What am I doing wrong

knit_knot_eat's picture

So I just learned last week how to knit, and was doing fine with the knit stitch. I then looked online and saw how to purl and I think I am doing that right too. Things look really good when I alternate rows. But I think I am doing something wrong on the ends of the rows. Both of my sides are curling up pretty bad. My guess is that I am starting the rows wrong and don't know how to properly change from one knit to purl and vice versa

YugiDean's picture

Essentially, it sounds like

Essentially, it sounds like you're just knitting in "stockinette" or "stocking stitch" where one side of the fabric is all knit stitches and the other side is all purl stitches. If you don't like the curling, you can add a border, make the item ribbed, knit in garter stitch (knit every row), OR, if you just really like the way stockinette looks on a scarf, but you don't feel comfortable attempting borders or rows, then just continue on with knitting the scarf (or whatever it is you're making). Then, when you are done, you can steam press the scarf to minimize curling. Just be careful how hot and how much steam you use depending on the type of fabric. This method will pretty much never get ALL the curl out, but if you're wrapping it around a lot and letting it hang naturally, it's not going to be that noticeable anyway. Plus, you can always just tell people you MEANT for it to look like that. ;-)

"Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread." --Richard Wright


Jaxom's picture

Hi Knitknoteat. I have just

Hi Knitknoteat. I have just started to knit so I understand what is happening to you. I don't whant to step on any toes here because looking at their work they are all real masters at knitting, but I will have a go at helping.
Step one. When you choose your ball of wool choose something nice and thick. thick wool knits up real quick and looks good too.
Step two. Look at the paper band that goes round the wool. As well as fibre content e.g Acrylic or Wool etc it will tell you roughly how many stitches and rows there should be to a 4"x4" square if you were to knit it in stocking stich. Also shown in that area is a suggested needle size. Match your yarn to your needle.
Step three. Make a easy project for your first time knitting and remember there are ONLY TWO stitches to master in knitting. Knit (Plain) & Pearl. All other stitches are variations of these two stitches.
Step four. A scarf is normaly about 8" wide. you know from the band round your wool how many stitches there are to 4" so just cast on twice this number. If you are using Double Knit yarn you would use the recomended 4mm needles. for DK yarn the number of stitches to 4" is 22. using this information cast on 44 stitches.
Step Five. Knit (Plain) all the stitches on the first three rows. This is 'Row one', 'Row two' and 'Row three'
Next row Knit one, knit one, Pearl 40, knit one, knit one. this is 'Row Four'
Next row repeat 'Row one'
Next row repeat 'Row Four'
If you were reading this as a pattern it would say the following.
Using DK yarn on 4mm needles CO 44 stitches.
Row1. K44
Row2. K44
Row3. K44
Row4. K1, K1, P40, K1, K1
Row5. repeat Row 1
Row6 repeat Row 4
Repeat row 1 and 4 until scarf measures desired length and then on last three rows K44. Cast off (Bind off) in knit stitch direction. To Cast off (Bind off) knit two stitches and then slide the first stitch over the second stitch and off the point of the right hand needle. Knit the third stitch and slide the second stitch over the third stitch and off the point of the right hand needle. Continue until all the stitches are off the right hand needle. Pass the yarn through the final loop (Stitch) pull to tighten off and cut yarn leaving a trailing yarn of 5". With wide blunt sewing needle or crocet hook weave trailing yarn back through work to make tidy finish.
This scarf will not curl at the bottom nor at the edges.
I hope this helps from one beginer to another.

knit_knot_eat's picture

I'm using size 7 circular

I'm using size 7 circular needles

Jason1978's picture

okay, and what yarn??

okay, and what yarn?? because it might be that your needles are too big

Jason1978's picture

The easiest way to make a

The easiest way to make a scarf would be knit only...so knit every round and forget about purling....
It sounds to me that you have loosened the tension which may make you knitting look messy, also, what size needles are you using?

knit_knot_eat's picture

Reading those patterns

Reading those patterns didn't help. I don't know how to read them. They made no sense.
I only know how to cast on, knit and purl. Now what? Do I need to learn something else? Do I need to learn better how to switch from one stitch to the next? When switching stitches do I just do the other stitch or do I need to reposition the yarn first?

MMario's picture

yes, you reposition the yarn

yes, you reposition the yarn when you change from a knit to a purl or vice versa.

Hopefully someone who remebers the first few days of knitting better then I (it was almost 50 years ago for me) will hop on here and give you some commentary.

irregular stitches though are VERY common among beginners. The thing to do it plan on trashing that first project.

Try this. Cast on 36 stitches. Knit across for 6 or 8 rows. (garter stitch)
then change to:

Right side: purl 3, knit 30, purl 3
"wrong" side: purl 36

and just keep on going as you get more and more comfortable with switching between purl and knit.

you can always rip it out later if you want to.

knit_knot_eat's picture

So now I am have a problem

So now I am have a problem switching mid row (first and last 3 stitches) from knit to purl and from purl to knit. I am trying to make something small for a first project that just looks somewhat respectable. At the beginning like I said the ends curled up. Now the ends look a bit messy.
Made there is just a simple patter for something like a pot holder or a scarf I could follow.
Where can I find something

MMario's picture

try googling dish clothes or

try googling dish clothes or face cloths.




Don't get discouraged! Switchiing between purl and knit and maintaining an even tension does take practice.

MMario's picture

To border it with garter

To border it with garter stitch select a few stitches on either side (I usually use 3 or so) and either ALWAYS knit those stitches or ALWAYS purl those stitches, no matter if you are on a "knit row" or a "purl row".


Jason1978's picture

I could explain in a

I could explain in a different way but QueerJoe is right!

QueerJoe's picture

Hi Jeff...sounds like you're

Hi Jeff...sounds like you're doing everything perfectly.

When you knit on one side and purl on the other, you're doing stockinette stitch which will curl on the edges.

Those sweaters that were popular at J Crew for a while called roll-neck sweaters used the curling principle of stockinette stitch as a design element.

If you want to prevent curling of your fabric, you can always border it with ribbing or some other combination of knits and purls that isn't stockinette.