Tension Issues – Enlarged Left Knits

Today is the last post (for now) in my series on Tension Issues. We’ll be focusing on the left knit stitches in things like ribbing and cables.

The left-hand knit stitch in ribbing and cables is very often a bit enlarged compared to the other stitches. This is because of the excess yarn that is present when transitioning from a knit stitch to a purl stitch. Here is a video that shows this, along with some tips for fixing this issue:


Two main options for fixing:
1. Pull the yarn forward well when transitioning from knit to a purl.

2. Work a “backwards” purl, where the yarn in wrapped under the needle instead of over the needle to form the purl. Remember to knit those stitches through the back loop on the following row to avoid twisted stitches.

One or the other of these, or a combination of the two above methods, typically helps to fix the issue.

I hope these videos were helpful! If you have other tension issues you’d like to see me address, let me know!

Next week we’ll switch gears and look at cabling without a cable needle.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!


Tension Issues – Rowing Out

Today I continue the series on tension issues, and focus on rowing out.

Rowing out is very similar to guttering, but it only happens at one edge or the other (or both!) instead of all the way across the row.

Here is a video explaining why this happens, and some ways to try to improve the issue:

I hope this is helpful! Next week we’ll talk about another tension issue – enlarged knit stitches on the left in ribbing and cables.
Until next time, Happy Knitting!


Tension Issues – Gutters

Last week I talked about how to identify certain tension issues. This week I’m going to focus on gutters specifically.

Here is a video on gutters – some ideas on how to identify, and how to remedy the issue:

Here are some more thoughts:

Another method to try to identify whether it is the knits or the purls:

  • Use the two colors, but carry the yarns up the side of the swatch. Do not bind off. Cut the strands in between every other row so that you have single strands for each row (and they are each cut at each end.) Remove your needle and unravel the swatch. The strands that are longer are the stitches that take up more yarn. (Make sure you know which color you knit with and which you purled with!) This is a good method if it is a very subtle difference – you should see a length difference even if it is a slight one. You can do this with a single color as well, you just have to come up with a way to indicate which strands are your knit strands and which are your purls. You could use a marker to mark all the purl stitches, or use some other method to mark either all the purls or all the knits.

Since gutters are the result of *all* of the stitches of one kind being larger, my best advice is simply to practice making those stitches tighter (with tighter yarn tension around the hand, or just simply working them tighter) – and get to where it is habit to make them the appropriate size. I know, no one likes to hear “practice, practice, practice!” But, sometimes it’s the only real answer.

Don’t rely on “cheat” methods of covering up the problem, because then it’s just going to rear its ugly head in other situations and frustrate you. A “cheat” method is using different size needles, or using just the tips of the needles. Using different sized needles won’t work consistently as I say in the video. Using just the tips of the needles isn’t ideal either – because needle tips are varying sizes, and we use needle sizes for reason– as our “measuring cup” to size our stitches. Using the tips of the needles to form a stitch is like throwing away the measuring cup and just winging a recipe. Sometimes you can get away with it, but other times you cannot.

I hope some of these ideas are helpful in moving you to more consistent and even knitting!

Next week, we’ll look at rowing out specifically. Until then, Happy Knitting!


Tension Issues – Identifying Issues

Today I’m going to start a series on tension issues in knitting. I’ll post each Friday this month with a new video and blog post on the topic.

In order to know what techniques to try in order to fix the issues, first we need to determine if there *are* any issues- and what issues are present. So here is a video demonstrating what some common tension issues look like:

Next week I’ll talk a bit more about gutters specifically, and what techniques you can try to 1. determine if it is your knit or your purl stitches causing the issue, and 2. minimize or eliminate the problem.

See you next week! Until then, Happy Knitting!