Tension within knitting has traditionally been seen as an essential part of making any knitted item.  There are countless patterns that state that the results cannot be guaranteed unless the proper tension is achieved by the knitter.   This puts pressure on the knitter to get it right and leaves an element in the mind of the knitter that it may all end in disaster.

She then goes on to create a tension square before the item is knitted to ensure the results will be just as predicted.   This will give you a perfect reproduction of the toy or garment from the instructions provided.

knitted bears
knitted bears

I have spent some time recently putting this long established theory to the test with the designs that I create.  I took two patterns, just because I liked both of them, it wasn’t for any technical reason.   It was Stardust the Unicorn and All Bear One soft toy.   I knit both of them using 3mm needles and double knitting yarn.   I then knit the same pattern in chunky yarn on 5mm needles.    Both of these designs were originally designed for double knitting yarn.

knitted unicorns
knitted unicorns

The results were that both toys knitted up well, but not just that, the pieces fitted together lovely and at the end there was a perfect little and large toy that were exact reproductions of the pattern.

I know that this would not work when a piece has to be a specific size for a reason.   For example, the knitted toilet roll covers collection would not fit around a standard toilet roll if the tension was not somewhere close to the tension given on the pattern.

My conclusion from this little experiment is that tension isn’t important in toys unless there is a specific reason to have an element of the item at a specific size.  Go and experiment for yourself there are endless creations from just one pattern.

3 thoughts on “Is tension important when knitting toys?

  1. Anne says:

    Someone after my own heart! I have also experimented with different yarns and needle sizes to produce toys of different sizes and had great results. I agree that you need to achieve the tension for jumpers etc if they are to fit, with toys you can produce a family with big and little brothers and sisters!

    • vg says:

      I love all the possibilities and options for personalising toys that can be made from just one pattern, different yarns, needles and embellishments etc. I am glad that someone else has figured out that tension isn’t always a necessary part of knitting. Vicky x

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