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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been knitting and crocheting for several years. Lately on knitted washcloths I am seeing more and more of what appear to be stretched knit stitches throughout my work. They are random and occur in both continental and thrown knitting....mat be more in continental which I have just recently learned and which helps my hand pain. Any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong? Thanks!

Love this forum....read it every day!
 

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It seems the stitch pattern appearance changes when I purl one row and knit one row. Apparently the tension changes with my purling and causes a ridge to appear.

A stretched stitch may be from you accidentally making a yarn over during your pattern and having extra yarn there, or have you maybe dropped a stitch?

It could be just the stitch pattern or even the yarn, is it nubby, changing thickness?

This mystery must be solved!

Lois
 

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Since you have 2 issues, arthritis pain and a new technique, I would say either one or both is the culprit. Your tension is looser in some areas than in others. You're ending up with stitches that are too long. If it is the new technique, that will correct itself in time.

In the meantime, get out a crochet hook a little smaller than you would use on the weight you are knitting with. Take the loose stitch and wiggle the loose part over to the next stitch in the direction closest to an edge. Now wiggle the next stich, continue to end of row. The loose yarn can be hidden in a seam or by edging. :thumbup:
 

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I will sometimes get an elongated knit stitch if I stop knitting in the middle of a row. Even if I stop for a minute (while dealing with an interuption) and don't let go of my needles, it is still sometimes enough for that to happen. So 1. I try only to stop at end of row, and 2. You can tug at the other stitches around the elongated one and work it back to uniform size. Also if it isn't too bad, after washing or blocking your stitches will look and become more uniform.
 

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When you work in continental, do you use your left index finger elevated a bit to tension the yarn? If so, try this trick. As you make each stitch and prepare to go to the next one, give the yarn a tiny tug with your left index finger to snug it up against the needle. It doesn't have to be tight, just snugged up and not hanging loose. If you make it a habit to do this with every stitch you make, you will soon see your knitting straighten out and become more even. Don't forget to do this for both knit and purl stitches.

Using the conventional purl stitch sometimes results in a looser tension when purling than when knitting. This tiny tug technique should help with both kinds of stitch. If that doesn't work out for you after a bit of practice, you may want to try knitting continental combo style.

The different manner of wrapping for the purl stitch makes it easier to get an even tension. With practice, your knitting will be very even--it's just the nature of knitting combo style. (This wrap style can be used for both right hand throw and left hand continental. Just wrap the purl stitch from the bottom up between the two needles instead of from the top down. This will result in the stitch mount switching from the front of the needle to the rear, but it is consistent and causes no trouble whatsoever once you learn to watch for it and knit accordingly.

I am halfway through knitting an Irish Aran sweater, and have used continental combo for the entire thing. There is only one part of the pattern where I reverse the mount of two stitches in order to avoid twisting. The rest, including all the cables, honeycomb, etc. are no problem at all, and the overall result is quite even. Of course, because of having multiple cable twists on every other row, there are a few stitches that are not exactly perfectly tensioned, but they are most definitely more even than when I attempt to do this style of knitting using the "regular" purl wrap direction.

Just remember, always work with the leading leg of the stitch. That is, if the stitch was off the needle and laid out flat, the leg on the right would be the leading leg. In knitting in this style, it may occasionally be on the front of the needle, but is more commonly on the back. It is the same exact motion that you get when your instructions say "Knit through back loop." Except that you do it all the time for knit stitches.

There are several videos demonstrating this method on YouTube. Check them out. It's really easier to see what I'm talking about than to understand my written instructions.

You may have someone tell you that you cannot knit certain stitches using this method. To that I say, in the immortal words of Nero Wolfe, Phooey! If I can knit an entire Aran sweater using this style of knitting, I hope that puts to rest that silly idea. Both side panels of this sweater are in seed stitch, and of course the bottom of the sweater and the cuffs of the sleeves are in ribbing. All work perfectly well, and quite evenly tensioned in combo knitting. The same is true for circular knitting. No problem, just an occasional adjustment of stitch mount if you want to do matching pairs of left leaning or right leaning decreases.

One advantage of this with arthritis (I have arthritis in my left index finger, and my right thumb, so I know whereof I speak. Combo is the way to go. You can use either continental or right hand carry and it makes no difference in the final product. If your fingers get tired using one method, switch to the other.

Honestly, when I am working in Aran, I generally use right hand carry (throwing) for the cable twist rows, and continental left hand carry for the back side rows which have no twists. Of course, it can be done either way, this is just a habit I have gotten into as it helps to rest my fingers every other row.

(The Teddy Bear in my avitar picture is an Aran which I finshed about 3 weeks ago. It, too, is knit entirely in combo style. As you can see by the various patterns, this style of knitting can be used literally for all kinds of knitting. It is the style I teach beginners from day one. The left hand continental or right hand throw is their option, but all students are taught in combo style.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you so so much for taking the time to respond in such detail. I am printing out your response so I will have it with me as I work.

I have been doing the combo for comfort sake but thought that might have been part of my problem. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I have been thinking of returning to just crochet since I don't seem to have the problem there but hate to give up the knitting. So I won't just yet.

Again thanks for taking the time to respond so carefully.
 

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Actually, the motions involved in crochet are quite similar to knitting with continental left hand carry. If you can FORCE YOURSELF to relax, and not have a death grip on the needles, you should be able to work on either crochet or continental knitting with about the same level of stress to your fingers. The only other suggestion I might make to lessen the stress for knitting is to use a medium length circular needle (or if it fits the budget, an interchangeable set like the Denise) so that the weight of your projects such as sweaters or baby blankets, shawls, etc. rests in your lap and does not require you to support them with your fingers and hands. I personally now use circular needles for almost all of my knitting. I can't actually remember when I last used a straight needle!
 

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I am wondering if you are talking about "worming"? I had this happen with some chenille yarn where there would be occasional stitches that the yarn made a huge stitch...I had never heard of it before it started happening to me. I went to the Lion Brand helpdesk and found out it was called worming (the yarns worms its way through?) and that it only happens when knitting with chenille yarn. Their recommendations were to crochet instead of knit. I put it aside. Maybe someday I will come back to that yarn and try something else.

p.s. I am a recent lurker and this is my first post.
 

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Rettea63 said:
It does sound the same but I have been having the problem mostly with cotton yarn.
Cotton yarn can sometimes be a pain to knit with. It can act somewhat like chenille because it does not have any 'spring' or stretch to it. If that is the problem, you have to pay alot of attention to the tension as you are knitting. Chenille is especially tricky because it is a little fuzzy and it will travel all on it's own. It's the way the little fibers stick out of it and it pushes itself along with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks so much. Everyone has been so helpful. I just finished a face cloth in the cotton throwing the yarn. I don't seem to have as many as with the continental but I do have some.
Again thanks for all the responses..
 

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Ah, Linda6, U R sooooo right! I did a sweater in chenille and it drove me crazy wriggling around like it was alive or something. The sts "moved" every time I put it down and left it for a while. At first, I thought that maybe moth larvae were in the yarn, but I didnt find anything. So I stuck it into the freezer for a couple of days. [go ahead and laugh, I don't mind and I know it sounds nutty.] I had to let it lie around a few days to be completely dry and it still wiggled here and there. The person I made it for was happy with it; but NEVER AGAIN!
 

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I guess that is why they call this problem 'worming'.

Dsynr said:
Ah, Linda6, U R sooooo right! I did a sweater in chenille and it drove me crazy wriggling around like it was alive or something. The sts "moved" every time I put it down and left it for a while. At first, I thought that maybe moth larvae were in the yarn, but I didnt find anything. So I stuck it into the freezer for a couple of days. [go ahead and laugh, I don't mind and I know it sounds nutty.] I had to let it lie around a few days to be completely dry and it still wiggled here and there. The person I made it for was happy with it; but NEVER AGAIN!
 

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I have the same problem you do. I've tried everything. I came across this fix on the techknitting blog. It works and explains the problem. Long runs. I now bunch my stitches up on the left needle toward the tip. I use my left index finger to push each individual stitch toward the tip when knitting. I'm having no more problems. My knitting is consistent now even with certain brands of acrylic yarns that used to be a big problem.

http://techknitting.blogspot.com/search?q=fixing+uneven+tension
 

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Cindy M said:
I have the same problem you do. I've tried everything. I came across this fix on the techknitting blog. It works and explains the problem. Long runs. I now bunch my stitches up on the left needle toward the tip. I use my left index finger to push each individual stitch toward the tip when knitting. I'm having no more problems. My knitting is consistent now even with certain brands of acrylic yarns that used to be a big problem.

http://techknitting.blogspot.com/search?q=fixing+uneven+tension
This video will help you understand how to do this. Liat shows how to knit faster. It will also help you to keep your stitches even. The only difference is that if you're having tension issues, spread the stitches out and push them forward every five or ten stitches.

 
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