what I noticed were her tits. They're everywhere!" She mimed with her hands, jangling them crazily as she walked -- bouncing off furniture, sound effects, the works. Brendan and I cracked up.

Nick, meanwhile, was recovering quickly. "Might've noticed it second, actually, the niceness. Now that I think about it."

"And you'll be thinking about it some more soon, no doubt," she snapped back, eyebrow raised. So quick. No humming and hawing, just the goods. Nick had nothing for that; he bowed graciously and we all laughed.

"It's not just that though, she's got a great body overall, great face, solid ten out of ten," said Sam, apparently blind to the glares the three other guys were shooting him.

Sue didn't seem bothered though. "Well, I'm heading downtown to get some food and stuff, anyone need anything?" she said. But as it happened, the rest of us were all well-stocked. She jangled across the room and out the door.

The moment she'd left the room, Brendan was on Sam's case. "Why'd you say that, man?"

"What? She brought it up!" Oh, Sam.

"Isn't it obvious? No one wants to--" But we all knew there was no getting through to Sam. "Just dial it the fuck down next time dude. Please."

Sam left for practice soon after that, and Brendan came over to me. "Sue's pretty cool, man. I mean, a lotta girls would, you know--" He had a habit of starting sentences that could only end awkwardly.

"I know what you mean," I said.

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