Fixing Common Tension Issues – Rowing Out


“Rowing out” is when stocking stitch is uneven in knitting. Generally the purl row of stitches is larger than the row of knit stitches, resulting in uneven gaps between the rows.

Mostly a result of the tension being looser on the purl row than the tension on the knit row. Many knitters find it hard to purl at the same tension that they work the knit stitch in.

If you row out, you can try to vary the tension at which you knit the purl row,  but I find once your hands have a muscle memory, it’s pretty hard to adjust.

You could of course simply try to avoid knitting stocking stitch or always knit in the round where you do not need to purl a row to make stoking stitch. Both of these solutions are really only avoiding the problem.

Continental knitters ( working yarn held in left hand) can try an alternate purl technique. Try using a Norwegian purl or a Lazy Russian purl technique. I personally use lazy Russian purl and find that solves my uneven tension when I knit continental.

An easy solution to ‘rowing out’  is to simply switch the needle you purl with one size smaller. This will tighten your stitches on the wrong side rows, where the rowing out happens. It may take some swatching to find the perfect adjustment but worth the effort for beautifully even stocking stitch.

So do you row out? and do you have any tricks for adjusting the tension issue?


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