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Old 02-04-2006, 01:59 AM   #1
Kirin
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gauge and knitting tension--loose knitter
Hi!
I'm a pretty new knitter (basically started in Dec. after about 25 yrs of not knitting--and I was a beginner then too). In the latest flurry of projects I have knit 5 scarves and 9 hats (ribbed or roll-brim) and now have embarked on two bigger projects: an afghan in which every block has a different texture pattern (I'm on block 2 now), and my first attempt at a sweater (not started yet). For both of these I am using Plymouth acrylic/wool mix washable worsted.

I knit a swatch to check gauge and discovered that I knit very loosely. In fact, I did this at a yarn store where they give lessons, and one of the owner/teachers watched what I was doing and measured my swatch to determine gauge. Somehow I end up with knitting that is at least 30% wider than the goal gauge, so I have to go to needles 2 or 3 sizes smaller.

Is there anything I should do to my knitting technique to make it less loose, or should I just live with having to use thinner needles? I don't want my projects to be very "holey" and loose; on the other hand, if I knit with thinner needles for a long time my hands become sore. The woman at the yarn store said not to worry--just pick needles that get the right gauge. Is this the best (or only) solution?

Thanks for your help!

Kirin

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Old 02-04-2006, 03:05 AM   #2
AidanM
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Wow, most people have the opposite problem and knit much too tight!
If you want to change any of your habits, you must concentrate on them. Eventually the pathways in your brain that you have made by concentrating will become the normal firing pattern for that particular activity. Knitty.com had an article a while back about how to loosen up your knitting and it advocated this approach. I suggest the same for getting it a little snugger.

Of course, the only reason I suggest this is because you mention the hand pain with the smaller needles. Otherwise I would have told you to just use smaller needles as well.
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Old 02-04-2006, 03:38 AM   #3
Kirin
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gauge -- loose knitter
Hi :D

Thanks for the reply. I think it makes sense, but I don't know quite where my knitting becomes too loose--whether I need to knit closer to the point (although I thought I shouldn't knit where the needles start to taper), or do something else. How do I knit more tightly without cramping my hands or otherwise adding tension to my gesture? (I hope I'm making sense to you!)

Related to knitting loosely or tightly: I have made a couple of things with "Homespun" yarn and found it really difficult because the yarn doesn't really stretch. Ditto for making somethng with "eyelash"/frizzy yarn. How do I get the gauge and knit smoothly with yarn that doesn't "give"? I'm making a hat with "Symphony" fuzzy yarn and am having trouble for the same reason.

Thanks again to all of you experts!

Kirin
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Old 02-04-2006, 06:08 AM   #4
Debbie
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Try giving your working yarn a teeny, tiny little tug after each stitch. And, It is ok to knit at the very tip of your needles, just be careful not to let your stitches slip off.
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Old 02-04-2006, 10:06 AM   #5
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Knitting loosely isn't really a problem unless your knitting is really holey and your stitches are abnormally elongated. To get gauge, you'll just need to go with smaller needles. You may have to go down a few sizes to get gauge, but really, you're lucky that you knit loosely! Your joints thank you, I'm sure!
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Old 02-04-2006, 05:01 PM   #6
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Have you tried using the continental knitting style? I find that my stitches are much tighter when I use this method. Hope this helps!
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