Garter Stitch stretched

Hi, I’m basically new at knitting. I’m trying to knit continental style (I tried throwing, but continental is faster… also, because it’s similar to the way I hold the yarn when I crochet), and do a simple garter stitch scarf, slipping the first stitch purlwise (with yarn on front).
The problem is, my garter stitch is looking like this:
(there was a link here, but I wasn’t able to post it, so I’ll try to describe it: instead of 2 rows of alternating paralel vertical lines one after another, I get those 2 rows but with stretched stitches in between, it becomes somewhat ribbed vertically)

The slipped stitches (and the stitches in the beginning and end of the rows) are very loose, they’re so loose the fabric is puffing out to the sides… and the garter stitch is all stretched, like in that picture. Is anybody able to pinpoint the problem?

Also, the stitches got a lot better when I switched from a plastic needle to a steel one (but the yarn and the needle size are the same)… does that even make sense? i’m doing the same way I did with the other needle (there are still some parts with the stretched out stitches, though… the slipped stitches are a lot better)

When you pick up a stitch to knit, stretching it to the side to get the yarn makes any difference? Because I tried stretching it a lot and not stretching, and it doesn’t seem to be related to the problem.

If anybody can help me, I would really appreciate… I’m seriously considering giving up knitting (I’ve redone it a lot of times before deciding to ask for help, this is going on for like 4 or 5 months now)

Sorry for the long post,
Thanks :knitting:

No, no, no! Don’t give up! Well, you can, but do give it a chance.

I expect you just need more practice. I too crocheted first and learned to knit Continental. I can manage a knit stitch English style but the purls still elude me.

I expect the main problem is you simply need more practice knitting and some things will work themselves out seemingly on their own, at least that’s the case for me. I had the same problem with loose stitches at the ends of rows. I knit the first stitch in the row tight on purpose, snug the yarn a little on the second stitch and then maybe on the third. It depends on the yarn and needles, and yes, I find that different needles do produce different results.

Hang in there, practice some more, and I’m sure there will be some really useful tips for you here. It sounds like you’re well on your way to successful knitting.

Agreed. It may be a problem of tension which will improve with practice. Take a look at the videos here and on the Internet for Continental knitting and see how different people wrap the yarn in order to maintain tension. Try different ways until you get comfortable with one of them.
For the slipped st, you might also try knitting the first st of the row and slipping the last st and see if that helps. Although I like the slipped st edge for garter st especially. you don’t have to use it. You can just begin knitting with the first st in each row and continue through the last stitch. Well, good luck with the knitting. I’m sure this problem is similar to ones we’ve all had getting started.

I’m still unable to understand the mechanism which makes the stitches stretched (or not). I thought I nailed it, made two swatches that were the way I wanted (still far from perfect, but still, I was satisfied), and then I got inspired and made a ipod case :cool: (which incidentally didn’t use garter stitch, it’s a panel with reverse stockinette with some cable on it). I started then to train myself on the knit stitch. All of this with a test yarn I have (I already made a lot of crochet things with it).
I was nailing this garter thing (although the slipped stitches on the sides were still a little loose), when the stitches started to be stretched again. I’m using the same tension, doing exactly the same way… I don’t understand what am I doing wrong, I tried all possible tensions/positions… this is really bothering me, I really thought I got it and then… :frowning:
Anyway, thanks for the tips, I’ll be here, still trying to understand what’s wrong


Some pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about

This is the first swatch (horrible, I know, but the problem I was having got better so I was really happy):
This is how the garter stitch started to stretch again, I don’t understand why this is happening:
and this is the ipod case, it’s just a bonus (I don’t know how to sew so I’m pretty sure I sewed it wrong):

(yes, this yarn is beaten up: it’s my test yarn. Also, I used a very old camera, so the pictures are very bad, I know. Bear in mind that I just started knitting, I know the stitches are very bad, what I said is that I was ‘satisfied’ with the way they were looking in the swatches)

If anyone can explain to me in detail how this stretching on the garter stitch forms, I would really appreciate. I trying changing everything.

Thanks again :wink:

For an item like a case or pouch where you’re going to put something in it, you need a denser knit, so use smaller needles. If it’s acrylic, the sts can stretch if washed, so again, you need a denser knit. Try another on different needles and see if that’s better.

I just put the case there for fun, it’s not a real project… I just got excited because I tought I discovered what was wrong with my knit stitches and did that. Just ignore the case, the thing that I wanted help with is the garter stitch that is stretching between the ridges.
Thanks for the tip anyway, I’ll remember that :wink:

The problem with the garter st does look like a problem with tension. It’s very difficult to think about tension for every stitch. Things go well and you relax and that may be when the tension loosens up. Getting the tension even will come with practice more than with conscious effort. You’re doing really very well.
On the cable iPod pouch, it looks like the yarn is stretching out between the cable knit sts and the purl sts between cables. Welcome to a common problem in knitting cables. Here’s a tip from the expert on avoiding these loose sts.

Okay, but it may still be loose tension, and garter is a stretchy stitch to begin with. If you make a garter stitch scarf, it’s going to stretch lengthwise. Cables are somewhat like ribbing in that they stretch widthwise. I usually knit everything to a loose gauge and use the stretchiness instead of decs for shaping, and seldom knit anything all in garter, so it doesn’t bother me. Experiment with smaller needles and just practice practice practice and see if that helps.