Knitting a tension square in the round - preparing for the Flax Sweater by Tin Can Knits

If you knit a project in the round then you need to do your tension square in the round too. I can hear you asking why and it’s a bit technical, to do with the size of knit and purl stitches. 

Most of us knit to slightly different tension when we do a knit row as opposed to a purl row. When you knit in the round you are generally just working knit stitches so your tension will be different than when you work a straight piece of stocking stitch.

I have knitted three different tension squares to show you how they can differ.

Flax Sweater tension squares
My first swatch was knitted flat, stocking stitch with a garter stitch border. The second was knitted in the round using magic loop method. The third has been knitted using a method I found on Ysolda Teagues blog.

All of these were knitted on 5mm Lykke needles and all came up to a different tension. The knitted flat piece came up with the loosest tension, I achieved 19 stitches to 10cm In the round using magic loop was my tightest knit, 20 stitches to 10cm The third ‘ Easy way’ by Ysolda gave me 19.5 stitches. To knit the Flax sweater by Tin Can Knits I need to achieve 18 stitches across 10cms so I need to increase my needle size. I am not too concerned about my number of rows and most patterns give you a length to knit to and not number of rows.

Achieving tension is key to making a garment that fits you and knitting a tension square gives you the opportunity to try the yarn and needle combo you have picked. It is also a great thing to use when testing how to wash your garment.