How tight to cast on and knit?

I just unraveled another swatch of knitting–I am a basic beginner, and I’m working on holding the yarn and getting just the basic knit and purl down. My question is, how tightly do you cast on? And then how easy is it to work in the stitches? I can’t get much more than just the tip of the needle through a stitch. Is that right? Yikes! (I looked through previous questions, and didn’t see this answered anywhere.)

For me the first row is always a little tight to get the needle in, but after that it is fine. How tight I cast on depends on what yarn I am using. I am making a wallet out of cotton right now, and cast on REALLY tight (and am knitting really tight too…kills my hands). I’ve been knitting for about 2 months or so, and my tension is still a bit wacky. :?

Thanks for the information–I’m glad I’m not alone. WOW! Two months and you’re making a wallet? That sounds terrific! (My hope is to work up to some beginner mittens–I’m a kindergarten teacher, and the book The Mitten is a winter favorite. In the story, a boy’s grandmother knits him some white mittens; he loses one and different animals stuff themselves inside it. The children want to know how yarn can stretch so much!)

Well, it is actually a “technicolor cozy” out of stitch n bitch. It is just a rectangle with a couple BO’s, and then sew it up. Insanely easy…you’d think. I’ve ripped it out a million times since the cotton really shows differences in tension…so now I am just pulling it as tight as humanly possible and it is working. :lol: I’m going to stick all my wallet stuff in there…since I don’t carry much around.

Do you know the author of that book? I have a 4yo and 2yo who love stories (especially about animals!)

A trick I’ve heard of is to cast-on over two needles held together, and then pull one out, and knit off of the now-loose stitches on the other needle. How big a needle you use as a second needle will obviously affect how loose your cast-on edge looks, so you don’t want to use a huge one; a small one works well.

Also, it’s harder to do this when you’re beginning, but for tight stitches, you can slide the stitch up near the tip of the left needle when working it. It’s nice and loose up there (and, of course, prone to falling off while you’re working it, which is why it’s harder for beginners). But you might try it.

I love that book, The Mitten! I used to read it for Isabelle, a toddler I baby-sat for for two years. We loved that book! :slight_smile: