My scarf i;m making now.  First ever please keep that in mind.  Has one problem that occurs now and then, it gets skinnier and wider, I know this is due to varying tension.  But I don't know how to keep my tension constant, since I don't feel I;m really changing it much at all that I can notice.  any tips?  also, id love a simple pattern for a hat or gloves.  I;m finding a plain nothing but knit scarf quite boring after a while although i don't notice as much when i sit and kit for a long period of time. 

Bear's picture

I have the same problem, but i lean more on the tight side.  Ive been told since i started that im too tight. I dont know how to correct it.   ON the machine i noticed my tension changes with the speed i move the carriage.  any bond users out there knows what im talking about.  Sorry i couldnt help.  I was told this though.  if you are using yarn in a skein like at walmart.  all ways keep yarn pulled out,  dont knit till you need to pull out more that will cause your tension to change from loose to tight back and forth.  Any way,  Welcome to Men who knit.

regards, Bear

Jordan's picture

Hey dan333,

Some of the more experienced knitters probably have better advice for you than I do.  Getting an even tension is something that takes some time--I'm still learning after a year.  Though boring, the scarf is probably a great way to experiment, to see how doing different things with your hands results in different amounts of tension.  In the past, I've approached it like a scientist: change just one thing and see what happens.  Then change another. 

--tension between your knitting and your ball of yarn

--amount you pull the yarn after each stitch (or better yet, degree to which you don't pull the yarn)

--how relaxed you feel in your shoulders while knitting

Those are just a few ideas of things to try changing.... 

JPaul's picture

Dan, how much is the width changing?  I'm wondering if it really is your tension or if it's something else, like the number of stitches changing from row to row, which is not uncommon when you are learning to knit.  Count your stitches at the end of each row for a while and see if it's staying the same or if you might be adding in accidental yarn-overs or dropping stitches somewhere.

If it is your tension, that will come with practice but there are things you can do to help.  Learn to keep the yarn and the needles in your hands, if you don't already.  Don't drop one or the other after every stitch and pick them back up for the next stitch.  You'll eventually find that you can actually use your hand even though there is yarn strung through it.  Good luck and keep at it.

I checked and it seems my stitches are increasing for the most part.  At one point, i gave it a few wrinkles in the scarf because i picked up lots of stitches because it had grown from 26 to 37 , but looking now, it has grown back to aroudn 31.  what's going on? 



Paz y Respeto

Paz y Respeto

JPaul's picture

Are you knitting only?  Same on both sides?  Or do you knit one side and purl the other?

Either way, you are most likely looping the yarn over the needle BETWEEN two stitches, then knitting that loop on the next row.  So you actually create another stitch.  It's called a yarn-over when you do it on purpose.

Again, keep and eye on your knitting for a while.  Carefully knit a few stitches and look at them.  Look at where the yarn comes out of the stitch and leads to the skein.  If you're doing knit stitches, it comes out the stitch at the back side of the needle.  And look at the stitches on the left hand needle closely.  Look at the direction the yarn loops over the needle as it goes from one stitch to the next.  It should be very consistent.  They all look pretty much the same, yeah?  Learn to recognize what the stitches look like.  That way, if you come upon something "strange" as you're knitting along, you'll notice it and you can figure out if it's a good strange or bad strange and deal with it appropriately, instead of just sticking a needle in it and knitting it.

Like I said, keep counting your stitches for a while at the end of your rows.  Then, when you knit a row and you suddenly have more than you are supposed to, look at the stitches again.  Now that you know what they should look like and you'll be able to spot the problem more easily.  If it's an errant yarn-over, it will be a loop over the needle that doesn't sit uniformly like all the others...you'll see it.

Patterns for hats and gloves (or just about anything) may be had for free on the Internet. Just Google "knitting patterns hats" and see what comes up.

Dan, what type of needles are you using? And what type of yarn? Straight needles? Or circulars? Double points? Acrylic or wool? Do let us know ALL the details so we can help you more.

Welcome to MenWho Knit, have fun, and write often. After all, we went through the same learning process ourselves.


I'm using US 9 susan bates needles.  The yarn is acrylic and I can't remember the brand sorry, I think it was something soft...not much help :( but thanks for all the advice 


Paz y Respeto

Paz y Respeto

That should work well -- smooth, easy knitting. Now all you need is practise, practise, and more practise. Most knitting is a matter of  trying techniques, seeing what works, and doing projects.



kiwiknitter's picture

There is so much good advice posted here!  I agree with everyone and in particular with JPaul.  When I first learned to knit I would always end up with a stitch or 2 extra, never fewer stitches than needed.  The problem wasn't "making" these stitches but not being able to recognize them as false friends on the row back.  Once I was able to understand how the knitted stitch "operates" (what I like to call the "science" of our craft) and recognize stitches I wanted vs. unwelcome stitches, I no longer had any difficulties.  Then came learning to fix the error on the row back without having to rip.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Knit away, knit away

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Very insightful.


Re the pattern for gloves and hats. There is a terrific book by Ann Budd which provides basic patterns for hats, gloves, mittens and scarves. Just determine the guage and you just plug in the numbers. She provides several hat variations and a very good beginning glove pattern.

Re: Tension. I agree with another knitter that consistency comes with practice. Knitting and otherwise. Remember if it is a scarf, blocking may solve the problem. I think with beginning knitters there is a tendency to pull the yarn too tightly. Once the stitch is made let it alone and they will all jostle back and forth and get themselves in proper order. I must need sleep. Have never described stitches jostling before. Good luck 

M3K (Man Made, Male Knit)