How to Fix Rowing Out in Knitting

Have you ever been working along on a piece of stockinette knit flat, only to discover that your stitches look somewhat uneven and stripy? You might be struggling with rowing out.

In this post, we’ll talk about how to diagnose rowing out, what causes it, and how to fix it.

What is Rowing Out?

Rowing out is a stitch issue where one row of stitches will have a different tension from the other. When that happens, it’ll show up as a slightly stripy texture in your knitting when you look at the stockinette side. If you’re experiencing rowing out, it’s because your knit stitches and purl stitches have different tension.

An Easy Solution: Change Your Purl Style

There are lots of different ways to make a purl stitch, and some of them naturally create tighter tension than others do. If you find that your current purling style is too loose, you might be better served by trying a different purl technique. This is a great way to fix uneven tension.

A Trickier Solution: Retrain Your Muscle Memory

Over the last several years, I have taught my hands to pull tighter on purl stitches and loosen up a bit on knit stitches. This has been a challenge, but with some experimentation and awareness, I have managed to even up the gauge enough that a little blocking helps fix any minor rowing out I still experience.

Finally, if you’re working with a yarn that is mostly natural fibers, blocking your project can help settle any minor rowing out issues. While it can’t fix uneven tension that is really significant, blocking is a great tool for fixing less significant issues.

Learn more about how to correct rowing out on my blog. Plus, find helpful tips and tricks to improve your knitting, patterns, tutorials, and more.