Knitting tension ; knitting too tight


So , having put down one project to reconsider yarn choice, I decided to practice moss/ seed stitch as the large shawl that is waiting has a boarder of it.
So I am knitting away in moss with larger needles than I have used in awhile.
With doubled up ( two strands from two balls same yarn ) worsted weight.
And I have remembered one of my struggles with knitting has always been that my tension is very tight.
When my daughter was little if I knit a row of her project she be annoyed by how hard it was the insert the needle into the stitches of “my “ row .
Does anyone have an idea about how to train oneself to loosen up.
Sometimes my knitting is so tight that my fingers bruse.
I just naturally do this.
I briefly tried continental knitting the other day but I kept having stitches slip off the left needle , but does anyone think that might help.


Switching to continental is a good idea and the fact that your stitches are too loose is a beginning. You might also try tensioning the yarn differently. Weave it over one finger instead of around a finger, for example.

Check too that you’re not adding a tightening step onto the end of the knit stitch. That can become unconscious and really tighten sts.

If none of this helps, one way around the problem is interchangeable needles. You can use the size needle that gets you the correct gauge on the right and a smaller size needle on the left.


For continental, I weave it over pointer finger, under middle finger, over ring finger, and then under and around the pinkie with the ball end on the inside of the pinkie (may have to take it off the pinkie and turn it). I also used one of those ring yarn holders that’s intended for multiple colors but i got out of the habit of using it. This helps me knit more evenly. I knit tighter too but not quite as tightly as you describe!


I am not sure that they were coming off because they were loose but more like popping off the tip before I got the new stitches made,
I was just following written instructions so I will watch a video.
I spent the afternoon watching myself and I do think that I pull the yarn when I am about to throw it. Almost like some advice you too on the second st in order to keep the first st tight and even.
This all became more noticeable with thicker yarn and needles; when using fingering weight and 3mm or less I knit tight but not struggling to push the needles with my finger tips tight


So I frogged what I was working on and started something in cotton in the round and with small needles, infact new one.
Although I don’t get so tight with cotton that I have to push on the needles tips so hard my thumb and finger tips tire blue.
I did brake the tip of the nice new 3.5 mm needles .
I have always used wood .


I’m sorry about the new needles. That hurts in so many ways.

That’s interesting about your experience with cotton. I find cotton more difficult to work with because it doesn’t have the stretch of wool. I can feel the stress in my hands and wrists and I’m a loose knitter.

Here’s a few more suggestions from an experienced teacher:


Is it too late for an alternative suggestion?

Has any one tried a glass of wine before Knitting? I think it could help loosen up a tight knitter.

I know an Old Fashioned helps me when my hands are trying to strangle the life out of my knitting. :wink:


Thanks I will look into both those suggestions, think the lack of spring in cotton keeps me from giving it that extra unconscious tug.


I had the same problem, minus the bruising. Continental gives me a perfect gauge and now it makes Fair Isle a breeze knowing both styles of knitting. So for Continental, try the melon hat on ravelry. It’s a 2x2 ribbed hat in worsted. Don’t worry about messing up it will go slow at first. By the end, you will have gauge and ease and a spare hat for any guy in your life.


I taught a group of 6th grade student to knit the continental method, had both extremes and everything in between. The first few weeks they focused on just learning to hold needles and tension. It took a bit of time but with practice they all eventually got there. The ones who practiced a little piece every night got it sooner. The old saying, practice makes perfect! Along with a glass of pinot grigio!
Love being able to both methods especially with the Fair Isle. Patience and practice was well worth the time and effort!


I would suggest just get a ball of scrap yarn and keep practicing. Unravel it all and keep doing it over and over until you’re satisfied. I did this a lot when practicing decreasing and sock heels. My daughter tells me my knitting is very loose, so I will be practicing again. Some of it may be the yarn you’re using, I get a better tension with wool rather than acrylics. You will get different tensions with acrylics from brand name to brand name. Also, experiment with different brands and types of needles. Slick ones would be something like Knitpicks Harmony Wood or Addi Lace or Addi Turbo. My personal favorites lately are Knitters Pride Karbonz and KP Zing. They have a nickel tip that’s great for fast knitting and K2tog. But they hold the stitches on quite well so they don’t slip off. Those needles are pricey. Don’t be afraid to try cheap needles. I bought Boye double pointed needles brushed aluminum about $4 a set. I use circulars and am starting to try DP knitting again. I wanted to see if I liked DP knitting but didn’t want to spend a lot. I was surprised at how much I liked them. My new Zings have nickel tips and brushed aluminum bodies. Experiment and see if that makes a difference.

The blue is Zings. This is brushed aluminum. The black is Karbonz. Material is similar to fishing rods.


So I never got very far with con. I tried with worsted weight and larger needles and just frogging it but it is just as tight and I keep wrapping more yarn around my hand to get it out of the way and my hand still hurt , but I did enough that my muscle memory was gimpy for North America. I am severely right handed I think. I ended up going back to throwing with whole hand instead of my finger :woman_facepalming:t2:And am even slower. Although it hurts less.
Try to crochet right now ( posted a bloody monologue about that in beginners crochet thread). And maybe it will help with yarn holding, I wanted to make baskets.
Sometimes I think perhaps I just wasn’t wired for hand work.
I would love to make ( excuse the ancient term)faggiting for edging pillowcase and sweaters that I really love not just simple children pullovers.