When we talk about knitting tighter stitches, we’re not talking about stitches that are so tight you break a sweat sliding your needle into the stitch. We’re talking about stitches that are neat and even without gaps.
Knitting tighter stitches isn’t as simple as tightening your grip on the yarn. A loose stitch can be caused by many things, from how you hold your yarn to your style of knitting.
If your knitting needs some tightening up, check out these hints to start knitting neater, tighter stitches.
Holding your needles
This seems to be a challenge that a lot of beginner knitters often face. When you’re knitting, sometimes it’s tempting to pull apart those needles in order to wiggle the needle into the stitch. Try to avoid doing this, since that can pull apart the foundation of the stitch and cause a big gap.
Holding your yarn
Notice how you’re holding your yarn as you knit. Is it hanging from the back, waiting to be picked up or thrown? Is it threaded through your fingers?
It’s possible that the way you hold your yarn is what’s causing those loose stitches. For example, if you’re picking up the yarn with your needle loosely and letting that yarn hang freely when you’re not using it, then the stitch created by that yarn is totally unpredictable.
Check out what happened to a few of my rows in this swatch when I let the yarn hang behind my work between rows without controlling it:
Use your fingers to try and control that loose yarn. These tips for how to keep an even tension can also help you tighten up loose stitches, and you’ll even see a few example for how to thread that yarn through your fingers.
The important thing to remember is that not all knitters use the same techniques. We’re all different, so what works for one knitter may not work for another. Test different types of holds and figure out which one helps you get even, tighter stitches.
Trying different styles
Some knitters find that their knitting gets tighter if they change up their style. For some people, Continental knitting tightens their stitches. For others, perhaps English style is the answer to a tighter stitch.
Some knitters even find that one style works for knitting, while another style may work for purling. It might take a bit of trial and error to find out what your specific issue is.
Not familiar with all the different methods and styles for knitting? I find Patty Lyons’s class Improve Your Knitting to be helpful. Patty demonstrates each style and method while she discusses its advantages and disadvantages. You can knit along with Patty, then examine your stitches to see how they change. You may find that your current way of knitting just isn’t working out anymore.
Checking the gauge
If you’re working on a pattern, does your gauge match the pattern’s suggested gauge? If you’re not getting enough stitches per inch, you may need to simply go down a needle size. No big deal!