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Knitting Tips - Prevent Extra Stitches

If the sides of your knitting aren't straight, but instead have little steps on either side, the knitting gets wider as you go along, or you have holes in your knitting, you are accidentally adding extra stitches. Do you have the same number of stitches as you cast on? If you've got more stitches, you are definitely adding them somewhere!

There are two ways that stitches are frequently added to the knitting.

The first, at the beginning of the row, is often a problem for beginning knitters. Because the first stitch at the edge of the fabric is loose, people try to fix it by pulling up on the yarn to tighten the stitch. What happens is that the TWO strands of the stitch from the row below are actually pulled up over the needle. Then, when you knit both strands, you've created two stitches where only one used to be. Instead, start each new row this way:

1) Grab your knitting hanging down from the needle and pull DOWN on it gently.
2) Knit the first stitch
3) Pull on your working yarn to tighten that stitch before you work across the rest of the row.

The second, which happens either at the beginning or in the middle of the row, is caused when the yarn is held in front of the needle when knitting, or behind the needle when purling. Remember, when starting a knit stitch, always make sure that the yarn is behind your needle, whether at the beginning or in the middle of the row. If it is in front of the needle, it will place an extra strand over the needle. On subsequent rows this will be worked like any other stitch. In the middle of the row, this will make holes in the fabric. At the beginning of the row, this will make an ever-widening diagonal edge.

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All text and images copyright © 2001, 2002 Margaret K.K. Radcliffe