Relaxing with your knitting

Knitters all vary in the way that they hold needles and move yarn. This variation means that with the same yarn and needles, different knitters will knit to different gauges. One may create a fabric that's loose and see-through while another may make something that's practically bulletproof. It's important to recognize that matching the suggested gauge with the suggested needle size isn't a sign of a good knitter; it's only a sign of a knitter who happens to have similar tension to the person who made the pattern or packaged the yarn!

New knitters often ask whether they should change the way they hold the yarn or wrap it around their fingers or whether they should do something to snug up the yarn after each stitch. I always say no. Hold the yarn and needles so that you're comfortable. As long as you're making the stitches correctly, don't try to correct your tension. Correcting your tension generally leads to overcorrection — and only part of the time! So, anything you do to make your stitches tighter or looser will likely change when you relax and get going. The end result will likely be worse, not better, because some spots will be looser and some spots tighter.

Knitting skills, just like all others, are improved with practice. So put in the time. Plan to spend 15 minutes a day with your knitting. Some days you may finish only a couple of rows, but other days you may find that once you pick up your knitting, you can't put it down. By the time you come to the end of your first project, you'll be able to see that your gauge has become much more even and consistent. And you're probably enjoying it more too!

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