What's a tension square?
A tension square helps you to understand what the finished size of your item will be.
It refers to the number of stitches and rows worked over a certain area.
A typical tension square is made across 10cm/4in. If you take a look at the ball of yarn you have this will be on the band. If you're trying to find this on our website, it will be under the Additional Info tab.
For example: A 10 x 10cm square of Emu Classic DK knitted on 4mm needles should contain 22 stitches and 30 rows.
If you cast on and knit 22 stitches and 30 rows and the tension square is too big, your finished item will be bigger. This is when people refer to themselves as "loose" knitters. To fix this you could try going down a needle size by a half or one size. Don't decrease your needle size any more than this though as it will change the appearance of the knitted fabric and could make it very stiff.
If you find it's smaller than expected, then the item will be smaller. You may be a "tight" knitter. To fix this you could try increasing your needle size by a half or one size. Don't increase your needle size much more than this otherwise the fabric could end up looking quite gappy.
Still not right!
If once you've changed your needle size you find your tension is still quite different than the pattern, you may want to make either a size up or down.
It is very important to follow the tension stated in the pattern otherwise the finished item may end up much smaller or larger than intended.