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Old 02-23-2010, 05:27 AM   #1
kcrumley
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Casting on too tight
A friend of mine tells me that I cast on too tightly. What will casting on to tight cause to happen and how can I prevent it. I do tend to knit very tight. I am also having a hard time picking up on the Continental Style of knitting any suggestions. My friend told me that I will be able to knit faster if I can knit using the Continental Style. Thank you for any help that you can give me.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:16 AM   #2
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I can't speak to the Continental Style of knitting, however I do believe fast Continental knitters knit faster than fast English knitters.

That said, I'm an English knitter (throw the yarn)...and I get more knitting done than anybody I know. Sometimes it's not how lightening fast your needles blaze, it's how effective you are at knitting the pattern. Preparation can mean less mistakes, and less frogging and tinking. Keeping/making good notes also makes the knitting part go faster cuz you always know what to do and when to do it.

To be FAST isn't the reason to learn Continental knitting. There are assorted reasons it is a great way to knit. Less tedonitis I've heard. You are better at Fair Isle knitting cuz you can knit with both hands. In about a minute, lots of Conti knitters are going to add their 2 cents. I'll say this: if you are ever going to learn Conti knitting, it's better to do it as soon as possible. The sooner you force yourself to learn it, the easier it will be to switch! It's too late for me!

About casting on too tight: it can cause your knitting to be too tight as well.
A tight cast on just starts the whole thing on the wrong foot.

Here's what to do: If you think you will be using (for example) and US8 for your scarf...cast on with a US9. Then on the first row of knitting, use the US8 in your right hand...and from then on, use the US8 in both hands.

You could even try going up 2 sizes for the cast on needle. Just keep tinkering around with it until you like the results.
Make a practice swatch for casting on and knitting a few rows before you cast on a huge number of stitches for the real deal.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:16 AM   #3
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Casting on too tightly can also warp your fabric. You want the stitches to be even and consistent. When you cast on too tightly you will end up with a very tight edge, then if knit a little bit more loosely you will end up with a fabric that is shaped a little like this...(_).

Also, knitting too tightly can get very tiring on your hands. It slows you down because it makes getting into the stitches harder so you spend more time trying to open up those tight stitches to work your way in. And it will throw off the gauge and will require you to use more yarn in the long run because you will need more stitches per inch for your gauge. I would highly recommend trying to loosen up your stitches if they're really that tight.

One of the things that I do to try to keep my gauge consistent and my stitches of good tension is to make sure to push the right hand needle all the way up into the stitch before pulling it off the left needle. This will help by keeping your stitches the size of the needle and not the size of the tips of the needle. I used to work so closely to the front of the needles that I was getting the size of the tips and then forcing the stitches back the needles. It doesn't work so well.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:39 AM   #4
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The cast on row doesn't stretch like the rest of your knitting, so casting on (or off) too tightly can make your necklines (or sleeves or whatever) too tight.

I don't know which style of knitting is faster. Does it really matter?
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:01 AM   #5
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I don't think that it really matters. I can knit both ways, but I only knit continental now.

I knit continental for two reasons. One, I can do it faster than I can do English. Two, I don't have to think about the placement of the yarn when I switch from purl to knit and knit to purl. For Continental knitting the yarn has to be on the correct side in order to do the stitch. When I knit English I find it is way to easy to forget to put the yarn in front or in back depending on the stitch and then I end up with accidental yarn overs becuase I forgot to switch yarn position.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:13 AM   #6
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It isn't which method is faster in general, it's how productive you are at making the sts; minimal hand and arm movements will be faster overall. I don't 'throw' my whole hand and arm around the way english style is shown in most videos, but keep my R hand very close to the needle, kind of skimming along it. So experiment with how you hold the needles and yarn to get more efficent movements.

As for the tight cast on and stitches - don't give an extra pull to the yarn! If you do Long tail, keep the thumb yarn loose and don't tug on the finger yarn. If you do knit or cable cast on, don't pull on the really tight around the needle, keep it loose. When making a stitch, don't make it then pull the yarn - doing the next stitch will tighten up the previous stitch. If you wrap the yarn around a finger or two, drop some of the wraps, the yarn should flow smoothly between your fingers.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:15 AM   #7
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Hon, you knit anyway that makes YOU feel good, because that's what it's supposed to be, knitting because it makes YOU feel good, not anyone else.

With that said, there is no right way or wrong way to knit. I knit Combined and Eastern, depending on what I'm making and all I do is modify my purl stitch. I can knit Continental or English if I so choose, but I do what's best for me and doesn't cause my hands and wrists to cramp up or hurt.

Now for the tight binding... your bind on row does not stretch. It's why, when you make things with a ribbing, you generally (but not always) will start out with a smaller needle than you continue with. It's to make a stretchy border that hangs on to you, like socks or gloves/mitten. Think of a sweater "hem" and the ribbing makes it a little harder for the sweater to ride up your torso than if there was no real border and it doesn't curl up, as stockinette will do.

Enjoy your knitting. Find the style that works best for you and use the internet to find out how to make your style work for you.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by AngelaR View Post
Now for the tight binding... your bind on row does not stretch. It's why, when you make things with a ribbing, you generally (but not always) will start out with a smaller needle than you continue with. It's to make a stretchy border that hangs on to you, like socks or gloves/mitten. Think of a sweater "hem" and the ribbing makes it a little harder for the sweater to ride up your torso.
This is slightly off topic. But it relates to what you just stated here. I hate the way that sweaters will hold onto you at the hem. I'd rather that they would lay flat, but I like the border that a rib gives at the bottom of a sweater. I don't like the way that a rib will give an almost bubbled shape to a sweater. If you cast on and did a rib with a larger needle than you do for the body of a sweater, would it cause the rib to lay flat?

As an example. I like the way this sweater lays at the bottom. This one.
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:11 PM   #9
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The ribbing should lie flat as long as you do about an inch and a half or two inches. The one you posted is done with a heavier weight yarn and larger needles so that helps some.

Another reason a lot of pattern use a smaller needle for the ribbing is that the individual sts in a rib appear to be larger than the stockinette st done on the same needle, so it doesn't look quite right where the st changes. You can get around this by using the same needles for ribbing, but on the last row/round use a smaller needle, then the transition won't look so off.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
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Tight Cast-on
Thanks for all the great info! I'm just beginning my journey down the knitting road and any/all snippets of info/tips are greatly appreciated!
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