Just join here and already have question: uneven tension when knitting in the round

Hi, I’m Illioni, not really new in knitting but still can’t get rid of uneven tension. I’m currently working a cotton sweater. .

The blue part were worked flat. I knit continental and i tend to purl loosely. Like any other site will recommends, i tried knit it with combination. Yes my purl row is less loose, but i still found several loose stitch and normal stitch alternating in that row. I thought, maybe flat knitting just isn’t for me. Then come the grey part where i start knitting in the round. Most knitter will recommends knit in the round to avoid purling, so, no ‘rowing out’ issue caused by purl row. Everyone seem to have better tension when knitting in the round. But me.
I just can’t understand it. Is it me? Is it the needle? Is it the yarn? Or just a matter of time?
How i hold the yarn: I knit continental, i don’t really hold the yarn, i just flanked it between my hand and needle. My hand got sweaty as i knit, so if i wrap it around my wingers, yarns won’t slide thru my fingers. (i have tried 5 different way of holding my yarn, and always comback to this)
Current WIP using cotton yarn worsted weight. I use non-branded needle (steel), it’s really smooth, unfortunately too short for this WIP. Then change to Knitpro basix i just bought. Turns out not works as smooth as previous needle. Having hard time working with this needle.
Does mood affect how i tensioning yarn? Oh please help. People say it will get better as i practice. I do trust them. Practice is key. but i still want to know what cause all of this, and learn how to fix it.
Sorry for long post.


Welcome Illioni!!!

I’m having a difficult time spotting what/where your problem is! I don’t see any uneven stitches at all! Especially in the grey portion, everything looks fantastic!!


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Well, thankyou! If you zoom in the picture, you can easily spot it. I think it is what they called uneven stitches. I can see it clearly in my wip. Does blocking will resolve this problem?

I’ve never blocked myself, but I know from other knitters it can work wonders on neatening finished garments.

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Your knitting looks lovely.
I don’t have much to add or suggest really, only that if I look very carefully I can see a few places where you seem to have a run of several stitches which are a bit bigger than others, are these the parts you are unhappy with?
I am not an experienced knitter but I would think that some of the unevenness can be fixed by spreading out the additional yarn from those larger stitches across the row into those smaller stitches to even out the tension. Have you ever done this before?
I have done it a little to tighten up some stitches.

I also think washing or blocking will make a difference.
I notice yarns work so differently and wash differently, feeling different wet, drying differently etc. Even tough I have not made many projects I am already realising yarn responds differently and some is easier or more forgiving than others.

Have you tried washing a swatch of this yarn?
Maybe knit up a swatch and make a few stitches a little looser so you can see how they respond when washed or blocked?


Hi, C! Thankyou for the respond

I showed my wip to my knitter friend too and they said it looks fine, nothing to worry. I think i was being perfectionist. Is it common knitters issue?

I watch this tutorial somewhere on youtube. Yes. it works, but too much things to do. I guess i’ll let it be untill i finish my wip.

And yes, i did swatch and block it. But i didn’t see the difference. Idk if i did it right :joy:
I never swatch and block before it, but this time i did it because i need the gauge.

Since everyone say my wip looks nice, this come to my mind. Maybe this is just common issue that every knitter has experienced it and shouldn’t be worried about. And is one of a long knitting journey. All this time i feel alone and thought my wip is no good. But all responds help me cope with it. All I need is more time to practice practice practice.

Thankyou everyone for your kindness! :slight_smile:

I recently saw a video tutorial about blocking. I’m afraid I wouldn’t know how to find it again though.
Well, the knitter said in her earlier days she thought she had to get every single stitch perfect and would agonise over it. At that time she never blocked her knitting. Now she blocks and is not worried about every stitch being perfect.
Perhaps like you?

The patterns I have made have all said to pin out to size then cover with damp towels and leave to dry. I admit I have not done this. Instead I have washed the piece. For acrylic jumpers I put them in the washing machine and laid flat to dry.
For my most recent projects I hand washed, leaving them to soak 10 mins and gently squeezing out water, setting them out to dry flat. I think this is called wet blocking. One was cotton linen mix and took me over an hour to pat out to shape! I hope I don’t have to do that every time I wash it. My current is cotton bamboo viscose and the difference in how it feels during knitting and blocking is massive, so much easier.

If you make projects that are wearable, scarves, sweaters etc, then at some point they are blocked because they are washed, even if you don’t intend on “blocking” as such.

Maybe too, it’s okay to have a little imperfection in hand knitting.
Enjoy your project, it really does look lovely and neat.


I agree with the comments above: it is perfect looking. The very small “unevenness” that can be spotted will disappear with the first wash/blocking.
My theory is that this “unevenness” got nothing to do with your knitting style, but more with how you feed the stitches on the left needle. Maybe you are doing as I am doing when working on long circulars: loading a lot into the left hand then releasing them as I knit. This causes very slight unevenness for me compared to when I knit socks with DPNs where I have no unevenness at all. I also knit Continental combined style.


Meant to say I agree your knitting looks beautifully neat. It’s ok if it’s not 100% perfect, though.

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Thanks a lot for sharing your blocking story!!
Reading this makes me realized i never wash/block my FO (all are scarves). Mostly i work without pattern and no one tell me what to do next, so, I’m too afraid to block it.

Thankyou @engblom, your theory is cool. I am planning to use dpns in the future so i can compare the result.
Yes, @Shintoga, i keep forgetting that my hands are not machine. I guess this is time to compromise with imperfection

Well, I’m going to continue knit my WIP, I’ll post the FO later on :blush:


It’s going to look great! :blush:

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Hi I have to agree. Your knitting looks great. I do find that my knitting is more uneven when I knit with cotton. I think it is because cotton yarn is not stretchy like wool. Wool seems to even itself out and ping back into shape. Also, my tension changes with my mood. If I’m stressed out, I knit tighter.

As for blocking sometimes I do, it depends if the project needs it, normally lacy patterns. I haven’t blocked any cotton.

Enjoy your knitting.


It looks right to me too. That’s perfect sure. I’d say keep doing whatever you’re doing :blush:

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Thank you, Lydia, I appreciate you took time to see my wip. Of course i’ll keep doing what i’m doing. After complaining about how my wip looks here and see people opinions, i have the strength to finish the body part and left sleeve. Only one sleeve and one neckline to go to have FO

Hi, Karen, i haven’t work with variety of yarns before this, that’s way i got frustrated about how uneven my wip is. Thankyou for acknowledge me about how yarn behave differently. I’ll keep that in mind so i won’t be too stressed if i work with different yarn and have that “unevenness”


I once complained to a friend about my tension problems. She said, “Are you trying to make your sweater look store-bought?”

Maybe a little unevenness isn’t a bad thing.


Yes, now i have to agree that imperfection is part of the craft