Tight Stitches

Hi everyone :slight_smile:

I am new to knitting and new to this site! I love the videos and I watch them every time I pick up my knitting needles, yet I am still completely incompetent and can’t knit :wink:

I can handle casting on, and making a regular knit stitch, but I seriously cannot purl. I have a problem though that I think is hindering my process in general…

My ‘stitches’ are really tight. Does that make sense? My plastic needles literally squeak because my stitches are so tight, and I oftentimes have to unravel everything because I cannot fit my needles through a stitch. I’ve tried casting on really loosely, but it doesn’t seem to help. I’ve been trying to learn how to ‘increase’ and I can’t seem to fit my needles through anything…

It’s really frustrating and I have no clue what I am doing wrong. Is this common? Does it have to do with the way I’m holding the yarn in my right hand? (oh I follow the English/right hand method)

Any help would be appreciated :slight_smile:

Welcome Jill!

Try this:

When you pull the loop through the stitch as you knit, push the right needle into the new loop, so that the loop is going around the full diameter of the right needle. It’s common to make a stitch with just the tip of the right needle, where the diameter is smaller: that will make a smaller (tighter!) stitch. So, push it through as you’re pulling the old stitch off the left needle.

And, of course, don’t pull the yarn too tight.

Hope that helps!
Happy knitting,

I am also new to knitting…one tip I heard was while casting on use 2 needles on top of each other, remove one for a looser cast on. This worked for me. Also my mom taught me to knit like a “gliding” motion, and thinking of the gliding helped me loosen the yarn up. Try not to have a death grip and let it glide…
From a formerly tight new knitter

Ohh I’ve read about the 2 needle cast on trick but I never bothered to try it. I guess now that I have a recommendation I’ll give it a shot! Thanks Chris!

And yes, you’re right Amy, I’m notoriously bad for just working at the very itty bitty tip of my needles and then everything slides off anyway haha and then when I do try to push my stitches down it’s impossible, and alas, I have to unravel everything again!

I find knitting very difficult. I have yet to actually knit anything, since I am constantly messing it up. I am trying to learn from websites and books, and I think I would do better if I had someone to teach me!

RELAX is the key. If your first bit of knitting is full of holes, nevermind.

Dont get grumpy about your progress. Why not start with just a square of garter stitch (just knit stitches, no purl). Make a few, sew them together and call it a baby blanket.
Then try one in stockinette (knit and purl).

If you’d like someone to teach you, try hanging out in your local yarn store and get someone to take pity on you. Just ambush a fellow knitter and ask for help. I bet they’d be more than happy to.

I had this problem when I tried cirucular boye needles for the first time. I could knit and purl well on straight ones but with the boye, It was hard to put the needles into the stitches and also the eyarn would snag.

after that I tried both susan bates and knit picks and both work perfectly.

So maybe its just the needles…

Most new knitters seem to have a tendency to make a three-step process into four steps. (1) Insert the right needle into the stitch, (2) wrap the yarn around the needle, (3) pull the new stitch through, (4) tug the yarn to tighten the stitch.

Don’t add step four–there’s no need to tug on the stitch. Simply knitting the next stitch will tighten it up properly, without making things too tight.

This may not apply to you, but it’s very common.

I did the same thing when I started knitting. Just relax and keep practicing!!

Yup, I used to knit much tighter when I started too. Very common problem. One thing I did too, was wrapping my yarn “wrong” - it made my stitches sit twisted and very hard to work from the front. Once I figured that out life got a lot easier.

There were a lot of valuable tips already (especially the needle tip / needle body thing!). But I am worried there could be another problem since it seems you are learning from videos only, not with a person:

does your yarn fit your needles? a lot of self taught beginners start with just any yarn and needles… then the result is bulky or tight knitting…

for a good result I advice to take a yarn with some give (a yarn that stretches a lot or little when you pull it). Then the yarn will be a little more forgiving to tight knitting. Cotton often has no give at all, so it makes it tight - but it is often colorful and cheap and therefore is appealing to knitters :smiley:

the other thing is: if your yarn is too thick for your needles (or very thick in comparison) then there is a lot of material to master… that turns very thick…

the reason is the following:
if you see the needle: it is round, so the measure around is twice the radius (or once the diameter) times pi. you can just find out how much yarn you use for a stitch.

on a needle with 5 milimeter diameter there is an approximate way of 15 mm around the needle…

now for getting a stitch worked, you need to get the yarn twice throught that loop. The size of the loop depends on the needle. the size of the yarn has to match now.

if the 15 mm loop has to go around yarn that is 6 milimeters thick, for example: then there is 12 mm yarn in between - and that is very tight.

the good thing: yarns do lable - mostly - what size needle is recommended.

please do yourself the favor and stick with that recomendation until you know just all about yarn and knitting - or at least a bit more :slight_smile:

do you have the chance to make a video of you knitting? then we could comment on the actual process.

Guys, these are helpful tips but this is a 6 year old thread. Hopefully the OP has it figured out by now. :rofl:

It’s true the OP probably figured it out a long time ago, but someone new and searching for ‘tight stitches’ will likely find some good information here.

True, true! I didn’t mean to sound snarky, I just didn’t want anyone to wonder why the OP never responded! :slight_smile:

I’m still a tight knitter after 3 YEARS! When I knit stockinette circularly, I put a smaller tip on the left hand needle than the right, so the stitches slide more easily. It does not affect gauge since the right hand needle determines the size of the stitches (if you are knitting regularly and not a lefty knitting “backwards”). This helps reduce fatigue on my hands from sliding stitches along when I’m knitting something large like a sweater.

When I knit back and forth, I don’t run into that problem much, since my purls are a little looser.