Please Help a TIGHT TIGHT knitter! (Pretty please?)

So…I tend to be a verrrrry tight knitter. To the point where stitches get stuck on my needles or it’s nearly impossibly to get a needle tip into the front of a stitch and my joint knuckles get sore and swell (I’m 24…so not at the sore joint stage of life yet!) and my index fingers have red welts and peeling off skin from jamming the needle point so hard into them to slip stitches between needles.

Anybody have any helpful hints or tips to help me ease up my knitting? I’ve tried to consciously knit “looser” but it generally winds up being a mess or all kinds of inconsistent. Also right now I mostly use plastic needles since they’re the cheapest/most easily found ones. Is there a better type of needle for me to try to at least help the stitches slide more easily?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I love knitting–but this is supposed to be relaxing, not get me even more stressed out! Heh…thanks in advance!

Well, metal needles do help sts to slide easier. But, you are correct, you need to relax, knitting is supposed to be a relaxing experience :wink: ! It sounds like u r doing just like I did when I 1st started knitting last year, I would have my shoulders hunched up & would pull on each st and would have sore hands, as u say, as if I had been knitting for 48 hours or something…LOL! Think relaxing thoughts as you knit, maybe light a nice soothing fragrant candle. Listen to some soothing music. But, really try to remember that you don’t have to pull and tug on your sts. Practice just knitting a long garter scarf, or just a long garter piece of test knitting, use some yarn that’s not your favorite, (cheap yarn) and think about knitting looser & even if u think about it, u say your sts don’t look nice…if u practice it, they should begin to look better as you knit looser, with YOU being more relaxed. Look over Amy’s videos on knitting and watch how she knits, very relaxed like. I will also see if I can google some info on relaxing while u knit :smiley:
You can read this article.

Heh, thanks for the encouraging words! I think part of my problem is certainly my need for instant gratification ;-). I tend to get pretty bored with scarves before I’m even halfway done. In fact, I’ve only ever actually finished 2 or 3 scarves…instead I’ve knitted a few pairs of mittens and several hats. Still…definately hard to RELAX…course I’m the type of person who grinds their teeth in their sleep. The crazy thing is that even this super anal-retentive knitting is still somewhat relaxing for me! Heh…I think I’ll definately take up your suggestion in the scented candles and whatnot. Thanks for the article.

Even Bamboo needles will slide easier than plastic! I made the mistake of buying all plastic needles when I was a new knitter…ICK! :lol:

You may also want to experiment with the way you wrap your yarn around your fingers.

Otherwise, good tension comes with practice and confidence. You’ll loosen up as ya calm down. :wink:

Thanks so much for that link, Rebecca!

Gee do I ever wish I’d seen that before I started knitting… :rollseyes:

When I first learned to knit, my tension was like yours… very tight. It took me a long time to get used to relaxing more when knitting after being a perfectionist crocheter for so many years {I needed my knitting to be perfect too}. What worked for me was dozens of knitted dishcloths {practice, practice, practice!}, and switching to metal needles. If my stitches aren’t sliding that well on a new {or even old ones sometimes}pair of needles, I will often wash them in dishsoap and water, and after drying, will rub them with waxed paper. I can find metal ones nearly as easily as plastic, and often for the same price or cheaper. I prefer the metal ones, as I find that the flexibility of the plastic ones tends to work against me.

As a strange ironic coincidence, I am working on a cotton kitchen set right now on a set of plastic needles because I had to buy an extra pair FAST!!! {my usual needles for cotton yarn are in a project right now, and I need to get as many kitchen items done as I can in a week!}

Another good article here:

http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/FEATloosenup.html

I find my knitting is looser on bamboo needles. Also when you knit the stitch give it a gentle pull up before slipping it off and it gives you some play in the yarn. Works for me anyway. :wink:

Thanks everyone for you kind words! Consciously I know that I shouldn’t be knitting tight…but reading those articles really helped a lot more than I expected! Just seeing it written by a longtime knitter that being super-tight WON’T keep my gauge even and that loosening up WILL…wow, just reading that relaxed me so much! Heh…

Also…I’m left-handed, so I used Amy’s fantabulous videos and just taught myself continental knitting. Though it’s a bit slow since I just learned…it already much smoother and more relaxed…and my stitches look so nice now! Hooray!

Much love and happy knitting!

Even EZ once mentioned in her book “Knitting Without Tears” that she thought her stitches were sloppy and that the knitters of ages past must have been amazing because all of the really old sweaters you see have such even stitches. The truth is that the tension in the stitches redistributes itself when the sweater is worn and washed, and I suspect that the same is true of anything that is knitted and used. Even if your stitches aren’t even as you loosen up, don’t worry. Time, the great leveller, will take care of them for you.

Who is it here in the forum who tells the story of her knitting guru, and how when she was first knitting, she complained that her stitches didn’t look right, and the guru responded with something like “You’ve just started, so how do you know what ‘right’ looks like?”?

I’m sure I don’t have that exactly right, but you get the idea! Besides, (and I’ve tried myself and paid for it), we cannot possibly compete with the even stitches of machines! Let your work be flavorful :smiley:

And I’m glad to hear that the videos have helped you and that you’ve loosened up. Your fingers, wrists, shoulders, and neck are probably thanking you already!

HamaLee, I’m glad to hear you’re trying knitting continental. I started out as a tight knitter, and learning continental really helped me loosen up. I now knit english and continental(depending on the project and my mood) and even my english style knitting is much looser, I think because continental knitting showed me that a looser tension really made for a nicer fabric (and knitting experience!)