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jodancer25 12-23-2010 07:17 PM

Stitches too tight!!! Help??
Help! I am teaching myself how to knit via the internet How to Knit a Scarf) and I can't find an answer to my problem ANYWHERE on line. I get the cast on stitches onto the needle (using size 8 wooden needles) but when I actually start to knit I can only do a few stitches before the yarn (Medium 4) is so tight I can't get the needles through the loops anymore. I know I must be doing something wrong, or there is some trick to keeping the stitches loose, but I can't figure it out! (I can't believe it's not online anywhere- I imagine I'm not the first beginner who has had this problem). I've tried casting on really loose, and just about anything else I can think of. Any advice, tips, or tricks would be greatly appreciated! My goal is to someday knit myself and my cat matching cable knit sweaters... :) I don't imagine I will ever get there if I can't even knit one row!

trvvn5 12-23-2010 07:26 PM

This mostly has to do with something called tension. Most likely what you are doing is holding your working yarn too tightly as you are knitting. This is one of those things that just comes with time and practice. It takes a while to get used to holding the yarn properly and letting loose when you need to and grabbing tighter when you need to.

Also what people tend to do is get a grip on the yarn and keep holding it tightly as they knit. So what was slack three stitches ago is now tight becuase you haven't adjusted your death grip on the yarn in between stitches. You'll notice when you first start knitting that you are going to be so afraid that a stitch is going to drop that you will hold your needles and your yarn so tight that you will give your hands cramps. You don't want to be a white nuckle knitter. Just relax and take a breath and check in every now and again to see how tightly you are holding things. You'll notice at first that you start out relaxed and get very tense as you knit. It's just the stress of learning something new working its way in. Take a moment when you notice this to breath and relax.

I find that I go back and forth between holding the yarn and releasing the yarn. While I am actually makeing the stitch I hold the yarn the tightest that I hold it, but I'm still not gripping it to the point where it doesn't have any give. Then in between stitches I loosen my grip a little to allow some extra yarn to come in to replace the yarn that I used making the last stitch. The way that I do this is by wrapping the yarn around my pinky and then I just squeeze my pinky in when I need more tension and let my pinky relax out when I need less tension.

Don't get discouraged by the fact that you are having trouble right now. It takes time and lots of practice to get this stuff right. I know there are still things that I pick up and I'm sure there are tons of things I have yet to learn. We all started where you are and we all had the same problems you are facing and we all got through them and learned to be better knitters. Just take some time to practice the basics before you start working on something you're going to be upset doens't turn out right. I practiced making garter stitch pot holder and wash cloths when I started. It's just practice and who really cares if your wash cloth is a little wonky.

Ingrid 12-23-2010 07:30 PM

Yes, make sure you don't tug on your stitches after you knit them. Let them just slide off, letting the needle decide the size of the stitch.

trvvn5 12-23-2010 07:33 PM


Originally Posted by Ingrid (Post 1308679)
Yes, make sure you don't tug on your stitches after you knit them. Let them just slide off, letting the needle decide the size of the stitch.

I like the way you put that Ingrid. Letting the needles decide the size of the stitch. The reason we use the needles is to get a consistent size, so the needle is the guide to tell you how big the stitch should be.

suzeeq 12-23-2010 07:48 PM

It may also help to cast on over both needles, so your cast on isn't tight too. Even if you just use one needle, don't pull the yarn tight, it can be a little loose so you can slide the needle through them easily.

Breezed 12-24-2010 02:46 PM

trvvn5 - great explanation, this is exactly how it was for me starting out a few months back.

MGM 12-24-2010 04:01 PM

I am a tight knitter too, as you can see in some of my knitting videos HERE, so one thing that I do almost all the time when casting on is to use a needle several times larger than what I will use for the project just for the cast on row, then I start knitting with the regular size needles. This makes the cast on stitches looser than I can get them to be on my own because the needle is bigger. Another thing I do is what suzeeq said, to cast on over two needles, then just pull one needle out before you start knitting. I do that frequently too and it really helps in getting loose stitches.

Also really pay attention to how tight you are holding the working yarn and how tight you are pulling it once the stitch is formed...the death grip as trvvn5 calls it! Once you figure out how to relax that grip and let the yarn flow, you will really be on your way to enjoying knitting!

Don't give up! It's well worth the effort!


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