6 Tips for Knitting Tighter Stitches

Everyone knits a little bit differently, but a common problem many knitters face is that sometimes they accidentally knit their work too loose. Depending on what you are knitting, a loose piece of fabric might not be ideal.

In this guide, we will cover why knitting becomes loose and gives some great tips on how to knit tighter stitches.

Why is My Knitting Too Loose?

More often than not, loose knitting is caused by loose knitting tension. Knitting tension is how many stitches and rows are worked in a specific area. If your stitches are really loose, you will have fewer rows in your work than what might be ideal for the piece you are working on.

Conversely, if you knit your stitches too tight, your fabric might be too dense, not to mention how much strain it can put on your hands and wrists to knit too tight.

There is a middle ground between too tight and too loose that we are looking for, but really it depends on what you are making. For some projects you might need loose fabric, and othertimes denser.

If you’re having a problem with loose fabric and want to knit tighter stitches, here are some tips to help you get it done.

Knitting Stitches Example

How to Knit Tighter Stitches

1. Keep Your Needles Together

One of the main reasons stitches become loose is that the needles are not held close together. This is a bad habit of many in knitting.

When you hold the needles apart there tends to be extra yarn which will cause loose stitches.

Avoid this bad habit and try to keep your needles together.

2. Use Smaller Needles

An easy trick for tighter stitches is just to use smaller needles. You can try going one size down and you may find that this is enough to get you the tight stitches needed for your project.

When you knit with smaller needles, the stitches get smaller, and this can help you achieve a tighter tension.

3. Tension the Working Yarn

When you are taking your needle to pick up the yarn, you want to keep a good amount of tension on the working yarn. If you let the yarn stay loose, it will become hard to work with and make tight stitches. Make sure to keep tension on the working yarn.

4. Try Different Knitting Styles

Changing your knitting style can be a quick hack that can help tighten up your stitches. What style works best for you is pretty individual.

Some knitters have problems make tight-knit stitches, whereas others have problems making tight purl stitches. Experiment and see if changing the way you knit can give you the apporpriate knitting tension you need for your piece.

Here is a good overview of the 5 knitting styles if you need to freshen up.

5. Tighten the First and Last Stitch

One common problem knitters have is creating loose edge stitches that making your whole work seem sloppy. Trying to work a piece with loose edge stitches makes everything difficult and the overall look of your project will be greatly reduced if you don’t get this corrected.

One simple fix to avoid this problem is to make sure to pull the working yarn tight before knitting the first stitch of the row. If you focus on tightening the first and last stitch of every row, your overall work should remain tight with neat-looking stitches as well.

6. Slip the First Stitch

When you slip the first stitch on every row your edge will look a lot nicer, but you need to make sure you are doing it correctly. Cast a couple of extra stitches on your needle to be used for the edges.

You can slip the first stitch purlwise, and this should give you a nice tight edge. The last stitch in the row is also purled to create a nice tight row.

Closing Thoughts

Creating stitches that are too loose is a common problem many knitters face, but it’s a problem that is easy to correct with a few tips. The next time you need to get tighter knitting tension, follow these six tips, and you’ll find the quality of your work may improve dramatically.

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