Chronically Too Tight

I’ve tried many times to learn to knit. This time, I’m determined to finally do it, but I’m still stuck with the same problem I’ve always had. I learned to hand sew at an early age and still hand sew (and machine sew) and hand embroider. As a result, I chronically pull knitting stitches too tight to even maneuver the needles or pull stitches off, and I do it subconsciously, so I really don’t know how to stop doing this.

Any tips, tricks, or advice?

(Using Continental method, by the way. That’s what I was exposed to first by my grandmother, and I can’t wrap my brain around English.)

You’ll have to train yourself to consciously not pull on the yarn so much. Many tight knitters tend to pull the yarn after making the stitch, but working the next stitch automatically tightens up the previous one.

Find another way to hold your yarn, don’t wrap it around your fingers at all, just weave it through them. Youtube is good to show many knitters holding the yarn and needles different ways.

Keep your cast on loose; when you go to knit into the sts, if they’re tight you’ll also tighten up the new ones. Also make sure your stitches aren’t twisted which tends to make them much tighter.

You need a large glass of wine and that will help you relax. This way you wont choke your yarn. Just remember realx relax relax and letting the yarn hang will help also.

Go slowly and concentrate on making each stitch loose as you wrap it. What type of yarn and needle material are you using? That really could make a difference for a beginner, too.

You might want to try metal needles. I can’t use them. My stitches end up being too loose.

A good tip for casting on loosely is to cast on with two needles. Maybe use a smaller needle than the one you’re knitting with as your extra so that they’re not TOO loose. Then when you’re done casting on, slip off the extra needle and start knitting. I’m a pretty tight knitter too, but I’ve gotten a bit looser with some practice.

Also, to add to what fatoldladyinpjs said, I can’t use anything but metal needles because I knit so tightly. It really helps the tight stitches to glide along much more easily.

Weirdly, I had more trouble with metal needles. I think I just end up pulling so tight that they can’t slip. I’ve actually pulled so tight on metal without trying that the entire yarn got stuck and took two people to pull off, and once even tighter, to the point that the yarn just snapped in two. I have both mostly acryllic and 100% wool laying around. I also haven’t been wrapping at all, just pinching between two fingers.

I wish I could have the wine, by the way…but I’m quite allergic.

I’ve heard that - that people tend to knit tighter on metal than wood because the sts seem like they’ll slip off easier. They won’t, I used metal one for years and years, though some of the ones I have are slicker than others.

Have a beer or a shot of whiskey instead of the wine… :wink:

I think it might take more than one shot of whiskey to tell my hands not to death-grip or over-tighten. :lol:

I wonder if trying bamboo needles would help? They tend to be “grippier” by nature. Maybe you’ll feel easier about relaxing your hold on the yarn if you know the needles will be doing some of the work holding on to it.
The way I got over pulling fair isle sts too tightly was to exaggerate the looseness of the sts. Forget about tension and even sts for the moment. Just drape the yarn over the needle and try to work with it that way. What size needles are you using btw?

Tight knitter here too…

Here’s a way to cheat if you can’t loosen up, but it only works for knitting in the round. Use interchangeable needles of any type, and put a smaller size tip on the left needle. I do this when I’m making something in the round.

The right hand needle decides how large the stitch will be in circular knitting, so you can put a smaller size on the left so the sts will slide more easily, without affecting your gauge.

For back and forth you’re probably stuck trying to knit looser… it’s difficult but I have improved over time. Wool tends to be more forgiving of this habit than cotton or acrylic.

When teaching new knitters…something I found helps the “too tight” issue is THE CAST ON tension. If you cast on tight, I can guarantee the knitting will be tight.

Anyhoo, try what others have recommended…cast on loose…and see if the rows themselves are looser, too.

My newbie knitters have found that tip to work like a charm.

When you cast on…your needle should be able to freely move back and forth inside the stitches.

I am a tight knitter. I find that casting on with two needles helps a lot. I also switched to continental style knitting - holding the yarn in my left hand instead of english style - throwing with the right. I find it much easier to knit more loosely knitting continental style. HTH