How to Tension Your Yarn When Knitting

How to Tension Yarn when Knitting

This video knitting tutorial will help you learn how to tension your yarn when knitting. I get a lot of questions about how I hold my yarn when I knit. There are many ways to hold your yarn. This is just one way. If you have another way that works for you don’t feel like you need to change. This method will work for both english style and continental style knitting. Having good tension will make your knitting more even and even help you knit faster.

Skill: Beginner


Step 1: Pick up your working yarn close to the working needle by scooping it up with the pinkie of your dominant hand.
Step 2: Wrap the working yarn around your pinkie, going under and in-between your pinkie and ring finger.
Step 3: Wrap the working yarn over your ring finger.
Step 4: Wrap the working yarn under your middle finger.
Step 5: Wrap the working yarn over your index finger.

Keep your hand closed to put tension on the yarn and open your fingers to let slack come through as you knit.

Here is what the yarn should look like threaded through your fingers:
How to Tension Yarn When Knitting (front)
How to Tension Yarn When Knitting (back)

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12 thoughts on “How to Tension Your Yarn When Knitting

  1. StephanieA47 says:

    I love all your tutorials!   My level of knitting is more then moderate and I still like even the most basic techniques videos.  When I’m teaching friends to knit, I direct them to tutorials to use when I can’t be there with them, and they need the basics covered when just beginning.  So no tutorial is too basic and simple for me!   Thanks Johnny. 

  2. Dinahflo says:

    Thank you very, very much for this ! I have been holding my working yarn grasped in my right hand and moving my entire hand each time I make a stitch. I am left – handed, but knit right handed, so this may take me a while to be able to do, but it looks so efficient and comfortable. It helped me very much to actually see and hear you explain how to do this. Thank you for helping me and also for teaching us so many great stitches!

  3. StephanieA47 says:

    Also, did I mention I love the new website and format and the music at the start of the video?  Well, I love it!

  4. suzberrydotnew says:

    My granddaughter wants me to teach her how to knit. This tutorial will help me remember where to start for her. It’s sometimes hard to remember how far back we need to go to get to the beginning. I’ve been a YouTube and now an email subscriber and enjoy your tutorials very much. Thanks. Suzanne

  5. bettyann says:

    Hi Johnny, I enjoyed your video How to tension your yarn when knitting. I would also like to see a video by you while purling and also for knit one and purl one?    Enjoy your video.  Thanks for making them so easy to understand.  Betty

    • newstitchaday says:

       @bettyann You might want to check out these: and×1-rib-stitch/

  6. SUNNIE WILSON says:


  7. says:

    Hi and thanks for this excellent vid. I’m a thrower who wants to gain speed and am getting comfortable with your finger motion for the knit stitch. I tried it with purl, is it basically the same as it runs through your fingers?
    I watched the purl video but it was for very basic, I’d like to see your tension technique in video for the purl and k1p1 stitches. Thanks, that would help, Abby

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