How to Knit Faster: 9 Tips for Speed Knitting

Does it take you forever to finish a knitting project? Maybe it seems like your handknitted projects take too long to finish, and you’re wondering if that’s normal.

It is.

Hand knitting takes a long time — but there are ways to speed up the process. Let’s discuss some ideas for how to knit faster.

1. Get a Knitting Machine

No matter how fast you’re able to knit by hand, you’ll probably be able to knit faster on a knitting machine. So, if you’re serious about speed knitting — perhaps because you’re an entrepreneur who wants to design a knitwear collection, or because you have a lot of gifts you want to knit — a knitting machine could possibly be a sound investment for you.

If you’re knitting as a hobby, a used knitting machine may be the way to go. There are bunches of them around that are no longer being made and you can often pick them up for cheap because few people know how to use them or understand what they can even do.

If you want to knit multicolored patterns, look for used punchcard machines. If color knitting isn’t of particular interest to you, try a used Bond Incredible Sweater Machine. You can sometimes get these for bargain prices on sites like Etsy.

2. Use Thicker Yarn

Whether you’re knitting by machine or by hand, either way, thicker yarns tend to work up faster than finer ones do. So when you’re in a hurry to finish a project, you’ll probably be able to knit it faster if you use a thicker yarn.

On the other hand, there are many advantages to knitting with finer yarn; fine gauge projects can get more detailed, and they often have better fit and drape. But one of the main disadvantages to working with them is that it tends to take much longer.

3. Use Patterns Designed to Work Up Quickly

Wondering how to knit faster? One possible way is to choose knitting patterns that are designed to work up quickly. Pictured here is a book called Slow Fashion Made Fast by Alexandra Tavel, published by Leisure Arts. This book is a fantastic choice to use at times when you need to finish a knitting project fast.
Wondering how to knit faster? One possible way is to choose knitting patterns that are designed to work up quickly. Pictured here is a book called Slow Fashion Made Fast by Alexandra Tavel, published by Leisure Arts. This book is a fantastic choice to use at times when you need to finish a knitting project fast.

There are knitting patterns that are specifically designed to work up fast. Take, for example, Slow Fashion Made Fast by Alexandra Tavel. The patterns included in this book are all intended to be knitted with super bulky yarn, and they’re designed to be quick projects.

4. Choose an Easy Knitting Project

It’s beneficial to stretch your creative limits occasionally – but stretching beyond your comfort zone can demand that you make investments of both time and brainpower. While you’re figuring things out, it may be slow knitting.

When you know ahead of time that you’re in a hurry to complete a project, like a baby shower gift, make it an easy one that you won’t have to think too hard about.

5. Use Larger Knitting Needles

Obviously, if you’re knitting to a specific gauge, you should use the knitting needles that will give you the correct gauge. But if you’re designing a project where you have control over the needle size, choose the biggest acceptable needles that will get the job done.

Your choice of needle materials may also play a role in how fast you’re able to knit. Try some different needles to see if that makes a difference for you. Some knitters find that their stitches slide off of metal needles more easily. Others prefer the amount of grip you’re able to get using bamboo needles. It’s really an individual thing; what works for another knitter may not work as well for you — so do some experimenting and see what gives you the fastest results.

6. Switch to Circular Knitting Needles

If you’re using straight, single-pointed knitting needles, try switching to circular needles and see if that could make a difference in your knitting speed. Do this even if you’re knitting a flat piece and NOT knitting in the round.

Why would the type of knitting needles you use make any difference?

Well, when you knit with straight knitting needles, your hands and arms bear the weight of your entire knitting project. When you knit with circular knitting needles, the weight of the project typically rests in your lap. The larger your project, the more weight is involved. You may be able to knit faster once your hands and arms don’t have to support so much weight. Try it and see if that makes a difference for you.

7. Use a Quicker Knitting Stitch Pattern

All knitting stitches are time-consuming to some degree, but some are waaaaaayyyy more time-consuming than others.

Generally speaking, many knitters would be likely to agree that purl stitches takes more time than knit stitches do. So when you’re in a hurry to finish a project, choose a project that has many knit stitches and few purl stitches. Garter stitch and garter stitch variations are likely to make for quicker projects than comparable projects that require you to do more purling.

But that’s only if you can actually manage to finish the project. If you’re bored out of your mind while knitting garter stitch, there’s also the danger that you might hate working on the project so much that you never finish it — so take the boredom factor into account, too.

8. Master Multiple Knitting Techniques and Choose the Fastest One

There’s more than one way to knit. If you watch what production knitters and professional knit designers do, you’ll observe that many of them use knitting techniques other than English knitting. They make that choice based on which technique is most efficient for them to use.

I’m not here to tell you which knitting technique you should use. That’s up to you. And I’m also not here to tell you which knitting technique is the fastest. There’s a whole lot of debate about that, and I certainly don’t claim to have the answers.

For me, personally, I’m thoroughly convinced that a knitting machine is the fastest way to knit (see item #1 above), and any argument beyond that seems pretty silly to me.

But if you’re going to hand knit, you might as well try some different ways of doing it — to the point that you master them. Then test for yourself which way is fastest, and knit that way.

9. Eliminate Unimportant Distractions

There are zillions of things in life that are more critical than finishing knitting projects projects fast. Many of your distractions will be ones that are more important than the project you’re working on — like the child who needs feeding and the dog who needs to be walked. But you can seize control of the not-so-important distractions and eliminate those if you choose. For example, if you knit slower while the TV is turned on, you can make the choice to turn it off in hopes of finishing your project faster.

So that’s how to knit faster. If speed knitting is of interest to you, try these tips to see if any of them will help you knit more quickly.

Got a tip I missed? Please share it in the comments below! And if you’ve managed to speed up your knitting using any of these tips, I’d love to hear your success stories.

Thanks in advance to everyone who joins the conversation! I am sure it will be a helpful and informative discussion, and I look forward to participating too.

Learn More About Knitting:

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