Tip Tuesday – Practicing Tension

Learning proper and comfortable tension can be frustrating in the beginning but, it’s something important and worth spending time on. Here’s why:

Tension that is too tight or too loose will affect the final appearance of your project. Sometimes patterns will include instructions on something called “gauge” or “swatch”. This is basically a small sample piece using stitches from the pattern worked into a few rows to make up a small square. If your little square (swatch) is bigger or smaller than the guage or swatch mentioned in the pattern, your finished piece will not be the same size. This is very important when making items like hats or clothing because you want the piece to match the proper sizing as written in the pattern. It would be so frustrating to spend time on a beautiful cardigan only to have it be too big or too small.

However, make sure to fully read the pattern instructions. For example: Amigurumi projects often require a tight tension. One of my cowl patterns states that a loose tension is used. Special stitch and tension instructions are often included in the notes of the pattern and it’s important to pay attention to them.

Tight Tension: If you stitches are too tight, it can pull the project in and make it difficult to maneuver your hook into the proper spaces. It can also make your project smaller than intended.

Loose Tension: If you have a tension that is too loose, the stitches can push outward and sometimes create gaps in the project. It can also make your finished piece bigger than it’s supposed to be.

How Can I Adjust Tension:
– Practice, practice, practice.
– Relax. How you feel can affect your stitches! If you’re feeling stressed or frustrated, your stitches may reflect that.
– Try adjusting the way you hold your yarn and hook but make sure it’s still comfortable for you.
– If you’ve been practicing and still not reaching a proper gauge required for a pattern, you might need to adjust your hook size. Go up or down a size and see how it works out. Go up a hook size if your tension is tight. Go down a hook size if your tension is loose.
– Make sure your yarn flows from your skein easily. If you’re constantly having to tug and pull it, that could contribute to difficulties in create balanced and even stitches.

How did you learn to make consistent stitches? Are you someone who naturally crochets tightly or more loosely? Let’s chat about it!

Leave a comment here or head over to my Instagram page @sweet_bee_crochet to leave a message there. Head over to my Contact page for other ways to get in touch.

Happy Crocheting!

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