General Question

calvinette's avatar

How do I make better purl stitches?

Asked by calvinette (303points) June 7th, 2009

I typically knit with just the right amount of tension, according to my guru, who is now 800 miles away. Every time I knit something that has a few rows of ribbing, it always turns out floppier and bigger than expected. I know all about gauge, but I’m one of those terribly stubborn people who hates doing the swatches first. I prefer to barrel on in and see what I end up with. Any suggestions from the knitters out there on how to tighten up those obnoxious purls as I’m working?

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6 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Gauge was invented for a reason. I always do one and knit three sizes down. If the instructions call for a #6 needle, I use a #3. Try doing the ribbing on a size or two smaller if you are too lazy to do the 3” x 3” sample, which takes maybe 2 minutes.

It’s not being stubborn; it’s wasting your time and materials.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Are you using a different type of yarn than normal? I normally knit to gauge, but find that if the yarn has a high silk or bamboo content, I too, need to use a smaller needle. If the yarn has less elasticity to it, then things look a little sloppy.

YARNLADY's avatar

If you can’t be bothered to knit a swatch for guage, I don’t see how we can help you. Knitting a swatch first is just part of the knitting process, like casting on, knitting two together, and purling, it’s not optional.

svladcjelli's avatar

Although I usually fail at doing it YARNLADY is right. I think at a certain point you become knowledgeable enough to not need it every time (my mother is like this) but it’s still important unless you’re doing exactly the yarn specified on the pattern (which is rare). Everyone knits with a different tension. One thing that I’ve found is that with stitches that I don’t do often, my tension can be wildly off from how I normally knit. If you want better purl stitches, practice for a while. This will create muscle memory and might make them tighter.

calvinette's avatar

OK, I give. I will do a swatch next time.

However, I have to disagree on one minor point with @gailcalled—no material is wasted as long as I can frog it back. And, no time spent knitting is ever wasted. I appreciate you response and everybody’s feedback. Thank you, knitters!

YARNLADY's avatar

@calvinette Good Plan, have fun.

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