Lots of things will affect the tightness of a knitted stitch. These are the ones I see people talk about most often:
- the knitter’s experience
- the knitter’s mood
- the kind of knitting needles
- the kind of yarn
- the style of knitting: Continental, English, Portuguese, combination, reverse combination, Eastern crossed, and so on.
- knitting flat or in the round (less likely to be a factor if you use either kind of combination knitting)
There’s one factor I don’t see mentioned as often, though certainly it does come up on occasion. I just think it’s worth highlighting: the final factor in how tight a stitch will be on the needle once it’s made is not how tightly the yarn is wrapped around the needle while working it. Rather, it’s how hard the knitter pulls on the yarn between knitting one stitch and the next.
Changing that tension much isn’t always feasible, but I think being aware of it can be a help. There are also times it can be important to make use of it on a conscious level. For instance, I find that I have to give an extra tug after knitting and then passing slipped stitches over to keep the decrease stitch from being much looser.
June Hemmons Hiatt also describes a different form of what she calls “inlay” in the Principles of Knitting. This one is the same technique that’s used for weaving in ends as you go or in stranded knitting for very long floats to make them shorter:
(Not my video; it just describes it well. Search for weaving in ends as you go knitting and you’ll find a bunch of instructions out there.)
The difference is that the yarn being carried across the purl side of the fabric is never made into a stitch going around the needle. It peeks through, sometimes more and sometimes less. The most obvious side is the reverse stockinette side, where most of what is visible is the carried yarn. I didn’t like the stockinette side at first, but now its subtlety has caught my attention. I like it.
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If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll have seen these already.
Here’s some links to other people describing interesting and useful techniques. Enjoy!
Miscellaneous fiber arts
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At first I didn’t think I was going to like this lace and that I was going to have try a different variation of equinox, but as ever, knitting multiple repeats of the stitch pattern in the swatch convinced me otherwise. This one is in base ten. When I started playing with encoding, I preferred my base six designs, as it seemed harder to make something I liked of the base ten numbers. I’ve had quite a bit of practice since then, however, and thought I’d give it another try. Sure enough, it seemed much easier this time. I guess I’ve gotten better at lace design! (Funny how practice can do that.)
I’m knitting myself some socks. I’m not going to write up the pattern for these (there are already a bajillion things in the queue to be written) but I thought I’d share my process for plugging a stitch pattern into a basic sock design.