Can't Seem to Control the Working End of My Yarn

I am a total newbie to knitting (but I do know basic crochet). I understand the mechanics of the English method knit stich and purl stitch, and I can do the stitches on straight needles. What I absolutlely cannot get is controling the working end of my yarn. I’ve tried the usual methods of wrapping the yarn around my fingers, and every other way I can think of, and I just can’t seem to get it right, or get comfortable. Because of this, my tension is HORRIBLE and inconsistent. Is this typical of beginners? I’m perplexed!

Everyone develops their own style of holding the yarn, to get their tension correct. Just keep trying different ways until it feels right to you.

Watch knitting videos on YouTube, and you’ll see what I mean. Everyone has their own knitting style.

I am still pretty new at knitting myself (about 3.5 weeks) and I struggled with tension the most too. And having experienced knitters like my mom, sister and friends tell me that “I’d find my own mathod” made me crazy that first week or so. But I finally did and my tension is getting more constant. I think I still tend to knit tighter than others,but it is getting better and more consistent.

The way I hold is it that I wrap it once around my index finger, then over the top of the next two fingers, and down through the space between my ring and pinky finger. I don’t wrap it again around my pinky (as my mom does) because it was too tight then. My sister and good friend just have it go over the top of their index finger and then hang down and they gently hold it in their hand (I think).

But THEN I was trying to purl with a double strand and I kept getting tangled. so then I had to switch my hold a bit and not have it dangle down between my ring and pinky finger.

So, my long winded reply is that YES it is frustrating, and yes just keep experimenting until you find a way that works… and even then, you may continue to adjust it a little for different yarns or stitches.

Take this with a grain of sale, considering my newbie state as well… lol.

I’m a crocheter AND a knitter too. I hold the yarn completely different when I crochet - only looped over my index finger, and my hand “gently holds” the rest. When I knit, it’s looped all in between ALL of my fingers. I start with a loop on my pinky, and then it pretty much weaves in and out of the rest of them.

You’ll find your way in no time. Just keep in mind, it’s supposed to be enjoyable.


LOL! I went through the same thing as a knitter learning to crochet.
My advice is to grab a ball of junk yarn and make something small, simple, and unimportant – like a dishcloth or pad to go under a potted plant – anything practical that doesn’t need to be pretty. That way you don’t have to agonize or rip anything out if it doesn’t look good. You can relax and just let it happen. When you’re finished you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and (hopefully) your tension problem will have worked itself out.

I had the same problem when I started knitting (and I also knit English style). What helped me learn to control the working end of my yarn was the book “Idiot’s Guide to Knitting.” I had bought it when I was learning to knit (but I’m sure it’s available in your library if you don’t want to buy it), and it has a section in the beginning about how to wrap your yarn around your fingers/hand with illustrations.

It took me about a week straight of sitting in my car during my lunch hour practicing the technique with a scrap yarn sampler of stitches, but eventually I got it and now it’s become second nature. At first it was very unnatural and I never thought I’d get it,but I was determined that a piece of string and some sticks weren’t going to get the best of me. :lol:

Good luck!

Just stick with it… it won’t always be so awkward!!! Play with either double wrapping the pinky or single wrapping it. Sometimes I have to put cream on my hands because they are too dry and the yarn slips too much.

The main thing is that you have to get your hands to just do it… and they will learn and take over for you once you’ve gone through all the pain and suffering of teaching them!

Good luck! :heart:


Just to add another method into the mix, I’m an English knitter and I don’t wrap my yarn around any of my fingers.

However, I’m at work without yarn and I’m having a difficult time imagining just what I do with the yarn when I’m not wrapping it around the needle. :??

I’ll have to do a few stitches when I get home and see where the yarn goes. :lol:

When I crochet, I work with the yarn wrapped around my index finger, but for knitting I don’t wrap it around anything.

[I]Edited to add: [/I]I hold the working yarn in my right hand, alongside the needle. Pick the yarn up, wrap, then with it still in my hand, make the stitch, repeat. It sort of lays along the length of the needle while I’m making each stitch.

I’m never going to be a speed knitter, but for me this is most natural, comfortable, and consistent.

I knit english and don’t wrap it around any fingers, but I weave the yarn through them - over the index, under the middle, over the ring and kind of curl my little finger around the tail.