Purling too tight, but not so with knitting

Hello, I am a very new kitter - I tried it for the first time ever a couple months ago, and then came here a week or so ago and actually learned something useful. I understand the basics, however, I am having an issue with purling.

I am using Caron SimplySoft worsted weight yarn (which I think is pretty sucky yarn? But am not sure?) and aluminum size 8 single point needles.

The issue is that when I purl it gets so tight that I can barely work with it. It is very difficult to get the needle through in the first place without splitting the yarn, the sticthes are so tight on the needle that it is hard to slide them around, etc. However, I don’t seem to have this issue with straight knitting.

This happened the first time I tried to learn, and was very frustrating (hence the two month break, lol.) This time, I decided to gimp it and just do knit, which looks OK, but itsn’t what i want to do. The project (scarf, same yarn, same needles) I am doing with only knit stiches is fine… I am still learning to tension evenly so it is a tad uneven, however it is certainly not getting tight like my purl stitches are.

Has anyone had this issue or have any advice on what might be causing it or how to deal with it? Thanks!

well most people have a different gauge between knit and purl but i am going to guess you are actually twisting that purl stitch. i did this for a long time when i first started knitting and didn’t know i was. i found, watching amy’s videos one day for something else, that i was wrapping my yarn backwards which made getting into that stitch difficult. look at her videos again and see if that may be the issue. not positive but worth a second look.

I was doing something similar, but in my case, I was actually twisting the knit stiches compared to what people normally do. Make sure that when you’re knitting (or purling) you always go into the portion of the loop that’s on the front part of the needle. With my knit stitches, I was going into the back portion. It looks fine when you’re just knitting, and when you’re just purling it looks fine, but if you combine the two, it winds up twisted. I had trouble getting the knitting needle into the purled stitches as well

Caron’s Simply Soft is one of the better acrylics. I would suggest you go up to something like a size 10 needle for a while, to practice. Maybe a larger needle will help you easier see how you make the stitches and that you’re making them correctly, as well as make it easier to insert your needle. And if it’s when you do the purl row that you have trouble getting the needle in, it’s your knit row that’s too tight.


Yeah, I had thought that as well - that if it is so tight when I purl, it must be the knit stitch that is the tight one, however I don;t understand why they wouldn’t be tight like that when i am just knitting.

I’ll watch the videos some more and see if my stitches are any different than hers. Thanks!

My first reaction was that you were twisting the knits, too. A woman at work had the same problem with her knit rows, and she was purling through the back loops and twisting.

You probably purl looser than you knit; a lot of people do. Or you could be twisting the knit stitches somehow…

Do you knit with the loose yarn in your left or right hand? Which direction do you wrap the yarn around the needle, both in knit and purl? You may be going the wrong way which may twist the stitches on the other side.


I went back and watched the knitting video again. I was knitting wrong, or at least not the way Amy does in the video.

When I first learned in the knitting circle on campus, they taught me to wrap the yarn around the needle and then pull it through, whereas Amy just pulls through with the tip of the needle. I think that was twisting the yarn. Now that I am using the method in the video, I think it is working better. The sitches look neater on the needle - they used to look pretty frayed, and now they are nice and round.

Thanks for the help! I am working in garter at the moment, but I tried a few rows in stockinette and it seemed easier, so I think that was the issue.