K3tog: a tip for tight knitters

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a tight knitter. This doesn’t trouble me much these days; I’ve loosened up enough that I don’t need to struggle to push each stitch along the needle one at a time the way I did when I was a child. I often get the gauge on the yarn label using the recommended needles. (Yes, really, though it’s not as useful as you’d think.) The biggest benefit to being a tight knitter is that I don’t need to knit socks using the thinnest needles.

But there’s times that it used to get a little aggravating, and I’ve realized that the reason those times don’t happen any more is that I’ve worked out various unconscious tricks for dealing with them. One of the things that used to vex me was knitting (or purling) three stitches together: such a struggle to get the needle through all three stitches at once!

Here’s how I loosen them up. It takes a little extra time, but it’s not a struggle and so the process is more enjoyable for me.

The trick is to move some of the slack from the rest of the row into the three stitches that are going to be knit together. Here’s the three tight stitches I’m about to knit together

First, I insert the needle into the first stitch as if to purl, without purling it or removing it from the needle. (Sorry some of these photos are a bit blurry.)

Second, I insert the needle into the first two stitches as if to purl them together, but I leave them there. I didn’t get a picture of it, but I slide the needle in until the thickest part of the needle is through both stitches. This gradual progression helps the yarn move the way it must to add some slack to the stitches.

Third, I insert the needle into all three stitches as if to purl them together. Hey, look: I could now purl them together if that’s what I needed to do.

But I’m knitting them together, so I remove the needle from all three stitches, leaving them on the needle where they were. Look, there’s a lot more slack now!

I can now easily insert the needle through all three at once from the front, ready to knit them together with no trouble.