Holding the yarn...tension?

Hey all :]

So, i just started doing this whole knitting business a few days ago, and im loving it! Ive gotten the knit stitch, and the purl stitch down and have been practicing those by alternating ever other row along with some other techniques here and there.

However, i do have one question at the moment.

I’m not really understanding the need to hold the yarn a certain way, like how some people wrap it around their pinky twice and then around their index finger or whatever.

I tried holding it a certain way, but i just feel like the yarn gets in the way when i try to wrap it…

Am i liike, holding it wrong? or does it just take getting used too?

I know it helps with tension, but again…i dont really understand the concept of that! lol.

So at the moment im kind of just letting the yarn droop i guess you can say and grabbing it when i need to wrap it around the needle.

Thanks everyone!! :smiley:

I think after you get used to it it’s faster to hold it, plus you might have a more even tension. I know people that don’t though and they do fine.

Since you just started I suggest you try to get used to wrapping the yarn on your hand. It’ll make it easier when you get read to learn fair isle, too.

There’s tons of different ways to hold the yarn and wrap it, look at the videos on Youtube for some idea. Later on you may want to be more productive on your sts and holding it will help with that.

You’d like to have an even tension because knitted projects look better if all the sts are about the same size. That way, the rows turn out close to the same width and height.
Also, when you start knitting garments, you’ll want to make them a particular size. To do that you’ll need to be able to knit at given number of stitches per inch (gauge) and even tension makes that easier.
There are lots of ways of holding yarn. Look at videos on this site and others and try different methods until you find one that seems comfortable. Welcome to KH and enjoy knitting!

okay, okay.
thanks everyone :]]

i’ll be sure to do that, and thanks for the quick replies!!

Hello All,

[I]The actual question is at the bottom. The top portion is just my understanding of things to-date. [/I]

Not sure if these posters are still on the site but I’m hoping someone might be free to talk with me about a question I have.

I’m taking a knitting class that is using Deborah G Walker’s “Learn-To-Knit Afghan Book”. Just finished Square 1: Striped Garter Stitch.

I did pretty well for a complete starter I think, but since the book gives no target height and width, I’m not sure how close or far I came to the mark.

I understand, or at least I think I understand, that this first square is pretty much allowing the knitter to work at their own unique gauge. That is, the first block is essential because that’s what will set the tone for the entire afghan.

In my case, I used size US 7 needles, or alternately 4.5mm.
When finished, I could tell it was not square. I measured it and the height was greater than the width. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that and so I stretched it out quite a bit and then left it alone for over 8 hours. My square turned out 8.5" high by 8" wide.

[B]Now my question: [/B]

What part of the knitting process affects the height and what part affects the width. I looked online but can’t find an answer to this to help me understand what I can do to manipulate how I lay a stitch in order to make them uniform in both height and width.

I know this might seem very picky, but I want to understand the full process so I know exactly what I am doing and how each move affects the next.

Important to note: This square uses two colors. They are both Cascade 220.

Thanks in advance,

Gauge is always a good topic to discuss. Yarn weight, needle size and the tension you knit with all affect the gauge. Usually with a pattern for squares or sweaters or almost anything else, you can change the needle size in order to get close to or right on the number of sts/inch. If the row gauge, rows/inch, is off you can always compensate by knitting fewer or more rows.
Knit sts won’t be square. Knit sts are usually wider than they are tall.
There’s a nice discussion of gauge here:

I bookmarked the videos on gauge earlier in the evening and will be sure to watch them. I did read a bit on gauge prior and during initially learning though I do not think I read enough though I do find the videos more useful. The words are a bit abstract without seeing it, at least for me.

At any rate, I find it interesting that you note it’s normally the width that is greater. I say that because I am actually left handed, knitting right-handed in the continental style. It’s the only way I seem to be able to purl properly. I’m also knitting on circulars.

Thanks for taking the time to head me in the right direction. :slight_smile:

This is a completely different way to answer your question but if you are having trouble with holding the yarn or achieving even tension then you might want to try a different style of knitting. When I started knitting my teacher tried to teach me English/western style but I couldn’t hold the yarn right and my tension was all over the place. I decided to try Continental knitting but that didn’t work either, I had all of the same problems. At the time I was using a popular online craft site that offered video classes; one of them taught an alternate style: Portuguese knitting. I took the class and in less than a day I was knitting like a champ. With Portuguese knitting the yarn comes from your work around a knitting pin (or your neck) then around one of the fingers of your right hand and to the ball. You choose the finger of your right hand that gives you the gauge you want. Using the point of leverage that the pin (or your beck) gives you allows you to very easily and precisely control the tension of the yarn. I’m a very new knitter and everyone in my class (most of whom have been knitting for decades) agree that I have the most uniform stitches they have ever seen. My work often looks like machine knitting.
The queen of Portuguese knitting in the US, UK and continental Europe is Andrea Wong. She hosted that class I referenced and she also has a website (https://www.andreawongknits.com/). I have been able to buy knitting pins on Ms. Wongs’ site and via Amazon.
I hope this post helps at least one other person solve their problems with either/both tension and/or handling yarn. B

Everyone finds their style and it comes with experience! I wrap around my pinkie twice and over my index. It looks a bit awkward but its very comfortable and just works! I suggest try out different styles of holding on YouTube and Pinterest and go with what feels right. Its all about consistency too so try not to experiment on a project you want to keep.