Need some tips for stitch uniformity

Hello all, I’m new to knitting, in fact just started Friday past.

I’m trying to make myself a scarf to keep myself warm when I’m out enjoying my favorite hobby of flying my model aircraft. I’m using #4 needles and a simple garter stitch for the project. I’m planning on blocking it when done. I’ve restarted the project several times since Friday and am getting a bit miffed.

Last night I decided it was too wide and decided to start over, which was a good idea. I took what I had learned the other 4 times I started over and doing my cast on row it came out the best yet. The second row was a bit of a nuisance. I am having trouble with my stitches not being uniform. I will get to a point where some of the stitches are tight and too close together and at other points they feel a bit loser and are much easier to work with.

Does anyone have any tips on keeping stitches uniform in size?

So far I have enjoyed learning, and am finding it somewhat relaxing when not frustrated by missing a stitch or losing one.

Forgot to mention I’m using a worsted weight yarn. In case you need to know that.

Just keep practicing. Size 4s (or 4mm) are pretty small unless you’re using a very thin yarn and will make a very dense and tight knit with the worsted. If you can try using a size 9 or 10 needle and it may be easier to make the sts more even and not miss a stitch as the stitches will be larger and easier to see. I think that will help quite a lot.

A lot of the non-uniformity will come out in blocking. If you’re using an acrylic yarn, once you’ve tossed it in the laundry and washed it once you’ll be amazed at how much more uniform it looks. If it’s wool or something else that has to be hand washed, it’s a little trickier.

Fiber content might also have an impact on the issue you’re talking about if you’ve pulled it out multiple times and restarted it. Usually it’s not an issue, but if you’re using something that’s not terribly tightly spun, it can start to fluff up and come untwisted if you pull it out and re-use it (as I’m currently finding out is the case with Cascade Eco Duo).

And I’d second what suzeeq said… for a worsted yarn, a US 4 sounds a little small. Then again, “worsted” is a completely subjective term that covers a lot of territory. But if you’ve got some larger needles, you might try them and see what happens.

Finally, if you have the choice between tightening up and loosening up, go for looser. You’re [I]going[/I] to see daylight between the stitches – especially with garter stitch – so don’t fight it. It’s supposed to be that way. And don’t forget to breathe. Very important. No, seriously, I mean it. If [I]you’re[/I] tense, your knitting will be too. I know it’s tough to relax when you’re still at the stage where you’re doing this internal Snoopy dance every time a stitch actually works, but that’s one of the things that’s making things so tight. As a very wise knitter once told me, “it’s knitting, not rocket science.”

Are you using metal needles?

I started out on metal needles, and, like you, was very frustrated with how uneven my stitches were. Then, I tried bamboo needles. Although they’re a bit more expensive, the end result was well worth the cost–they helped even out my tension and made my stitches very uniform.

So if you opt to buy some bigger needles, I would recommend looking for bamboo ones. The Clover brand is nice, and Hobby Lobby, Jo-ann’s and Micheal’s almost always have sizes 7-9 in this brand. If you can’t find them in straight needles, try circulars, which are multi-functional in that you can use them to knit a circle or for flat knitting (which is what you’re doing).

Even tension becomes better with practice. All new knitters have to go through this so you’re not alone.

Are your needles a US 4? What weight yarn are you using? If your needles are too small for the yarn weight getting even tension will be harder.

She said she’s using worsted weight, which I think is much too thick to work on size 4s.

I have just been using Sz 4 needles with worsted weight yarn…on purpose, I wanted it very tight, very dense…and must say that a new knitter needs larger needles. At least US 8 probably 9 or 10. Your poor hands, trying to knit those stitches.

For the “typical” worsted weight (whatever [I]that[/I] is!) I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than a US 6 – and usually at least a US 8. But “worsted” covers a broad range of weights, some of which might be manageable on US 4s.

But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

I agree that US 4 is too small for worsted weight except under special circumstances. I’m a loose knitter so I usually use a 6-7, but the suggested needle size is usually 8-9.

I started with bamboo, but now knit with nickel plated/metal. Unless you’re having issues with the stitches slipping you may not need to try bamboo, but do get bigger needles either way.

Firstly thank you all for your input it is very welcome. I do believe the needles are 4 US, will have to make sure when I get home. The yarn is acrylic, and yes they are metal (aluminum I think) needles.

This is the stitch size I’d like to have.

Not sure if that is doable with my current skill level or not, either way I’ve nothing but time so I don’t mind keeping at it.

@suzeeq, I am a male LMAO.

It’s the 21st century men knit and sew now as well.

I recommended bamboo needles not because they keep my stitches from slipping (although they can do that, too) but because they have helped me create uniform stitches.

And here’s additional proof from ArtLady on another thread:

“My students (Friday night Knitting 101 class) all did better with Clover Takumi bamboo needles. One of the students had learned to knit a hundred years ago, but her tension and control of her stitches was always her bane, downfall…and led her to give up. (she had learned to knit way back then with 14” metal straight needles, btw)

This time 'round, she was using Clover bamboo needles because that was on my Class Materials list. I specifically recommended wood or bamboo.

Her tension and stitch control was PERFECTION, and I can’t tell you how happy she was!"

So it’s worth a try. Save your receipt, and if you don’t like them or they don’t help, simply return them!

Sorry about that, wasn’t paying attention to your username! lol

Really, if you go up in needle size to at least a 9, a 10 would be better, you’ll still get nice even stitches, especially with a little practice. Smaller needles make tight stitches, not necessarily even ones, and it’s hard on your hands to knit at that gauge. Besides the neat even stitches you see in pictures are after the item has been washed and dried, often several times. While most of us develop a consistent tension after a while, we still get wonky sts as we knit - the secret to the items looking good comes with washing or blocking it when you’re done.

I agree that bamboo needles work pretty well, I like all my Clovers, and I would suggest you get circulars, even though with clovers you need to dip the cord only in hot water to uncurl them. But you can knit flat things on circs and after you get more experience will come in handy for knitting in the round.

I think your username gives a hint that you’re male. That’s OK, we don’t hold it against you. :roflhard: Seriously, it’s so cool to see guys knitting, I think it’s good for the soul and spirit of anyone. There are a number of knitters of the masculine persuasion here and they’re just more knitters to me.

The picture you linked to doesn’t indicate a gauge but as you’re wanting to make a scarf, gauge (sts/inch) isn’t crucial as long as you are happy with the width you achieve. The picture is garter stitch, every row is a knit row. If you’re using a larger needle with worsted weight yarn then you should get a comparable look and a softer fabric which I think you would want for a scarf. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have some inconsistencies, practicing knitting and knitting and knitting some more will help with that.

Dr. Who scarves are popular, as you can see [here]( who scarf). Take a few minutes and join ravelry to get access to all the features there including lots and lots of patterns, many of them free. Ravelry is free to join too. When you look at the patterns you’ll see yarn and needle size suggestions, don’t expect your sts/inch to exactly match that given in a pattern. Some people knit more loosely and some knit more tightly. New knitters usually knit [I]tight[/I].

suzeeq, no worries. I will have to try larger needles as I’m sure 1 scarf won’t be the full extent of my foray into knitting.

@GrumpyGramma funny you should post that link that’s exactly what I want to do. I’m a very big Dr Who nut and have recently been watching the Tom Baker episodes (made the overly long scarf famous) and have fallen in love with the scarf. It’s so whimsical that it screams me. I did take time to join and will use whatever information I can glean from the site.

When I get home I’ll try to remember to post details of the yarns I’ve picked with their weights and compositions. It’s tough for me to be on a computer when I get home though, I work in IT and am on one 10 hours a day at work.

I’ve wondered if people who work with computers have one up on the rest of us when it comes to reading and following knitting patterns, after all you’re used to things that must be specific down to minute details. But maybe you don’t work with code. I’ve thought my SIL would be really good at knitting if he wanted to but then…now that I think of it…some patterns are written so they’d make his blood boil. Maybe he shouldn’t be knitting. LOL However, I should probably say that he is almost certainly undiagnosed Asperger’s. I can picture him now rewriting all the patterns…nope he better stick with his 'puters. :wink:

Looks do-able but you may have to put up with uneven tension for awhile. As others have said, with practice, it just goes away. If you want a perfect scarf, it might be best to use a ball of practice yarn until the stitches even out. it’s also a good way to test out needle size in order to see which size gives you the knit fabric you like.
And oh yes, he or she. We use the general “she” or “he” refering to knitters more as a convenience. Lots of both here so you’ve plenty of company. Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.

@Antares- oh I see what you mean now. I have even tension on either needle type now and just know it was hard for me at first even with bamboo. It’s worth it to try both for sure because like continental vs English they both come in handy later.

We do have quite a few male knitters here. The Usernames don’t always give it away though.

I picked up on the male-ness in your first post - my son’s wife is a knitter, so he decided he could do this but naturally (being male<g>) had to start off with a “challenge” - so did a neckwarmer using 4 double-pointed needles (dpn’s). Aside from the predictable problems with that for a brand-new knitter - HIS hobby is fishing and he’s been fly-tying for years - you can imagine the grip he put on the yarn, lol, his neckwarmer is more like chain armour from the Middle Ages. Get some bigger needles, and have fun - I see people flying those planes down near the beach, it looks like a wonderful hobby!

@suzeeq, I am a male LMAO.

It’s the 21st century men knit and sew now as well.[/QUOTE]

I do work quite a bit with code, started back in the 80’s with a Commodore 64 and writing basic code in that to make the little balloon fly across the screen. Then in the 90’s I started recoding games, it snowballed from there, and I discovered I had an aptitude for it, at the time I was working as a mechanic. FF and for the last 12 years I’ve been working at a finance company on computers. Never been to school for computers, I’ve just read tons of documents on computers. As for Aspergers I know several people with it to varying degrees and all are pretty much brilliant. In fact the bittorrent protocol responsible for most of the piracy uproar of the last 10 years was thought up and written by someone with Aspergers. To date it’s the definitive way to transfer large files over the internet. It was brilliant and elegant in it’s simplicity.

I do find that I like to tinker, I don’t spend much time watching tv, I’d rather be learning a language or building something or learning something new, hence the wanting to learn knitting.

I am using metal needles, number 4’s 3.5mm, the yarn I’m using is Red Heart it’s a medium number 4 yarn, suggested needle is number 5, stitch count per inch is just over 4 stitches and it is 100% acrylic.

IslandTime, I’ve spent a fair amount of time fishing, even done some fly fishing but never tied my own flys. Fly fishing is very fun. My father used to say “God never takes the time a man spends fishing away from him”.

The knitting is my latest foray, into various hobbies and activities to keep me busy and out of trouble. I also do it because my daughter does and the two of us are fairly competitive with each other.

The needle size on that yarn is 5mm, or a US 8. Knitting gets you acquainted with the metric system pretty quick! And it’s easy to misread one for another…