Transfer Tool Practice

The transfer tool is one of the most important tools for your knitting machine. It is the way we do nearly all increasing and decreasing, and is also used to create eyelets for lace knitting. Many people find it awkward to use, at first. We are only covering using the tool with the single prong in this lesson.

hold tool 1
hold tool 2

Finding a comfortable and efficient way to hold the tool seems to be the biggest challenge. The only way to truly master this is practice. Usually lots of practice. These are the two most common ways to hold the tool. Experienced knitters frequently hold it various ways, depending on the task they are doing at the time.

Before you begin, hang weights on the fabric to keep it pulled down. You will also find it usually helps to push the fabric back against the bed with your non-dominant hand, while transferring stitches with the tool held in your dominant hand.

transfer tool practice 2

Here is a tip that will really help. Hook the eye of the transfer tool over the needle. Keep the tool in a straight line with the needle, both horizontally and vertically. Pull the needle straight out, using the tool, so that the stitch slides behind the latch on the needle.

transfer tool practice 3

Push the needle straight back with the tool, so that the stitch slides up over the closed needle latch, and onto the transfer tool.

transfer tool practice 4

Tilt the back of the transfer tool down slightly, push it forward slightly, and lift it out of the needle hook.

transfer tool practice 5

Hook the eye of the tool over the needle that will receive the transferred stitch. Keeping the transfer tool hooked over the needle, tilt the back of the tool up, pivoting the transfer tool and allowing the stitch to slide off the tool, into the needle hook.

transfer tool practice  6

CAUTION! This illustration is from page 13 in the LK 150 manual. It has caused confusion for several people, as it seems to indicate the tool is turned sideways when hooking it into the needle that will be receiving the transferred stitch. This illustration really should have a big red X printed on top of it. DO NOT turn the tool sideways!

The manual is trying to illustrate the transfer tool pivoted upwards, as shown by the red arrow, after the stitch has slid into the hook of the receiving needle.

transfer tool practice  7

Remove the transfer tool from the needle and make sure the needle is in position B, so that it can knit on the next row. Not shown – on the next row, the carriage will lay a bar of yarn in the empty needle hook, and this will knit normally on the next row. One eyelet has been formed.

Lace patterns are combinations of eyelets and stitches transferred in specified directions. Lace charts show how these should be done, but we will not cover that here. For now, please practice using the transfer tool until you can easily move stitches.


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This tutorial was copyrighted and uploaded to the original Clearwater Knits website in 1997. It was updated July 15, 2015.