September 25th, 2012

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Keeping Even Tension in Ribbing

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This week’s tip coms from Ysolda Teague’s latest book, Little Red in the City. It’s filled with fantastic tips and tricks to making your knitting neater and easier resulting in a stunning finished product.


Uneven tension in your knitting results in sloppy looking stitches that can really distract from your stitch pattern and your overall project. This tension problem can be really obvious in ribbing. A lot of people purl looser than they knit. This makes the preceding knit stitch appear sloppy and uneven since any slackness in your purl stitch is actually traveling backwards to your knit stitch.


To fix this, work all purl stitches in Eastern style. The difference between Eastern and Western style is simply the direction in which the yarn is wrapped around the needle when working the stitch. Most people knit Western style, which wraps the purl stitches counter clockwise. Eastern purls stitches clockwise. The yarn can be held in either the left or right hand. Wrapping the yarn clockwise follows a shorter path around the needle, putting less yarn into the stitch. On the following row, knit into the back loop of your knit stitches.


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Customer Service Liaison at WEBS - America's Yarn Store
I started working at WEBS in September 2010. I learned how to knit 5 years ago and have been crocheting since childhood. When I'm not knitting, I love to be outside with my Black Lab, Ellie.
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  • Geri

    Great tip!

  • Michelle McMillen

    So this works only for back-and-forth knitting and not in the round?

  • Holli

    I’m confused about the next row part. You would ktbl of a purl stitch?

  • Grace

    When knitting flat, knit into the back loop of your knit stitches. You don’t need to purl into the back of your purl stitches when knitting flat.

  • Grace

    When knitting in the round, purl into the back of your purl stitches.

  • Krista Esposito-Polinsky

    What if you are left handed, would you still wrap yarn clockwise?

  • Melissa Hahn

    So you do this with ALL purl stitches front AND back when knitting flat?

  • Samina

    What pattern is this?

  • Sara Delaney

    hi Samina,

    There’s no particular pattern here, just a swatch using 2×2 ribbing to demonstrate the technique.