Brand New Knitter

Please help! I lost my father unexpectedly about 5 months ago and have realized I need to take some time for myself. Thought I would try knitting so bought some “Taught myself books” (not helping) I have the basics down and have learned alot from this web site. My problem is that no matter what I do my stitches are so tight that It is a real struggle to get the needle in them. Any suggestions on where I am going wrong?

So sorry about your father. Im glad you are taking the time you need to heal…lots of people dont know how to help themselves through something like that. Hugs to you!

It will take some time to get your tension under control. It helped me when I started knitting to pull a little extra stitch through each loop. You may also want to experiment with different ways of holding your working yarn…if you have it wrapped around too many fingers, you end up having not enough to work with. I just wrap around my pinky, then across my palm, then just over my index finger. See what works for you. You’ll get it, it just takes time!

Sorry to hear about your father :frowning: It’s good that you are taking time for yourself though. Something most need, but don’t do …
Anyway, I would say, really, tension just comes with time and practice. You just have to experiment with how you are holding the yarn and how you are working through it all and eventually you’ll do something that will work!
Good luck, and hang in there.


You may want to try needles larger than what the yarn weight calls for. This will cause the fabric to be lacier and might offer a temproary solution while you are sorting the tension thing out. Work back down to smaller needles once things even out.

Another thing I’ve noticed every new knitter I’ve known doing (and I have distinct memories of doing it when I was a kid) (wow, “every new knitter I’ve known” is a mouth full) is knitting on the very tips of the needles. As Amy mentions in her vidios, this causes the loops to be smaller in diameter as the tips are smaller. Take the time to work the stitch all the way down to the wide part of the right needle as you make it and slip the old stitch off the left hand needle. It may seem a little awkward at first, but if you’re working on the tips now, you’ll find that in time you’ll naturally pull the loop all the way down to the wide part without thinking.

I find it very ironic to (finally) see your message on the very anniversary of my own father’s passing from cancer, 12 years ago today. This was also his birthday, no less, and on that morning, I found he was gone when I went into his bedroom to say “Happy Birthday.” :frowning:

Needless to say I know where you’re at in your healing process…hang in there…because the darkest light is just before dawn. Knitting is a great way to do something creative and can help you reflect or think about new things to come and a better future.

What the other ladies have posted here is very much the case and each has provided you excellent suggestions from their own experience. You will probably knit tighter until you have some time and experience with tension and “feel” for each yarn you work with. As you perfect whatever technique’s you’ve learned to knit with, this will also be a factor. Try switching to a different style and see how very loose all the new method stitches become…at least for a little while, until you become accustomed to the new method.

Even after about 7 or 8 years of knitting, I still find myself knitting near the tips of my needles…mainly because of my technique. Until I saw Amy’s video, I never realized it played a part in why the stitches were so tight. I’m alright with it, because I know I tend to be a tight knitter and I know how to adjust things along the way these days…because I developed a sense of tension and feel through experience.

While you develop yours, you might want to stop after each row and gently slide the group of top loops of your needles back and forth across the needle a few times. You might even want to hold the end of your needle and twirl the end around a few times (like how you’d wind a watch knob), to be sure you’ve “unstuck” the loops while you do the sliding.

Then with your thumb on the side facing you and your pointer finger placed over the working loop and needle (in other words, on the opposite side from where your thumb is) gently pull down slightly on the loops. Make sure you’re gently tugging on the bottom “joiner” part. You’ll see your working loop become slightly larger.

These two things together will help stretch your work slightly and give you back whatever “ease” is available in your work. Caution, don’t pull down too tightly…and you should expect to see a slightly larger stitch for the first few rows, compared to the existing, really tight work.

Give it a try and if you’re like me, you’ll learn a bit more about overall tension control and give yourself a better idea of how to adjust your tension for the next row and future rows…instead of having to suffer, fight and pull your way through them.

Keep workin’ at it, hang in there and Good Luck! :slight_smile:

:cheering: Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice. I have tried several of the tips you all have given. I have found that the more I do, while incorporating all the tips given it does seem to be getting easier. My poor scarf looks as though I have figured out a few things along the way however, I quess I just won’t be giving this one away. Thanks again.

That’s great! Every project should be a learning experience, IMHO. Keep this scarf… it will always remind you of where you started and the progress you’ve made! I still have the first few “thingys” that i made… they’re a cheerful reminder that I have accomplished something since I started to knit.

Tension does come with practice, and I had the same problem with tight stitches. Also, it is important that you are relaxed when you are knitting. Someone suggested that to me on another forum when I first started knitting, and it’s true. Make sure you are comfortable, clear your mind of any stress.

Hope that helps.


My sympathies to you on your dad. Mine passed away on Feb. 7th, and due to work issues (tax season) I cant really take much time for myself until after mid April. However, I have found my knitting time to be very therapeutic…I taught myself right after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November…and have been clicking away ever since.

I have found that certain types of needles make my stitces too tight. Inox for example. I get nicer looser stitches with Susan Bates. That slipperly aluminum I guess!! so in addition to trying different sizes, try different types!

Keep this scarf… it will always remind you of where you started and the progress you’ve made! I still have the first few “thingys” that i made… they’re a cheerful reminder that I have accomplished something since I started to knit.

So TRUE Hilde! That’s what I did and keep it hangin’ around for just that very reason…flubs and all…to remind me just how far I’ve progressed. I 2nd the thought, keep that scarf!!!

Condolences to you too, kitkat.