Having plenty of time on my hands, I've been going through my stash knitting swatches with my collection of needles. I knit continental. I started knitting these swatches to get a head start on projects with yarns I use a lot. As I was knitting these swatches, I have discovered that I am way out of the recommended gauge for the type of yarn. My stitches are too big. I maintain a firm grip on the yarn. I do shift down to smaller needles, but it gets to a point where the gauge starts staying the same no matter how small the needle size. And I still can't get the gauge to match the yarn's recommendation. Any suggestions?
Take a look at several of the videos on Youtube and see how different knitters tension their yarn. Also, remember that the needle size given on the ball band is just a recommendation to help you with the weight of the yarn, not an absolute number. That said, I can appreciate your problem. I'm a loose knitter and I always need to drop down one or two needle sizes to get gauge but usually that does it.