Even Tension

I’ve been thinking about tension.

Folly Cove Swatch

Folly Cove Swatch

Knitters try to keep an even tension on the fabric while knitting. If you stretch the yarn too much, the fabric will not be the proper gauge, so the garment won’t fit properly. If fact in British knitting books, gauge is called tension.

In lace knitting, when all the knitting is done, the piece is blocked or stretched into shape and kept at tension to reveal the intricate patterns. Without this step, the lace looks like a lump of fine yarn.

TdF 2013, Day Nine #2

Spinning Yarn

To create yarn on a spinning wheel, you  adjust how much pull the wheel has on the fiber you are spinning. Hand spinners call this  ‘take up.’ Mechanics call it torque. But it is a kind of tension — the spinner holds the fiber as the wheel adds twist. Hold the fiber too tightly, and the yarn has too much twist. Hold it too loosely and the yarn pulls apart.

In weaving, the loom holds warp threads at tension while you weave the weft. On the loom, the fabric is taut and almost stiff.  When the you finish and remove the fabric  from the loom, it relaxes as the warp threads expand into the spaces. If you left enough space, the fabric has drape and softness. Not enough space, and you have cardboard.

SE Weaving Club, August 2013, Captured


I wonder if  all this tension helps knitters, spinners and weavers to release their own inner stresses.