When I began knitting several months ago, I had exactly the same problem. These are some hints that I was told/figured out on my own:
*If your cast on row is too tight, try using a needle 1-2 sizes bigger than what you will knit the rest of the fabric in. Then once your cast on row is done, you can start the first row of knitting with the needle size you intended to use anyway.
*When it comes to stitches being too tight in the general fabric, I learned to relax my hold on the working yarn quite a bit. This may lend inconsistency to your stitches at first, but it will certainly help you train your tension. As you practice, your tension will become more and more consistent, and you will intuitively learn what tension is right for you.
-Also when I was learning the basics, I would always try and tighten each stitch before moving onto the next. This made my knitting very tight and messy. My best advice would be to simply relax and let the yarn do what it wants to do between each stitch. The making of the next stitch tends to tighten the one before it as much as it needs to be.
*When doing garter stitch, I learned from the small project demo video on the video section here @ KH, that it is best to slip the first stitch of every row, and this will significantly tidy up your edges. An alternative is to work the first stitch extra tight, but this is less convenient.
- Another important factor is using the right needle for the right gauge and fiber type of the yarn you are using.
-if your stitches tend to fall of the needle a lot, use a needle with more friction, like the plastic type(slightly more friction than metal) or wooden type(much more friction than metalic needles)
-if you are still having problems with your stitches being too tight after making these considerations I recommend using metallic needles, because at the very least the tight stitches will be able to move a little easier.
Whatever you do, don’t get too frustrated with it. I did, and that was a huge mistake. I would go back and forth between giving up and diving in. It made it hard to remember little tricks, and bits of wisdom I’d picked up. I’d recommend a garter stitch scarf as your first project. It’s VERY simple, (only knit stitches) and long enough to give you plenty of practice, and PLENTY of room for error. Make it out of cheap yarn that you don’t care about, (red heart brand is wonderful to learn on) and don’t be tempted to unravel each time you make a mistake. As you go along you will be able to see your improvement very easily with a scarf.
Last bits of advice:
-consult the videos, and instructional aids here at KH frequently. I would still be screaming at the yarn, and unraveling every 5 minutes if I had not. And never be afraid to ask questions here. People here love to help.
-KEEP TRYING, you WILL get it.