Friday, November 20, 2015

Do I Have a Tension Issue?

If I write something stupid you can blame it on the cold I picked up somewhere.  I feel absolutely miserable but if I don't post today, I might not get to it.

We had the photo shoot for the spring issue last week.  It went very well.  I took videos of all of the garments.  Here are a few with mine.  Here the for the Love Birds Dress.  The model is absolutely adorable and Kyle is a genius at working with kids.

Here is the video for the pleated linen shirt.  The drape of the Shibui Linen is amazing.

Here is the polka dot skirt & crop top.

All of these designs will be in the Spring 2016 issue of Cast On magazine which will be available in February.

I've been getting quite a few lessons to review lately.  Keep up the great work!

Often I decide on a topic based on what I have been seeing.  Lately I've had several students sent me photos wanting to know if they have a tension issue.  This post is not about how to fix tension as much as recognizing there is a problem.  I will have some suggestions at the end.  Tension is something that is at the heart of the Masters Program.  It is an absolute requirement and most knitters do not know if they have a problem or not.  There are several reasons for this.  Some yarns disguise tension issues.  If you use heathered or tweed yarn you might not notice it.  Since the swatch examples in many books and magazines have tension problems, you might not even know that this is an issue.  Your work looks like these examples.   Here is the video for this topic:Do I Have a Tension Problem

The following two photos show reasonable stockinette tension.  Do not every expect absolute perfection in hand knitting.  Machine knitting, yes, hand knitting, no.  Notice that the stitches are approximately the same size as the stitches on the same row and the rows below and above.

Sometimes tension issues are best seen on the WS.  Here is the WS of a piece with reasonable tension.  Notice that there are no gutters between the rows.

Now for the examples of poor tension.  Notice in the swatch below that the size of the stitches alternates from small to large.

It is much more noticeable on the WS.  I can't tell you the number of cabled sweaters I have seen where this is what separates the cables.  I had one knitter tell me that this was a special stitch pattern!

This type of tension issue is much more prevalent in continental knitters or knitters who work most of their projects in the round.  Generally, the knitter is not tensioning purl rows the same as knit rows.

This is another type of tension issue I routinely see.  Notice how one side is much longer than the other.  You can see that the size of the stitches alter from row to row.  Some knitters have this on the right side, other on the left and some on both sides.  This can really be problem in an actual project. One side is longer than the other.  A garment will not hang properly.  Seams look just awful.

Here is the WS of the work.

Tension issue are specific to individual knitters.  There are many factors that contribute to poor tension and fixing the problem can be complicated.  A former Co-Chairs of the Master Hand Knitting program has two excellent videos on diagnosing the cause and suggested fixed.  Here are the links:Knittingsuzanne #1 and Knittingsuzanne #2.  You will find these helpful.  The other suggestion I have, if you are a member of TKGA, is to sign up for Binka Schwan's Taming Your Tension class.  She works with you individually to find out why you are having issues and then to find solutions.  The class also covers tension issues with other stitch patterns.

I'm not having salon this week.  I would hate for anyone to get this cold for Thanksgiving.  I am going to the opera tomorrow, Lulu, which I have never seen but I am going alone and will sit miles away from anyone else.

I couldn't resist taking a few photographs of the skirt and top.  They look so much better on Julia than my dress form!

I'm still working on birthday presents.  This is a scarf.  It is quite long.  I used Zen Garden Serenity Silk +.  This took the entire skein.  I think there was 10 yards left over.

This is also Zen Garden.  This is a close up of the stitch pattern.

 Here is the scarf.  It is so soft.

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