Basket Icon
Our Top Sellers

Attention Tension!

I can’t stress how vital the correct tension is to a finished garment. Many knitters bypass this stage because they are so excited about casting on their latest project. But why spend all those hours knitting a sweater or cardigan only to find it doesn’t fit! Investing time in a tension square is, for me, Knitting 101! The chart below gives a guideline to approximate tensions for varying yarns.


Yarn Weight

Needle Size

Usual Tension over 10cm x 10cm




2 ply/Fingering


Approx 34 stitches and 42 rows

3 ply/Baby


Approx 32 stitches and 40 rows

4ply/Sport weight


Approx 24 stitches and 33 rows

Double Knit/Light Worsted


Approx 22 stitches and 30 rows



Approx 15 stitches and 20 rows



Approx 14 stitches and 19 rows



Check the pattern for the suggested gauge or tension. For this “how to” we’re going to use a suggested tension of 22 stitches x 30 rows using a 4mm needle. (Standard for Double Knit).

Cast on at least 30 stitches. Garter stitch (knit) first 4 rows. This will prevent the bottom edge from curling.

Proceed as follows:

Row 1: Knit all stitches.

Row 2: Knit 2 stitches, purl to last two stitches, knit 2,

Repeat the last two rows until you have an approximate square.

Garter stitch 4 rows and cast off.

Using two pins as markers, measure 10cm (or 4 inches) as pattern indicates and count the stitches between the pins. Note: stocking stitch appears as a series of “v”s.......count the “v” shapes between the pins, including any half stitches. Do the same for the rows. Hopefully you will have a tension which corresponds with the pattern – however, you may not. Do not despair and do not cast on in the hope that it will all be ok. Persevere with the tension squares and cast on again!

If you have too few stitches ie. 19, 20 or 21, your knitting is too loose and you should try a smaller needle size (ie.3.75mm or 3.50mm) This will increase the number of stitches per cm/inch. If you find you have too many stitches ie. 23 or 25, you are a “tight” knitter and should try a larger needle size (ie. 4.25mm/4.50mm).

If you are having problems achieving exactly the correct number of stitches and rows it is more important to have the right number of stitches.

Once you have completed the tension square to the correct gauge don’t discard it, but attach a note with the name of the yarn, tension details and needles used and it will become an invaluable future resource!