Explaining the importance of Knitting Tension.
Tension is the most important aspect of knitting. To get the right tension when knitting ensures a garment that is finished to the size required, and in the long term, less ripping and frustration. Understanding tension is the answer to successful knitting and obtaining the correct width. Knitting is a relaxing, rewarding and enjoyable hobby not a stressful, frustrating task where one hopes with a wing and a prayer the garment fits!
Remember you are in charge of the finished product and getting the size right is very simple. Also note that no two people will knit the same, both will have different tensions. This is the reason why it is never a good idea to have someone else finish knitting something you have started. Most patterns give a tension square with the number of stitches and quantity of rows equaling a measurement.
For example: 22sts x 14rows = 10cm (4ins).
This is the designers tension and the pattern is based on this.To get the exact finished size garment, the tension square the designer is working in must be achieved. One or two stitches more or less than the tension square can mean a big size difference. If you obtain the right stitch tension and the rows are more or less, then ignore the difference and continue on.
If the tension square measures less than the required width, try a larger size needle.
If the tension square measures bigger than the required width try a smaller needle.
Substituting different yarns instead of using the suggested yarn and getting the correct results is possible only if the proper tension square is used. In most cases if the same ply of yarn is used the tension square will be the same.