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Old 07-18-2008, 12:13 PM   #1
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help with rowing out
I think that is what its called. Its when you don't knit and purl at the same tension so that the piece looks very sloppy when you do plain stockinette. I know this is a common problem for a lot of people. But I'm to the point where I'm about ready to give up knitting altogether. Help me please. I so badly want to knit things but I avoid stockinette (am I even spelling that right?) completely. Unfortunately, stockinette is used so often in sweaters, etc.

From what I've read, most people (and I am assuming that includes me) purl looser than they knit. So I try to tighten up my yarn when I purl but how can this be right? When I do the knit stitch, the stitches on my knitting needle slid easily on the needle. When I purl and try to tighten up the tension, those stitches are really tight on the needle. I thought that my goal should be that the purled stitches slid on the needle with the same degree of tightness as my knit stitches. Does that make any sense? But if I do that, everything looks very uneven in stockinette stitch.

Can you all sense my desperation? Help keep me from quitting. I want knitting to be fun and relaxing but I just want to cry most of the time.

Thank you all,

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Old 07-18-2008, 12:21 PM   #2
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Yes both knit and purl sts should slide the same. Rather than trying to purl tighter, use a needle one size smaller for the purl rows. You might also try a different method of purling if you knit continental, there's a couple different ones like norwegian purl.
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:50 PM   #3
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Here's an excellent article on rowing out.

When asking questions ALWAYS post the name and a link for the pattern if you have it.

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Old 07-18-2008, 01:03 PM   #4
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This can be a hard problem to figure out, I don't know why. Maybe you are purling tighter than you knit.?? I like the idea of using different sizes of needles for knit and purl to correct this. It is awkward to have to do that and requires you to have a lot of needles (but we love that anyhow), but it seems like a good fix. It may take a bit of experimenting with that as well to find out what combination works, and if you need the bigger for knit or purl. Don't give up.

You could also become an expert in knitting in the round. When you knit in the round you knit every row and stockinette magically appears. Look for patterns that don't use any purling and that are done completely in the round. Top down raglan sweaters would be a good place to start off. Also Sally Melville has a book with all knit stitch. I can't remember the name for sure. It is mostly garter stitch stuff.

As Sue said you could investigate other methods of knitting that might work better for you. I just learned the Norwegian Purl from a video on You-tube. I like doing it, but it made me row out. I found it very loose, but if I knit super loose it evened out. But everyone is different and it may work for you. I have also heard some people like to knit in combined method to cure this.

I hope you get this figured out I know it can be very frustating and discouraging.
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:26 AM   #5
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I want to say a great big thank you to everyone who posted with suggestions. I was really hoping that someone would say something almost magical that would instantly solve my problem. Don't we all wish that. But I'm going to have to work on this.

I bought some cotton yarn and printed out a free dishcloth pattern. I figured I would make small items while I practice. With a dishcloth, if I see any rowing out it will make me scrub the dishes that much harder.

One of you suggested that maybe I actually purl tighter than I knit. And, I'm going to explore that option first. I'll let you all know how it goes. Look on the bright side, if I start crying hysterically again at least the cotton yarn will absorb my tears.

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Old 07-19-2008, 11:27 AM   #6
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Hiya Dorcas,
There's still hope hun, one thing that lot's of us uneven knitters have found to save our sanities, is just simply blocking the item.
Blocking evens out a lot of imperfections. Even with acrylic, you can even out the fabric with a quick toss in the ol' washer n nice fluff in the dryer (softens up that stiffness too).

With the woolen or other animal fibre yarns, just gently soak em in a little bit of sudsy warm water (DON'T agitate), rinse em in the same temp of water with maybe a little hair conditioner added in, then gently squeeze the water out, roll in a towel n squeeze out some more n then pin out the garment or whatever to the desired dimensions n let it dry. It'll be soo much easier to seam up if you have too and your fat n thin rows will pretty much be history.
Hope that helps ya hun.
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