So what about the tension?

A huge thank you for all your comments on my last post. It was really interesting. It seems that most of you learnt to knit using the throwing style. I wonder if that is because most of you are predominately English-speaking? I doubt I shall ever know.

I decided to do a bit more investigating into the different styles, both as a practice and out of interest too. I knitted up 3 swatches using each of the styles.

I knit and crochet tightly. This means that I have to use larger needles or crochet hooks than is mentioned in the pattern. I was interested to see if the different styles had any impact on my tension.

I took two measurements, one before blocking and one after:

First the Portuguese one

24st and 29 rows

24st and 29 rows

22 st     29 rows

22 st 29 rows









Then the continental:

25 st   33 rows

25 st 33 rows

26 st     30 rows

26 st 30 rows









Finally my original style:

25 st    33 rows

25 st 33 rows

25 st     32 rows

25 st 32 rows









To be honest this was not what I was expecting at all. Before blocking the Portuguese style of knitting was the tightest. This may be explained by the fact that the tension is not just done with your hands but around the pin/neck. This is very different to using your hands so may well explain the even tighter tension. The other two were exactly the same pre blocking. I guess I knit so tight that there is no room for getting any tighter!

The biggest surprise however was when I compared the pre and post blocking – they got smaller. I thought they got bigger! To be fair it was not an aggressive block, I simply took out the curl. I am still surprised. Before you ask, I only soaked them in a bit of water. Not hot as I put my hands in it.

To be honest I was hoping for a simple answer such as; If I use …….style my knitting is a better tension. I like easy answers but it seems that it is not to be.

I have the yarn to knit a cardigan so shall have to think some more about which style to choose. Which would you choose?


10 thoughts on “So what about the tension?

  1. Aisha

    For most of my life I have knitted with the RH needle tucked in my armpit and ‘throwing’ the yarn over the needle. It’s fairly common in northern England, I think. However, I’ve recently learned to knit in the German and I find it far more economical in terms of hand movement and it requires less space too.

    1. knitnrun4sanity Post author

      We tried your version because it is meant to be really quick. It is not for me though ( unless I break an arm!) One person thought it was better for her picture though. Thanks for taking the time to comment. X

  2. *Wisher*

    wow.. didn’t know that the different methods will result in such a huge difference. Like the Portuguese one is 22 stitches compared to the continental one 26. I believe if you are going for a cardigan.. we have to see what kind of yarn they recommend and try to match the best knitting style to their swatch too? lol.. not sure if I’m making any sense here? but I would love to hear your thoughts too.

      1. *Wisher*

        Yup I guess that do help and the we just have to match closest to the recommended stitches in the pattern chart right? Lol.. Or am I wrong here?

  3. feelgoodknitting

    Interesting! To be honest I would just stick to whatever style is going to keep you happy through the whole project. Cardigans are not fast, and you don’t want to get frustrated/bored and switch mid-way!


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