HELP - Total Newbie having trouble with tension

Hi All! I’m a newbie at this knitting thing and although I do several other crafts, for some reason I can not get the hang of knitting and it’s driving me crazy! I had a crying, whoe is me jag last night and my DH just kept telling me, “No you aren’t stupid, you’ll get it”, will I? :??

Now for my problem - the whole knit stitch is what’s confusing me. I have a few books, but they don’t tell you much. I’m using #13 needles, which if what a lady I work with suggested, but they seem so big and weird in my hands. I have the casting on pretty well, but I’m not sure how tight to make the stitch. From what I’ve read, I think only as tight as to slide easily on the needle. So then I come to the knit stitch. I think I have an idea of what to do and I finish a row and look at the back side and it looks like I have a whole bunch of “loops”. How tight do I make the new stitch?

I know someone here will have mercy on me and be gentle. I’ve read several posts and know I’m in good hands.

Did you view the videos at the top of the forum? There are some basic ones there that might help you.

Seems to me it might be easier on smaller needles, but some people do like to learn on the large ones.

Tightness…new knitters tend to knit too tightly, but with practice your tension will get better. If they are too tight and you can’t get your needle under them then try again and make them looser.

Knit stitch… the best thing to do is check the video and then come back with your questions about that.

At the end of the row you switch hands. Put the needle with stitches back in your left hand, empty needle in the right. Then you start all over again. Don’t expect the stitches to be even or perfect yet, just practice the technique for awhile. :slight_smile:

Oh and Kudos to your husband for being so kind! :thumbsup:

Yes, I viewed the videos on the website, but it doesn’t really show how tight or loose to make the stitch on the new knit stitch. I think that’s the only problem I’m really having at this point in time. I think I’ve finally mastered casting on ok, It’s just a mess after trying to knit one row. Any suggestions? Am I suppose to be keeping the yarn from the ball tight?



When you turn your work, and you see loops, that’s because they’re supposed to look like that. Only the front of a knit stitch looks flat like a little v. The back of a knit stitch is a purl, and when you turn your work, that’s what you’re looking at.

When you knit every row, you will end up with garter stitch–ridges on every side, because it works out that when the work is facing you, you’re looking at one row of knit front and one row of knit back (aka purl). Keep going. As long as the stitches are staying on your needle, keep knitting.

Let the yarn and needles decide how tight the stitches should be. Don’t pull a stitch tighter after you knit it. Even tension will come.

OK, I’ll try it again. I think I need smalled needles after reading several posts. I’ll pick up some size 10 which seems to be the general starting point for beginners, right? Also, which is better, metal, wood or plastic?

Three people will give you three different answers on that one. Metal is more slippery and I like that. Wood is less slippery and some people like that. I suggest you avoid plastic.

I think bamboo is the best for learning. :smiley:

I also think larger needles are best for learning…perhaps a size 15 bamboo or birch…smaller needles will produce smaller stitches and when learning, it’s much easier to see your mistakes if you have larger stitches…just practiice, practice, practice. and watch the videos over and over…you WILL get it :wink: As for stitch tightness, I suggest you RELAX your hands…it will soon come naturally!

When you get the hang of it, you’ll probably love the slippery needles too…as for me, when I first started knitting a little over a year ago, I wanted nothing except birch needles…now, I knit almost everything on the Denise circulars…just a matter of personal preference…hang in there and try not to get frustrated…this site is the BEST :thumbsup:


[size=1]Plastic is da devil![/size]


Just remember that YOU CAN do this. Don’t give up it is a very enjoyable ([size=2]addicting[/size]) hobby! :thumbsup:

I appreciate all the words of encouragement. I finally just sat down last night and knitted how I thought it was suppose to be done by watching the videos and looking at the books and it looks absolutely horrible. I’ll take a digital when I get home today and post. For some reason, I thought going to smaller needles would help me, so I bought some #10 and several other sizes to have a variety and will try them tonight.

I’m just having a real hard time getting the knit stitch to come out correctly. And the last stitch on the row is SO LOOSE. It seems to be twice as big as the other loops. I know I can do it, I’m not a stupid person, but dang this is frustrating. Although my DH says that I’m more sensative because I’m sick, but I worked on that dumb thing for 4 hours yesterday while home from work sick and it looks awful.

I’ll keep trying, I’m not a quitter that’s for sure. Gonna try my hardest!

It’s completely normal for the first bit of knitting to look all wonky. Keep going and before long you’ll see a difference. It takes practice for you to get the feel of it and with that comes a more even tension. Here is another page with some knitting instruction. I used this one before I found this forum.
Here’s another one.
Also…don’t worry about that loose stitch. It happens to all of us, but as you knit it all works out somehow.

It is quite possible that I am the last person that should be giving knitting advice as I am quite new, too, but I think you may have the same problem I did when starting out.

I originally learned to knit on either a size 8 or 9. That was very comfortable for me. I have heard people say that they think it is easier to learn on bigger needles, but it seems that bigger needles usually have more blunt tips and that makes it harder to get into the loops that I made too tight in the first place.

As for the loops on the backside. I had those, too. Yes, they are a purl stitch on the back, but mine were looping way out and looking very messy. I know I was knitting WAY TOO TIGHT. I could hardly manage a k2tog because I couldn’t get the needle into two stitches. After knitting a row, I would stretch the piece down which would tighten up those stitches on the back side. I also had to kind of stretch out the piece along the length of the needle, too, because the stitches got all wadded up in one section of the needle. After awhile, I loosened up and the stitches looked nicer and more even from one side to the other.

My number one suggestion would be to start a scarf size piece and just knit and knit and knit and knit until your ball of yarn is gone. It is truly amazing how your tension gets better. You should see mine- it is almost funny!

The best advice that was given to me was to not pull out your stitches and to keep going and going and going no matter how cruddy it looks–your first piece isn’t going to be perfect–just work on some swatches or a scarf so that you can see your progression across the scarf. Then keep it as a keepsake of how hard you worked to learn to knit!