View Full Version : Tight knitter: wooden or aluminum needles

11-16-2007, 11:29 AM
Good morning! I have only been knitting for two months, and have been told that I am a very tight knitter. The first pair of needles I ever bought were aluminum, but some of the other knitters I know IRL suggested that I use wooden, as they are easier for new knitters. I now have several prs. of wooden needles and (think I) like them.
Would using aluminum needles make my knitting less tight? Is that something I should strive for - knitting that is not so terribly tight - or something that I shouldn't fret over. One of that ladies that I know IRL told me yesterday that I just am a tight knitter. She said that there is no reason to try to do it differently (and maybe there isn't)!

So, is being a tight knitter really a big deal? Should I switch to aluminum needles, or stick with the wooden ones? TIA!!!

11-16-2007, 11:39 AM
Many people using metal needles may really tug the yarn to make the sts tighter because they're afraid they'll fall off. That's one reason people suggest wood one as they're stickier. You could be a tight knitter, many are when they start, but loosen up as they get more experience and relax more. It's a problem only if you're having trouble getting your needle into the stitch. If you are, experiment with holding your yarn differently; that's what controls the tension, more than what needles you use.

11-16-2007, 02:00 PM
I think that as you become more comfortable as a knitter, you will relax the tension in your shoulders on down and will more than likely loosen your knitting. Overall I don't think there is a tremendous difference in needles of various materials that cannot be overcome with practice.

11-16-2007, 02:00 PM
In our knit group we have a mantra for new knitters and that is simply 'relax'. It does take time to reach a tension that is consistent and suits how you want to knit - but if you are finding things difficult to work - try relaxing your grip, letting your hands relax more and see if this helps.

The last poster is of course right if you are not having trouble working into the stitches - dont panic.

11-16-2007, 02:20 PM
I'd suggest doing a project where you knit something that is extremely loose, just to watch it and feel it. Like an easy scarf or small simple shawl. I recently did this pattern Reading In Bed shrug. I did it on size 9 Bryspun needles which are plastic and it had a lot of yarn overs and knit two togethers etc. Well, I am also working on a big Einstein coat with heavy Lopi and it just hurts my wrist so much that I can only do a bit each day... then I switch to the Bryspun lace and it's really loose looseygoosey and it's so relaxing and easy on my wrist.

You might want to try a pair of those plastic Bryspun, they have wonderful tips and you just wouldn't want to knit tight on them.

11-16-2007, 02:24 PM
In my experience, it makes little difference whether you are using wood needles, or aluminum ones. If you are listed as a tight knitter, it is most likely something that you are doing with the actual knitting. Such as one common mistake is to tighten up each stitch after you've made it. don't, as you knit, it'll tighten itself, it will do so even more after you've blocked the piece.

11-16-2007, 02:54 PM
I have always been a tight knitter, biggest issue is gauge. When you do your sample make sure gauge is correct, I tend to go up at least one size in needles and that basically corrects it. I personally prefer to knit on round metal needles, they are the most comfortable for me. It carries the weight nicely in front and the stitches slide easily. I do use the little rubber stoppers on the end whenever I put my knitting down, that way there is no chance of lost or dropped stitches.

With smooth textured yarn I can basically knit and purl without looking but specialty yarns still require a little more attention

11-16-2007, 04:57 PM
When I first started knitting I was a tight knitter too but I had no idea (I learned everything from this one small tutorial on the internet) until I tried my first striped project.

I noticed the stripes at the beginning were really small then some were larger and I realized it was my tension. Then I noticed after that little project my knitting became better since I was aware of the difference.

I only use wood needles for dpn and notice I knit tighter with dpn's. I like aluminum since to me, it makes the project go faster.

11-16-2007, 05:01 PM
I was a very tight knitter when I first began; I loosened up gradually with experience.

Wednesday's tip about going up in needle size is a good one.

Lady Violet
11-17-2007, 04:43 PM
i learned on aluminum. that's probably why i started out as i really tight knitter. i really didn't want to lose any stitches. when i started using bamboo, i had serious problems with my stitches not moving AT ALL. i've really loosened up since then. i also don't use bamboo any more. i've got some of the original nickle-plated KP options and for some reason when i try to knit tightly on them, i just can't. the needles work perfectly with the way i knit. if you're worried about knitting tightly, i would suggest getting some options. they're really cheap, and you can just get one circular or a tips/cable combo to see how you like them. i absolutely LOVE them! oh yeah, and shipping is only three bucks. :)

11-18-2007, 12:19 AM
I hate to see people say 'wooden is better for new knitters' or 'no-one should use metal needles, stitches always fall off'. Some people prefer wood and some metal, I have always preferred metal. Go with what you prefer.
My tendency is to think that tight knitters generally prefer metal needles because stitches stick on wooden/bamboo needles, if your stitches are tight you might find it easier to move them on slippery needles. Loose knitters make loose stitches, which move easily, and wood/bamboo holds them a bit more and is less likely to let them fall off. But this also means that wood encourages you to loosen up, so give it a go!
No reason to loosen up? I disagree. Knitting very tightly means you are using more force and putting more strain on your wrists and fingers, also your needles and wool. Tight stitches are more difficult to work, and your knitting will be slower if you are very tight. In that case, I would encourage you to put some effort into consciously and deliberately relaxing a bit when you knit, before your habits are too stuck - it will become natural very quickly.

If you are just a slightly tight knitter, don't bother adjusting your tension: very few people just happen to have the average tension or the same as the pattern designer, and there is no skill in getting the same tension as a label on a ball of wool says. Most people are a bit looser or tighter, normal, no problems: very tight or loose, you can get problems.