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Ask Amanda: Why is there a loose stitch at the end of the row?

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It’s important to remember that there are as many styles of knitting as there are knitters, so each person’s work will look slightly different.

Oftentimes, a slight tension difference between stitches won’t be that noticeable after the project is finished and blocked. That being said, sometimes a little knitting help can get a looseness problem straightened out.

First off, which stitches look loose? If the only loose stitch is the last one you worked (which naturally happens with my knitting style and used to terrify me), you might notice that it will tighten up once you start working the next row.

If you’re getting a column of loose stitches along the edge of your knitting, it’s probably a sign that the tension is uneven between your end stitches and the center ones. This is a very common problem for beginning knitters, and the best correction for this is more practice! Be persistent and eventually muscle memory will start to take over, leading to more consistently even stitches. In the meantime, there are a few knitting techniques you can try.

When you’re knitting the edge stitches, tug the working yarn a little tighter than you normally would to help keep the stitch a little smaller.

If your pattern will be requiring you to pick up stitches or sew a seam along the edge with loose stitches, you’ll have an easy way to disguise them. Just make sure to work your seams or edgings into at least the second stitch from the edge, rather than the loose edge stitch.

If the edge with loose stitches is going to be a finished edge (meaning you won’t be sewing a seam or picking up stitches along that edge later), you can try slipping the edge stitches. Slip the first stitch as if to purl while holding the yarn to the back of the work, then work your regular stitch pattern for the rest of the row, making sure to purl the last stitch. If you do this on every row, you’ll get a nice, clean-looking edge.

Another process that can help with tension problems is blocking. Steaming or wet blocking will help the yarn’s fibers open up and relax a little bit, which can make your tension look more uniform. Think of it as the final step for helping your knitting look its best.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I often slip the last stitch on, and, then I proceed with the pattern. This takes care of the loose last stitch.

    December 11, 2012
    • amandakeep #

      Thanks for the tip!

      December 11, 2012
  2. Julie Lammers #

    I am working on a scarf pattern right now and the pattern has me slip the first stitch as if to pearl which has made a great finished edge on my scarf. As a realitively new knitter I am pleased to learn this new technique.

    December 12, 2012
    • amandakeep #

      That is a great technique – thanks for mentioning it!

      December 12, 2012

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