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Tricks to Fix Tight Stitches on Circular Needles

Circular knitting needles are everyday needles for most knitters. The same pair of knitting needles work for all kinds of projects from socks to the widest of blankets for knitting round as well as flat. Once a knitter learns to enjoy knitting on circulars – fixed or interchangeable needles, they start using them for most of their projects. Advanced knitters as well as beginners can take up circulars for any project but there may be some mistakes popping up. The easiest cure to fixing mistakes is to not make them! To do that, you need some practice. Like many knitting mistakes that can be fixed, in this blog, we’ll discuss the tight stitches on circular needles.

We've all been there, happily knitting along on a hat or a sweater or a blanket when suddenly you realize that the stitches you are making are too tight. Or, when it’s your first time working with the needles and you make stitches that can be considered bulletproof due to their tight structure. Now, the tricks to fix tight stitches on circular knitting needles work for all needles and let’s walk you through them. So whether you are knitting in a round or flat with circular needles, these reasons and fixed work for all stitches.

Knitting with Mindful Needles

Reason 1 - You're Wrapping Your Stitches Too Tightly

According to the famous adage of Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the most accurate. Tight-knit stitches are made because essentially you are wrapping your yarn too tightly. This can happen if you are a new knitter who holds the yarn tightly or simply new to circular needles or are getting too comfortable knitting. For those just beginning to knit, it is straightforward to correct this; however, for seasoned knitters, old habits are difficult to break. But then knitters adapt easily and can try out new techniques and styles for projects they have worked on previously.

How to Fix:

- Try a different knitting style.

Every knitter has their own unique style of knitting but the community has some standard knitting styles. The English style and the Continental Style are the most prominent ones where the knitter holds and tensions the yarn differently when working with the same pair or set of knitting needles for either knitting back and forth or in the round.

It is possible that the issue is that you are knitting English style, which involves “throwing” the yarn around the needle. The continental style of knitting is known as “picking”.  The working yarn with the working needle. This allows your tension to be kept consistent by your other hand guiding the working yarn while your primary hand scoops up the yarn for the stitch.

It is highly recommended this technique for knitters who are just starting out in their stitching journey as it is simpler to pick up a new style of knitting at the beginning of your craft. Although experienced knitters can still adapt to the new style, it can be more challenging for them to adjust. If you are unwilling to adopt a different style of knitting, try releasing the working yarn after you have wound it around the working knitting needle. Then knit the stitch with the right-hand needle without retaining the yarn. Basically, allow the yarn to hang free. Refrain from pulling on the yarn for your next stitch, as it will tighten your prior stitch. This is meant to be a temporary remedy as you learn to adapt to a new tension, and there is no need for you to continually let the working yarn dangle after each stitch.

Reason 2 - You're Knitting Off the Tapered End of Your Needle

Knitting needles have a tip that is narrower than the body. Although the design of the needles enables you to insert them easily into the stitches and slip them through without pulling the yarn, some knitters make the mistake of knitting too tightly on the few inches or a fraction of inches at the top of the needles. Not only does this put the stitches in danger of dropping off the needle, but it can drastically affect your tension since it feels like you are using needles that are much smaller than intended. If you suspect this is the issue, learn how to rectify tight knitting with a simple solution.

How to Fix

Ensure that you insert your working needle into your next stitch when it is resting at the widest part of the needle. Moreover, push the needle deep enough that you are not just wrapping the yarn around the pointed end of the needle. The points of the needles should only be used for needle insertion and removal and should not be knitted upon. Experiment with this for a few stitches to see if it alleviates the tightness of your knitting.

Reason 3 - The Wrong Needle Size

If you have started with a pattern that mentions the knitting needle size and yet the stitches you are making are tight, this means you are working with the wrong needle size.

In addition, look again at the pattern and make sure you are using the same size needles that the pattern recommends. Be conscious that the units of the needles can be in millimeters and be aware of the needle size conversions. If the needles are the appropriate size, yet you are still knitting too tightly, some materials of needles can induce tighter knitting because the needles themselves have more grip. Consider changing to a larger size needle. Finally, verify the size needles the pattern calls for against the size needles you are using. Make sure to read the recommended needle size for the yarn on the yarn sleeve. If all of the solutions fail, try increasing a needle size or two and test your gauge. It may be that you simply need to work with differently-sized needles going forward.

So, the next time you are working with circular knitting needles, you will have no problem, avoiding and fixing tight stitches. The Mindful Collection offers a mindful approach to knitting. The entire range of stainless steel knitting needles offers a smooth surface, precision tips and an inspirational word that helps knitters focus on knitting and its meditative benefits. The circular needles have smooth and flexible cords in the teal shade that assist with all kinds of knitting.

Fixed Circular Needles