Different tension knitting sleeves ?

Hi everyone I’m fairly new to knitting garments, have previously knitted toys. I’m knitting a cardigan and am using the same size needles 8mm to knit sleeves in the round, but the tension(?) looks different as stitches just look smaller and tighter. I’ve had to change needles as was using huge circular needle 120 cm length 8mm

and this obviously wouldn’t work with sleeve. I bought the bamboo needles from the same place online. Can anyone tell me please what’s happened?

Welcome to the forum!
You were knitting the body of the sweater in the round as well as the sleeves?
Sometimes there’s a difference in tension between knitting back and forth vs knitting in the round. If both were knit in the round, that won’t be a factor.
Are you using magic loop on one and not the other?

1 Like

Hi, thank you very much for getting back to me. Yes, I was knitting the body in the round as well as sleeves. What is a magic loop ? :slight_smile:

Magic loop is a way of using a large circular needle to knit a small circumference.

It may be something about the smaller circumference needle that is making you grip the needles more tightly. If the needles are different composition (e.g. metal vs bamboo) you might be knitting more tightly. It might also be a change from reverse stockinette to garter stitch?

1 Like

Hi thank you :blush: I’m not using magic loop method, using shorter length circular needles. I’m wondering now if I have got the pattern wrong as it says knit backwards and forwards and I’m knitting in the round.

Plus the reverse side of the sleeve is looking like garter (?) stitch whereas the body of the sweater also knitted in the round is the same as front. I really appreciate the help thank you as don’t have any knitting friends !

Yes, the sleeves are knit back and forth rather than on circular needles. You can do that (and save having to seam at the end, Yay!) but you have to adapt the stitch pattern.

If the body of the cardigan is knit in garter (knit all rows), when you knit in the round you need to knit one round, purl the next round. Keep alternating knit and purl rounds.
If the body of the cardigan is knit in stockinette (knit one row, purl one row), when you knit in the round all the rounds are knit.

What is the name of your pattern?

Hi oh ok thank you , it confused me as it says using circular needles at start of the instruction for the sleeves. So do I need to knit backwards and forwards using circular needles ? The pattern is

I find knitting instructions quite confusing , I don’t mind sewing seams as I used to make my own clothing( which is easy compared to knitting for me !)

I think there’s a confusion here as you’re making a cardigan which is not going to be knitted “in the riund”. You were more likely using long circular needles but turning at the end of the row and knitting back and forth. The circular needle in this case is like using the straight needles but can give you more length and as it’s flexible it allows a heavier item to rest on you while you work.
The cardigan is in garter stitch which is a made by jnitting a row, turning the work, knitting the next row and repeating this. It makes way stitches and looks the same on the right side and wrong side.

As you joined the sleeve and worked in the round knitting every row produces knit stitches on one side (looks like v, it’s what is in the inside on your photo) and purl stitches (bumps) on the other side. This is what you have in your circular needle of the sleeve.

So, you could rip it out and start the sleeve again?
Usually I make both sleeves at once on the same needle (2 balls of yarn) so that I keep all the shaping rows in the same place.
If younstart the sleeves again and work flat, back and forth, knitting every row, it will produce garter stitch which I the wavy stitch that is in the pattern photo.

Do ask if you need more help.

1 Like

According to the instructions you should knit back and forth. It’s garter stitch so knit every row back and forth. If the pattern wanted you to knit in the round it would say something like, “Join to knit in the round” or at least it should.

You could knit the sleeve in the round but in that case you would alternate knitting a round with purling a round.

These patterns aren’t easy to understand to begin with. It is like learning a new language but it gets easier the more patterns you work through. We’re all here to help.
You’re good to look at your knitting and recognize the difference in stitch pattern.

Thanks for the link to the pattern page.

ETA This was a reply that I tried to post before the forum went down. Thanks Creations for bringing the original post back to the top!


A fine example of those who know stuff taking for granted that everyone knows; I’ve never used anything but circular needles for everything, but I can see that if you are new to these totally wonderful needles you might think they were for circular knitting (in the round) only. When I first acquired a computer a million years ago I didn’t understand what a ‘file’ was, in this context. The manual didn’t once explain. The mark, as many have said on this invaluable forum, of a really good teacher is that they know how to do something but also remember what it was like NOT to know how to do it. If you are writing instructions (teaching) someone who DOES know, never mind, just let them skip that bit. But I truly believe that you need to write any instruction for people who do NOT know, that you should never assume that they do. It doesn’t have to be long winded, just a section somewhere that says “circular does not mean you have to knit in the round”. Anyway, shouldn’t the instructions talk about ‘rounds’ not ‘rows’ if it’s in the round? And explain THAT, too, for those who might be new to the whole concept of using circular needles for anything, or who might not immediately recognise the difference between a ‘round’ and a ‘row’?


Hi thank you, you’re right the cardigan body was not knitted in the round, honestly I should know this as I’ve knitted hats before!
I’ve undone the sleeve and am starting again

1 Like

Hi, thank you that’s a really good point about instructions. Many many years ago when writing instructions for work I was told to write them as if the person that’s following them had no prior knowledge whatsoever. I’ve been knitting a while now but only toys and hats this is the first time I’ve attempted a large garment. I’m sure it will get easier but there is so much to learn!

1 Like

For what it’s worth I’ve only knitted sweaters and tops, never toys or hat and the thought of trying to make a hat is SO daunting to me!!! Luckily my boy has plenty of shop bought hats and I don’t wear hats so I’m off the hook on that one… …but I really think its just a matter of what you are used to and items outside of this category seem much more difficult.

Hope the sleeves go well now you know what you’re doing with them.

Hi I really appreciate the help thank you. I’ve undone the sleeve, but I think I’ve messed up as I have too many stitches on the stitch holder( supposed to be 41and I have 42) plus I cannot remember how I cast on the extra 6 stitches for under the arm. I have this very loose stitching under the arm and I’m not sure what has happened! Hoping the photo may shed some light on it if you could advise me please ?image|900x1200 image|900x1200

Oops not sure how to upload more than one photo , this is the instructions for sleeve

Do you have a yarn end that you can snug up to tighten these sts? If not you could pull on a stitch from the wrong side to tighten the sts, then tack that extra yarn down with yarn or sewing thread to the underarm. Sometimes the pattern calls for a cast on of stitches at the sleeve with a new tail of yarn and you could use that yarn tail to stitch down the extra loop from the loose sts.
Are there 6 cast on sts and are all 6 loose?