First Row of garter stitch always messy!

I was hoping I could get some advise on why my first row of garter stitch always comes out messy and with a large gap between the stitches. Im new and would love all the help i can get!

Offhand I’d say it might be your cast on. Which one are you using? It sounds from your description that it might be backward loop which is an awful cast on for more than a few stitches. Try either long tail (my preference) or the knitted cast on. Both are in the video section linked at the top of the page.

One other thought is if you are a new knitter to keep practicing. It takes awhile before you get even tension.

I’ve been using the long tail cast on.

It’ll even out once you use the piece. As you get more used to casting on, it’ll be even from the start, but it really doesn’t look that bad.

If you need a fancy edge and can crochet, “cast on” with a row of foundation single crochet and pick up the loops that stick out.

Are you using a larger needle for your cast on than for the knitting? It’s commonly recommended but I find it makes the first row messy.

No I’ve been using the same size needle throughout my project.

I just experimented and mine looked the same way for the first few rows. As I continued to knit it blended in mostly. I think the situation is partly because you’re new so your tension isn’t as even as it will be with practice and partly that you aren’t giving it enough time to even out.

My suggestion is to continue with a practice piece and watch how your knitting improves and evens out over time. Once you’ve got some practice under your belt then start a project.

Thank you!