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dudeKnit 01-08-2013 12:40 PM

Need some tips for stitch uniformity
Hello all, I'm new to knitting, in fact just started Friday past.

I'm trying to make myself a scarf to keep myself warm when I'm out enjoying my favorite hobby of flying my model aircraft. I'm using #4 needles and a simple garter stitch for the project. I'm planning on blocking it when done. I've restarted the project several times since Friday and am getting a bit miffed.

Last night I decided it was too wide and decided to start over, which was a good idea. I took what I had learned the other 4 times I started over and doing my cast on row it came out the best yet. The second row was a bit of a nuisance. I am having trouble with my stitches not being uniform. I will get to a point where some of the stitches are tight and too close together and at other points they feel a bit loser and are much easier to work with.

Does anyone have any tips on keeping stitches uniform in size?

So far I have enjoyed learning, and am finding it somewhat relaxing when not frustrated by missing a stitch or losing one.

Forgot to mention I'm using a worsted weight yarn. In case you need to know that.

suzeeq 01-08-2013 12:54 PM

Just keep practicing. Size 4s (or 4mm) are pretty small unless you're using a very thin yarn and will make a very dense and tight knit with the worsted. If you can try using a size 9 or 10 needle and it may be easier to make the sts more even and not miss a stitch as the stitches will be larger and easier to see. I think that will help quite a lot.

mojo11 01-08-2013 01:55 PM

A lot of the non-uniformity will come out in blocking. If you're using an acrylic yarn, once you've tossed it in the laundry and washed it once you'll be amazed at how much more uniform it looks. If it's wool or something else that has to be hand washed, it's a little trickier.

Fiber content might also have an impact on the issue you're talking about if you've pulled it out multiple times and restarted it. Usually it's not an issue, but if you're using something that's not terribly tightly spun, it can start to fluff up and come untwisted if you pull it out and re-use it (as I'm currently finding out is the case with Cascade Eco Duo).

And I'd second what suzeeq said... for a worsted yarn, a US 4 sounds a little small. Then again, "worsted" is a completely subjective term that covers a lot of territory. But if you've got some larger needles, you might try them and see what happens.

Finally, if you have the choice between tightening up and loosening up, go for looser. You're going to see daylight between the stitches -- especially with garter stitch -- so don't fight it. It's supposed to be that way. And don't forget to breathe. Very important. No, seriously, I mean it. If you're tense, your knitting will be too. I know it's tough to relax when you're still at the stage where you're doing this internal Snoopy dance every time a stitch actually works, but that's one of the things that's making things so tight. As a very wise knitter once told me, "it's knitting, not rocket science."

Antares 01-08-2013 02:09 PM

Are you using metal needles?

I started out on metal needles, and, like you, was very frustrated with how uneven my stitches were. Then, I tried bamboo needles. Although they're a bit more expensive, the end result was well worth the cost--they helped even out my tension and made my stitches very uniform.

So if you opt to buy some bigger needles, I would recommend looking for bamboo ones. The Clover brand is nice, and Hobby Lobby, Jo-ann's and Micheal's almost always have sizes 7-9 in this brand. If you can't find them in straight needles, try circulars, which are multi-functional in that you can use them to knit a circle or for flat knitting (which is what you're doing).

Jan in CA 01-08-2013 02:18 PM

Even tension becomes better with practice. All new knitters have to go through this so you're not alone.

Are your needles a US 4? What weight yarn are you using? If your needles are too small for the yarn weight getting even tension will be harder.

suzeeq 01-08-2013 02:33 PM

She said she's using worsted weight, which I think is much too thick to work on size 4s.

GrumpyGramma 01-08-2013 02:42 PM

I have just been using Sz 4 needles with worsted weight yarn...on purpose, I wanted it very tight, very dense...and must say that a new knitter needs larger needles. At least US 8 probably 9 or 10. Your poor hands, trying to knit those stitches.

mojo11 01-08-2013 02:54 PM


Originally Posted by GrumpyGramma (Post 1365829)
I have just been using Sz 4 needles with worsted weight yarn...on purpose, I wanted it very tight, very dense...and must say that a new knitter needs larger needles. At least US 8 probably 9 or 10. Your poor hands, trying to knit those stitches.

For the "typical" worsted weight (whatever that is!) I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than a US 6 -- and usually at least a US 8. But "worsted" covers a broad range of weights, some of which might be manageable on US 4s.

But just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Jan in CA 01-08-2013 03:41 PM

I agree that US 4 is too small for worsted weight except under special circumstances. I'm a loose knitter so I usually use a 6-7, but the suggested needle size is usually 8-9.

I started with bamboo, but now knit with nickel plated/metal. Unless you're having issues with the stitches slipping you may not need to try bamboo, but do get bigger needles either way.

dudeKnit 01-08-2013 03:45 PM

Firstly thank you all for your input it is very welcome. I do believe the needles are 4 US, will have to make sure when I get home. The yarn is acrylic, and yes they are metal (aluminum I think) needles.

This is the stitch size I'd like to have.

Not sure if that is doable with my current skill level or not, either way I've nothing but time so I don't mind keeping at it.

@suzeeq, I am a male LMAO.

It's the 21st century men knit and sew now as well.

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