In my Introduction post I talked about the gap I had noticed when knitting a checkerboard pattern in a baby blanket.
Even though it wasn’t a perfect piece of knitting, I had finished the center part of that blanket and had picked up and knit a border on all four sides. With a finished piece of knitting it was impossible to determine what was causing the problem, which was consistent throughout the knitting. So with needles and yarn in hand, I started knitting a swatch of the checkerboard pattern—this time watching each stitch.
It soon became apparent that the problem happened only when changing from a knit to a purl stitch. Across several patterns I watched what happened with my needles and the yarn. I knew it had to be a tension problem in that area.
And there it was!
When finishing a knit block and preparing to purl the next block, I wasn’t bringing the yarn completely forward when getting ready to purl, which left extra yarn that had to go somewhere—enough yarn to create the gap I was seeing.
I tried holding the yarn really tight while I purled the first couple of stitches. I did that across and up the full 5-row block pattern. It did solve the gap problem, but the tight tension also deformed those first couple of purl stitches. They weren’t the same size as the remainder of the stitches in the block.
I put the work aside and thought about it a few days.
One thing I had noticed: when moving from a knit block to a purl block the stitches wanted to pull toward the backside of the knit block. I wondered what would happen if, instead of holding the yarn tight—which deformed the first few purl stitches—I manually rotated the stitches toward the front of the needle before making the first purl stitch.
I had to practice a bit to perfect the technique and increase my knitting speed while doing it, but that eventually solved the problem.
Each knitter struggles with those little imperfections that detract from their knitting. Each of us is different: our hands, the way we hold the needles; how we execute the various stitches; and on and on. Because of those personal differences, all knitters have to experiment to find the best way to solve each of the issues that surface in their knitting. I hope some of these tips will be helpful to other knitters.