Return to the Knitting Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Tension What am I doing wrong

Posted by stitcheasy2003 (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 31, 08 at 10:28

I don't know if anyone else gets soooooo frustrated when making a tension swatch. I sure do.
I can get the same amount of stitches on two different size needles.
I cast on 25 sts with a size 5mm and 5.5mm and get the same amount of stitches. What am I always doing WRONG??? I got 17 sts. This is always the problem when I knit. That's why I do dishcloths I don't need a tension for them.
Tension: 18sts-24rows-4"-5mm. For socks.
The yarn and pattern both have the same tension written on it.
How many different size needles do you use to get the correct tension?
How many stitches do you cast on?
What is it, that I am always doing wrong??
Thank you.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tension What am I doing wrong

stitcheasy2003, I have the same exact problem as you.

I like knitting fairisle sweaters and I start out just fine, but by the time I'm done, I've got a sweater that is so small - it would fit a child.

Just relax, and spend some time doing swatches. Try 6mm needles - I think we just tense up and it doesn't matter what size needle we use we get the same results.

Hope this helps a bit. I spent an entire night doing swatches. Now I have my needle sizes down pat - I've lost interest in another sweater!!


RE: Tension What am I doing wrong

I think it is plain silly to try to conform MY stitches to the stitches of someone else...why? So, I use a book THE SWEATER WORKSHOP, which doesn't require this...they have an easy to use formula included, but the idea is that you measure a sweater you have, that fits....then, make a swatch with the yarn you plan to use, on the needles you plan to use to knit the sweater...and, from these numbers, using the formula in the book, you determine how many stitches to cast on, and all the other changes...for sleeves, neck, etc....and, it's knit in the round. So, no more sewing pieces together and no more trying to match someone else's swatch! It's wonderful.

RE: Tension What am I doing wrong

Sandra, I am going to invest in the "book".

Thanks for the tip.


RE: Tension What am I doing wrong

How do you wrap the yarn around your fingers to knit? You need to play with the tension you are using holding the yarn and not so much by the needle sizes. I found out that if I wind (continental here)the yarn left to right under then over then back under my pinkie finger, under my ring finger and over the next two fingers I have the right tension for me and I can come pretty darn close to the yarn gauges on the patterns.

My method might be too tight for you or too loose, so you need to play around a bit but I'm guessing you need to loosen up the tension you are using. Hope that helps ;0)

Here is a link that might be useful: demo of continental and tension

RE: Tension What am I doing wrong

Gauge is an important part of knitting if you want the garment to fit properly.
If the needle suggested for the yarn does not give you the necessary gauge go up or down in size until you find the correct size. Whatever needle size gives you the proper gauge is the correct one for you to use. Gauge is determined by your knitting tension. The listed ball band gauge is based on a general gauge.
As for garments knitted in the round you must gauge in the round. Knitting flat and knitting in the round can produce a different gauge.
To gauge in the round cast on required stitches on a double point needle then knit a row, do not turn. Carry your yarn to the beginning of the row again and knit another row. This will leave long strands of yarn that join the swatch.
Hope this helps.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Knitting Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here