This tension square marks the start of a new project and maybe even a new approach to knitting.
I'm about to start knitting "Battersea". The Old Katherine would already be 1160 stitches into the garment but the New Katherine has knitted a tension square. And then measured it. And then washed it. And then measured it again. And what did we find? Well, my tension is spot on (22 stitches and 30 rows, just as it says on the pattern) – phew! And, when "hand washed" cold, the fabric didn't shrink – which is a relief as it avoids any potentially complicated maths and future disappointment.
Of course, the big question is: Did I really need to do this? Well, maybe. Aside from one notable disaster the very beginning of my knitting career, my tension has been pretty good. But this isn't to say that I wasn't going to learn something from this exercise. The lace pattern is new to me so I guess that it's good to ensure that my knitting is likely to remain as consistent when following this 12 row repeat as it is with stocking-stitch. And this is a new yarn (50% wool, 50% cotton) and so it's best to be safe to take into account its future care. Will the colour bleed? Will the fabric shrink?
Still, there is a part of me that can't help but think that all of this is overkill. Good preparation, maybe, but it's not the most exciting of knits. Question is, will this really become part of Katherine's Standard Knitting Practice? Hmmm... let's see how we start the next project.