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Old 11-09-2007, 01:10 AM   #1
jess_hawk
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Loosening up
OK, I have been knitting for years now and consider myself advanced. The one thing I have problems with is, I knit VERY tight. It creates a very neat, smooth product, which is something I am a little OCD about (It took me a while to realize that almost all of my nervous habits consist of trying to make surfaces perfectly smooth), but its tight enough that it is hard to get the needle between yarn and other needle a lot of times. I knit looser if I knit continental, but it cramps up my left hand within minutes trying to keep what I consider to be a reasonable tension on the yarn (I also get tendonitis in that wrist). The only reason I knit looser, I'm pretty sure, is that I am not physically able to increase my tension. But, that happens often enough with how tight I knit English, too. I used to think that I could force myself to knit looser if I used bigger needles. My guage increased, but I knit even tighter because I kept knitting about two thirds of the way up the point. Eventually, I plan to get some pointier needles, but for the time being, I'm stuck with what I have.
Any advice on how to loosen up my knitting? I don't want to knit overly loose, but it would be nice to be able to get my needles working smoothly...
Thanks!
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:34 AM   #2
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I was going to suggest Continental but you beat me to the punch. Perhaps if you experiment with new ways to hold tension it would help. I would also suggest that you try continental for short period of time. You are using new sets of muscles and they need a chance to become conditioned.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:37 AM   #3
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Try different ways of holding your yarn, threading it through your fingers rather than wrapping around a finger or two. This article may help too... http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/FEATloosenup.html
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:05 AM   #4
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Suzeeq - The first paragraph of that article made me roflmao. I no longer use my desk or desk chair because they have been overtaken by random stuff.
I actually don't tug my stitches the extra time. I just rev up my tension constantly. I checked. There is no way that I'm giving it an extra tug. I used to when I was younger but broke the habit four years ago (thats how I loosened my stitches as much as I have)
I did try holding my yarn differently and it helps as long as I knit slowly but if I start to speed up I turn up the tension. with knit stitches it isn't so bad, but it doesn't work for purl. I don't know why. :( I wish my left hand could handle continental. Its mostly the tendonitis that keeps me from doing it all the time on purl stitches at least (I hate purl stitches English style).
Does anybody know how to knit continental backwards? I bet I could do it with my right hand.

Jeremy - I taught myself continental last year (saw a couple of photos and it just clicked) so I've never really thought about there being other ways to hold the yarn that would work just as well. I just opened the video here (my computer used to not play them, I'm thrilled it will now) and tried the first method described for a few stitches (wrapping the yarn twice around my index finger) and it doesn't seem to put stress on the problem areas. I'll try it for a bit and see how it works and let you know. Can't believe I didn't think of that one myself.
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Last edited by jess_hawk : 11-09-2007 at 02:16 AM. Reason: hit submit accidentally before I finished
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:22 AM   #5
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Tugging the yarn after a stitch isn't the only reason for tight knitting, I didn't realize that's the only thing she addressed in that article. Since it happens mainly when you speed up, you may be gripping the yarn tighter then. I've noticed that when I thread my yarn closer to my knuckles the tension is tighter than when I move it to the outer ends of my finers
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Old 11-09-2007, 12:32 PM   #6
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My knitting is just now starting to loosen up, I have always knit tight too.
I'm a bit OCD about stitches being exactly alike, Jess- maybe you can *convince* yourself to make sure each stitch is a certain amount of space away from the needle?
Just an idea.
Good luck!
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