Knitting Machine Gauge and Tension

Carriage and Mast Tension Dials

Just like hand knitting, machine knitters can easily adjust the tension and gauge of their knitting.

  • Maybe you want to keep out the cold with a thick, tight knitted fabric for hats and mittens.
  • A loose, open, drapey fabric may be just the ticket.

With a little experimenting you can have these and everything in between.


The Stitch Dial on your carriage controls how the yarn passes through the carriage and is placed in the hooks of the needles. A smaller number makes a tight stitch, a larger number makes a loose stitch.

Think of the stitch/tension dial on your carriage as the size of your hand knitting needle

Stitch Dial / Tension Dial
Stitch Dial / Tension Dial

The Mast Tension Dial, along with the yarn guides/tension springs (antennae) control the tension of the yarn as it’s fed into the carriage.

Think of the mast tension dial as the tension a hand knitter would apply to the yarn with her fingers.

Mast Tension Dial

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