Anyway, I still want to go over a few things. So I thought I'd give you some tips that I learned in my various reading and Google searches of the past couple of weeks.
First of all, let's go over needles.
--Ballpoint: For knits. The rounded point separated fibers rather than pierces them.
--Stretch: For use on really stretchy stuff, like swimwear, lycra, etc. The eye is higher in the shaft, causing less friction. It also has a hump on the other side, which makes a bigger loop.
Basically, I learned they're not the same. I know, genius = me. But I really thought they were a few weeks ago.
So, use a ballpoint needle.
A fun little helpful trick to do:
my denim needles have blue paint on them along the top of the shaft. The stretch have yellow. I took a black magic marker and colored a black mark on my ballpoint, to distinguish them from my universal needles.
You thought I was joking about the genius thing?
Omi suggests using a walking foot for knits. I agree. This is by FAR the best option I've tried, with amazing results compared to other methods.
If you don't have a walking foot? You can do a method The Book refers to as the "stretch and hold".
Basically, you firmly hold the one end of the fabric, while pulling the other end as you feed it through the machine. The idea is that this will stretch the fabric as it will stretch when actually used/worn, and make the stitches lay flatter.
There are two main stitches you can use. I found a few sources that swore to just use a basic straight stitch with the "stretch and hold", and you'll do fine, just go slowly. But most sources say to use a small zig-zag, or stretch stitch. My machine's looks like this (D/4)
Without the walking foot, using either the straight or the stretch stitch, I wasn't thrilled with the results. The best method I found for keeping things going smoothly when sewing with knits, sans walking foot, is spray starch.
It will keep your fabric less stretchy while sewing, so you get less "lettuce" effects, less curling, etc. Really, it can make a huge difference in managing your fabric through your machine.
And with all that in mind, how about a fun,super easy little project using knits?