For the best knitting results, it's important that you check your tension.
For great results from your knitting, it's very important to ensure that you have the correct tension.
The tension is usually stated on knitting patterns and often on the ball bands of the yarn you're knitting with. Many knitters can see it as a chore or a waste of yarn to knit a tension square. But it is necessary if you want a garment that fits well and looks fantastic. If your tension is too tight, the result will come up smaller or shorter; if too loose, you'll find that the garment is too baggy.
Make a tension square measuring 6x6in (15x15cm) using the yarn and needles in the size that the pattern states. Then pin it to a padded surface, gently smoothing it out, being careful not to distort the stitches.
To work out the tension, use a pin as a marker and insert it vertically between two stitches, then, using a rigid ruler, horizontally measure 4in (10cm) and place another pin in the fabric. Count the number of stitches between the two pins and if your tension matches the pattern, you can start knitting. If you have more stitches than is stated on the pattern's tension guide, your knitting is too tight; try making another square knitted on needles that are one size bigger. If you have fewer stitches, then your tension is too loose, so knit another square on smaller needles.
To check row tension, horizontally insert a pin and measure 4in (10cm) vertically then insert another. Count the rows between the pins: if they match the pattern, your tension is fine. If there are more or fewer rows, use smaller or larger needles to create another square.