New - how am I knitting INTO my yarn?

Hi - I’m a new knitter. I’m learning from books, a DVD, online tutorials and lurking in oh-so-helpful forums like this one.

First off, I have had some problems with my stitches being waaay too tight. I thought maybe that was the reason for my problem. I tried american/throw style first, then switched to continental because it seems so much more efficient, but I just couldn’t get the tension right. Now I’m back to throw-style and I’ve finally managed to stitch rows loose enough that I’m not struggling to knit into them.

BUT I still find, on a regular basis, that I have somehow knit a stitch into the middle of my strand of yarn?! I’m using some Lion wool ease that I got cheap to practice on. Could it be my yarn? Could it be my needles (6mm plastic circs)? Or is it something I’m doing wrong technique-wise? All of the above?

Sorry for writing such a long first post. Can anyone offer any suggestions for me?

I don’t think it’s your yarn. Wool-Ease is a decent yarn for practising and for whatever! I’d say you just need to really concentrate that you are inserting your needle properly everytime to make sure you aren’t splitting your yarn. Are you certain that your tension is loose enough? Are you struggling to get insert the needle or is it manageable?

If you’re splitting your yarn, you’re probably still knitting too tightly, or maybe your plastic needles aren’t slippery enough. I know with metal needles, if I inadvertently split the yarn, I can feel that I’m not knitting metal-to-metal. You might want to give different needles a try.

Maybe my stitches are still too tight. I thought if I was able to put the needle in easily, that would be loose enough, but maybe I have a twisted concept of “easily”. Heh. I read the knitty article on loosening up and that did help some, but if I don’t tighten the yarn a little at the end of the stitch, then it’s falling off the needle when I go to make the next stitch!

Maybe I need to take a class somewhere instead of trying to teach myself. I understand the basic stitch, but I feel like I am missing some key thing that will make it feel right and easy instead of frustrating and wrong. I know this cannot be as hard as I seem to be making it for myself.

I have frogged the same piece about 10x, cut off that bit of the yarn because it was starting to look so abused, then started the knit/frog cycle again!

You really shouldn’t tighten up the stitches as you go–only the first stitch of the row, maybe. If I let go with my right hand (I knit English), the needle will fall out if there are only a few stitches on it. They don’t have to be tight enough to hold the needle in place. That’s your hand’s job.

The needle should slip in and there should be enough play in the stitch so you don’t have to make a conscious effort to push it in except to aim the needle in the right direction. I always feel its as if the yarn and the needles determine my stitch tightness, not me.

Well, I guess you guys were right. As I make more and more effort to loosen up those stitches, I find my needle winding up in the middle of the yarn less and less. It does seem that the needles are still catching every once in a while and even though I can’t feel any rough spot on the needle, they are plastic…I’m going to invest in some metal ones and see if that doesn’t take care of the rest of it.

I do have another question, more theoretical than anything - maybe I should put it in a new thread? Let me know what the correct thing is.

I don’t understand this concept - the regular knit stitch is knit on the right side, but purl on the wrong side, because one is just the reverse of the other, right? So if you knit a row and then turn your work and knit another row, doesn’t that give you (on the RS) a row of knit and a row of purl? And if you knit a row, turn your work and purl a row, doesn’t that actually give you two rows of knit? Instead of turning the piece over and over again, why not just knit on the same side the whole time?
I’m sure there’s a very good reason why people don’t do this, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.

Because the working yarn is at the wrong end. When you knit to the end of the row, if you want stockinette you have to purl back. Unless you want to cut your yarn and start at the other end. :wink:

There are some people who know how to knit backwards…they can knit back and forth without turning their work, but they’re definitely in the minority! :smiley:

The best way to knit every row is to knit in the round!

I probably should’ve figured that one out on my own!! Oh well.
In theory, then, if a person used DPNs they could knit back and forth across the rows and never turn the work over? Interesting…I’d guess it’s probably much harder than it sounds!

Don’t get discouraged! After several years of heavy knitting, I occasionally have to stop myself and look at my right needle after I have inserted it into the stitch on the left, just to make sure that didn’t split the yarn. If I can see that the right needle is clear, then I keep going with the stitch. You also have to realize that some yarns are just more “splitty” than others.

Actually on dpns or circular needles you never turn your work at all. You just knit around and around to get stockinette.