On this page, the Council will share the answers to frequently asked questions and present helpful reference information, such as pattern abbreviations. If you have a question, please email us. Every month we will select a new question to research and answer. If you have questions about specific products, please contact the company directly.

Q. Do you have a sweater pattern for a child who wears size 16-18?

A. Currently, we do not have any children's patterns for size 16-18. Girl's size 16-18 is the equivalent of a woman's small size and we hope to have several sweater patterns on our web site this fall, which will appeal to all ages.
However, If you would like to knit or crochet a child's sweater like the Duckling Sweater, find a woman's crew neck pattern and use the chart from the Duckling Sweater. If this sounds like a good idea, but you are concerned that it will be too complicated, ask an experienced knitter where you buy your yarn or a friend who knits to help you.

Q. My pattern calls for a brand of yarn I cannot find locally. Can I use another brand?

A. Yes, it is possible to substitute another yarn. Look at the stitch gauge required in the pattern and the "weight" of the recommended yarn, then make a swatch using a yarn with that gauge and weight. (The gauge and weight of the yarn is listed on the yarn label.) Remember, the needle size can be adjusted to get the gauge, but it should not be much of a change. Standard Weight System chart.

Q. I've been told that I shouldn't knot my yarn. If I don't tie knots when I join a new skein or change color, what should I do with the ends to keep them secure?

A. You should never knot your yarn when knitting and crocheting because knots will unravel or "pop" through to the front of your work and look terrible. Instead, twist the ends of yarn (i.e., the end of the yarn you are currently working with and the end of the new skein) around one another once on the wrong side of your work (this avoids holes), and then weave the ends in.

To weave in ends, use a yarn needle or size 16 tapestry needle.Thread in the yarn end and weave it through the back of stitches or along the seam edge, about 1" in one direction and 1" in the reverse direction. Weave ends in under the same color. Cut off any excess yarn. Only weave in one yarn end at a time to avoid a bulky spot.

Many crocheters prefer to work ends into their work to secure them, i.e., incorporate the end as they are crocheting another row. Just remember to work the end in the same color yarn.

Q. Why are patterns written with abbreviations? I always find it difficult to remember them. Do you have a handy reference guide for knitting abbreviations, symbols, and terms found in commercial patterns?

A. Abbreviations are used so instructions will not take up too much space. They may seem confusing at first, but once understood, they are really easy to follow. Here's a handy guide for Knitting Abbreviations and Crochet Abbreviations.