tensioning your yarn

To the outsider, knitting, crocheting and all the other needlecrafts seem like a complex compendium of techniques, practices and procedures requiring surgeon-like precision. In actuality, it's bike-riding style repetition that will seem just as easy as pedalling when you have the finer points down pat. Throughout the next few entries of the Ajanta Studios blog, we'll be covering some of the necessary tricks to learn when operating a pair of knitting needles, with today's tutorial being how to tension your yarn when knitting.

By the phrase 'tensioning', we simply mean the way you have to hold it, and the way you manipulate it whilst knitting. This is important as doing it correctly allows you to knit faster, and your burgeoning blanket or jumper-in-the-making will come out as a more even final product! There's a variety of methods, but the one we've chosen is a commonly used approach compatible with both English-style and continental knitting.

Step 1: 

To start, grab the working yarn with your pinky finger at a point that's close to the working needle. Create an almost-half-loop around your pinkie finger.

Step 2: 

Complete the loop around your pinkie finger, then pass it under and in between the pinkie and ring finger. Remember to keep it close to the working needle, just so you can pull further away if needed.

Step 3: 

Weave the working yarn back over the ring finger. Just to reiterate, that's over the pinkie, around, and over.

Step 4: 

Keep weaving the yarn through your fingers, going under the middle finger, and then coming over the index finger.

You should now be able to stretch out your index finger to provide tension across the working yarn, ensuring each stitch comes out even. As you hold the tension between your finger and the needle, your index finger should be stretched up, with the smaller fingers squeezing on the yarn between each of them.

If you find your finger keeps getting rubbed as you knit, you could cover it with a tape or plaster, or more simply just extend your finger a bit further. Another potential point of nuisance is if you lose the tension between strokes, so take some time getting into the momentum of keeping the yarn tense, before releasing it each time you put the stitch onto the needle.

Have any knitting practices or techniques you'd like us to cover in more depth for future blog posts? Let us know by posting or messaging us at the Ajanta Studios Facebook page, Twitter and Google+.


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