4 Reasons to knit a tension square
The knitting of tensions squares is the subject of heated debate in many knitting circles. Here are 4 consequences of not knitting the hotly contested tension square.
1. Too big.
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I once met a crafter who knit a sweater large enough to house her entire extended family and half of her hometown, all because she didn’t knit a tension square. ”I followed the pattern exactly,” she said, though her tension was all wrong. She didn’t realize her mistake until it was too late, and the giant sweater smothered her and half of Iowa.
2. Too small.
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You spent months knitting Uncle Harry a traditional fun Christmas sweater for the annual family gathering, but your tension was all wrong and now all of the kids are posting this picture on Instagram. Uncle Harry says he’ll never live this down at work. Save Uncle Harry’s dignity. Knit a tension square (especially when knitting for other people).
3. Holey knitting, Batman.
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Sometimes we skip the tension square because it’s boring, and we know our personal tension – too loose, too tight, we can make adjustments! But it’s too late for adjustments when you’re halfway through the front of a sweater and you have to face the fact that blocking won’t fix the fact that your cabled fisherman sweater looks like a lacy openwork summer top.
4. Existential despair.
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After spending countless hours knitting a garment for ourselves or a loved one, realizing that it doesn’t fit can be heartbreaking. Frogging an intricately cabled sweater can make a knitter want to use their needles as bonfire kindling and leave the yarn to the cats. I know a knitter who buried his needles in the backyard and left them there for 6 months after a particularly traumatizing situation involving an intricate lace panel cardigan that was 6 inches too short.
How about you, knitters? To tension square, or not to tension square? That is the question.
Last updated: April 7th, 2015.