I am a very novice knitter trying to do a small blanket with a basic knit stitch. I am working with 100% cotton yarn and I have 16 inch bamboo needles. I cast on fine and where I am getting stuck is on the knit stitch. I do the first stitch and as I pull the loop onto the second needle I develop this slack in my piece. between the two needles that worsens with each stitch.

How do I fix this?


Please see the image below, I am developing slack after the first stitch that grows with each iteration. I have just pulled the loop off my non working needle. I make my loops fairly tight as well so I do not think the slack is coming from there. After I put my working needle through the leg in the knit direction I pull the thread through and I tighten the thread going towards my yarn ball.

I am beginner but this is preventing me from even getting a scrap knit together let alone a real project.

On the topic of yarn and needle size, I have really long needles and made the amateur move of just grabbing a set and throwing out the wrapping so I cannot give you a diameter either. The yarn brand is Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton, it does not list a needle size on the package.

Thank you for the advice thus far... I am determined to get something going eventually.

Example of Problem after first stitch

  • If you have a picture of what it looks like as you are working it wouldnt hurt.
    – Matt
    Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 19:14
  • 1
    I have really long needles and made the amateur move of just grabbing a set and throwing out the wrapping so I cannot give you a diameter either. - Unrelated to the question but a knitting needle gauge is helpful when your needles don't indicate their size but you can measure them in millimeters with a ruler too.
    – BSMP
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 21:28
  • 1
    The yarn brand is Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton, it does not list a needle size on the package - You can often find that on the web site for the yarn manufacturer or on Ravelry.
    – BSMP
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


From the image you've shown it looks like you're on the first row of knitting after casting on, and it also looks like you've used a loop (a.k.a. backwards loop) cast-on method.

It's common to get an ever-increasing amount of slack on the first row when using this kind of cast-on. A loop cast-on is easy to do, but hard to do well because the tension used when casting on is fiddly. If you keep knitting this piece the knit stitches will even out, but they might not even out completely.

I recommend starting with a long tail cast-on. It will take a little longer to get the hang of, but you won't have the slack problem.

  • You are spot on with my cast on method and thank you for the feed back. I am going to try and learn the long tail cast-on. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 1:11
  • Hey @TheCodeNovice I actually just edited the answer. dstinard wrote it and deserves your thanks. As such, I've edited your comment.
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 1:27
  • The long tail cast on method was a marked improvement over my previous approach. There is hope after all. Thank you ! Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 15:54

The slack in the work between the needles will even out with the next stitch.

The slack in the yarn you are using to make the new stitches should be pulled tight when you make your stitch. While your attention is on it you will find that your new stitches might look different from the one you made before.

It is mostly better to knit a small piece that is not going to be used for anything before starting a proper project.
In that trial piece you can make all beginners mistakes and work till your stitches are even.
Then there is time to start your first real project.

I agree with Belle that your yarn is not in scale with your needles.
I think you will feel better if you get a thick wool or fake wool in a light or bright colour, you do not need much, the smallest amount they sell.
Second hand shops, charity shops, trift shops often have some that people donated, new and with the wrapper. Get one that ask for the size of needles you have.
And start with no more than 20 stitches to get to know knitting.

The slack as is in your picture is what I would expect in my own knitting, in the next row I would not let it grow.

But you do not make it easy on yourself with your choice of yarn and needles.

  • I updated my post with a picture, my slack increases by the stitch. I am doing something wrong but I feel I am getting the process of the knit stitch correct. How much slack is ok? Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 17:35

What Willeke says is good advice. Also: make sure you use the right size needle.

Your yarn will indicate what needle size you should use. This can either be in mm, UK sizes or US sizes. My current yarn says 7-8mm needles for example.

Different people have different knitting styles. I personally like knitting tight. I will prefer the larger size in the range. Actually, I even went up to 10mm for my project, to create a more open effect.

Choosing the right size needle will make your knitting feel more natural. Experiment a few rows with your needles until you feel you have the right ones.

  • Is cotton hard work with? I do notice when looking at videos that my yarn is much thinner. I just want something washable so I am avoiding wool and I like the natural aspects of cotton over a acrylic/polyester blend. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 17:36
  • Good advice, as it looks like the needles are rather thick for the yarn.
    – Ji Ugug
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 18:20
  • @TheCodeNovice thickness of yarn doesn't matter for how it works. You should try to get needles that are the right size for your yarn though. As Jo Ugug points out, yours seem too thick.
    – Belle
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 18:34
  • @TheCodeNovice this is my most recent knitting which seems of similar thickness to yours: i.imgur.com/Hi380Z6.png, done on 4mm (US 8) needles. The first stitch is always a bit sloppy for me too :) is this your yarn? michaels.com/sugar-n-cream-yarn-solids/M10147254.html
    – Belle
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 18:43
  • @Belle yes that is the yarn that I am using. I bought a set of metal #4 circular neddles and that seemed to help a bit. Now if anything, I do not have enough slack. Do you have a tip on getting just the right amount of tension on your cast on loops. I found that I was having a hard time getting in there as I went to 2nd and 3rd passes. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 17:45

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