When you knit or crochet your stitch size has a significant impact on your final result. If you knit/crochet with the wrong tension, you may end up with something too long or too short, too narrow, or too wide.
When you buy a knit or crochet kit at Kit Couture, you will get a free swatch measurer in your knit. Then you can always measure if you have the right knit or crochet tension.
You can avoid that your project turns out being too long or too short, too narrow, or too wide by making a swatch before you commence your project.
Commence by casting on the number of stitches that are indicated in the pattern under the tension paragraph – and add five stitches to each side, so the swatch becomes wider than 10 cm!
Knit the swatch, so the height measures 12 cm. In this way, the swatch becomes taller than 10 cm – making it ideal for measuring.
In the pattern, it is written which technique you need to apply for the swatch. Be aware that your tension can differ, depending on whether you are knitting in the round, or back and forth.
When you have finished your swatch, soak it in lukewarm water, press out the excess water and let it dry. Some yarn qualities change a lot when they are soaked, and the stitches fall into place.
Place your swatch measurer on top of your swatch to see if the measurements match the pattern.
Count how many stitches you have within 10 cm when measuring horizontally.
Count how many stitches you have within 10 cm when measuring vertically.
If your tension does not match the pattern, you must make a new swatch with a different needle size.
- If there are too many stitches within the 10 cm, you need to switch to a larger needle size.
- If there are too few stitches within the 10 cm, you need to switch to a smaller needle size.
The three swatches in the picture are worked in garter stitch on respectively needles size 4.5 mm, 5 mm, and 5.5 mm, and the tension is respectively 20.5, 19.5, and 18.5 stitches per 10 cm measured horizontally.
As you can see, there is a minor difference in size. It does not seem like much. But if you are knitting a sweater where the final chest circumference is supposed to be 95 cm, and the tension is supposed to be 19.5 stitches measured horizontally, then if your tension measures 20.5 stitches, the circumference will end up being 90 cm. With 18.5 stitches, the circumference will end up measuring 100 cm.
As you can see, the tension is crucial for your final result.
Be aware that the tension can differ if you knit using different techniques, e.g. garter stitch combined with a fair isle.
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