5 Ways to Improve Yarn Tension

5 Ways to Improve Yarn Tension

Tuesday Tip copy

Sometimes as great as our knitting technique is, when working with some yarns, we need a bit of help. Something I talk about in “Improve Your Knitting” is finding ways to better control your yarn.

In today’s Tuesday Tip it’s time to look at

5 Ways to Improve Yarn Tension

1) Employ Gravity

There’s a reason for years knitters worked with their yarn in a basket at their feet. . . gravity is good. Gravity does more than keep us on the earth, it adds that little extra drag on our yarn that can sometimes do the trick.

2) Try a Yarn Bowl

I love my yarn bowl. When I am working with a silk or a slippery yarn that just jumps out of the skein, putting my yarn cake in my yarn bowl will slow it down. You can put the wound ball facing the opening of the bowl, or for a bit of additional tension, but the cake faceing up and the yarn has to travel over the side of the cake and through the hole in the yarn bowl, works great!

3) Use a Draw String Bag

I admit it, I have a weakness for project bags. I have a million cute little bags that store all my works. Over the years I’ve also been lucky enough to be gifted many great bags from the guilds I have visited. The draw string bag can also add that extra drag on the yarn that you need. Keep the bag at your feet and you also add gravity!

4) Change it Up!

We often get into a rut. Know there is no one way that will always work for your yarn tensioning. Depending on the stitch, the yarn, the needles, and even the temperature, changing it up can be good. Experiment with different wraps, and ways for the yarn to weave between your fingers. Play around with a hold that can trap the yarn between your hand and the needle, use your fingers, your wrist, anything that works.


Finally, this may seem counter intuitive, but often we are wrapping the yarn so tightly around our fingers and gripping and pulling, that the yarn can’t flow evenly from the ball. This causes uneven stitches where there are some tiny tight stitches and then when you release more yarn, a batch of looser ones. Test yourself to see if you can keep your yarn hold and move your hand away from the ball of yarn with yarn flowing easily through your fingers. There’s no crying in baseball, there’s no gripping in knitting.


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