October 2nd, 2012

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Check your Gauge

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Ok, I know we’ve all heard this before; “Take time to save time, check your gauge!” 

Even though we all know we should, so many of us decide to go ahead with our project anyway throwing caution and common sense to the wind. I never knit gauge swatches either, assuming I would get gauge and cautiously sticking to patterns where gauge didn’t really matter. When my co-workers and I decided to knit a blanket for our friend getting married, gauge reared its ugly head. My square was so much smaller and almost roundish compared to my co-workers. While my square was small and tight, Tina’s square was huge and drapey. I ended up knitting the same squares as everyone else on a needle 3 sizes bigger. Tina had to go down two needle sizes to get the same gauge. We’re both experienced knitters, but the way we knit produced very different fabric.

Tina and I knit the same swatch, on the same needle size, with the same yarn to illustrate this point. My swatch is miniature compared to hers! The point of all this is, if Tina designed a pattern, and I attempted to knit that pattern without doing a gauge swatch, my project would be way too small. We’ve all heard knitter’s say, “I always get gauge”, but what if I designed a pattern? My gauge is obviously much smaller than most knitters, so you definitely wouldn’t automatically get gauge on my pattern.

The moral of the story is, do a gauge swatch every time!

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Grace

Customer Service Liaison at WEBS - America's Yarn Store
I started working at WEBS in September 2010. I learned how to knit 5 years ago and have been crocheting since childhood. When I'm not knitting, I love to be outside with my Black Lab, Ellie.
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  • jilld1970

    not very often. i know i should! shame on me!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dialfred Diane Meyers

    I always swatch. And I keep measuring as I go & adjust the pattern if necessary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jan.everett Jan Everett

    I do swatch. I buy good yarn and spend a lot of time on the things I make, and I want them to come out right. Too many early projects never panned out when I didn’t, so I’m not coming from high moral ground, just hard experience!

  • Tina

    I love to swatch. When I buy new yarn, I swatch in stockinette stitch. I do this just to test drive the yarn, even though I don’t have a pattern in mind. I also wash it, so by the time I do have a pattern ready, I can just lookup which yarn knits up at the given gauge.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.cox.549 Tracy Cox

    I made the mistake of knitting a hat and two, not one but TWO tams without knitting a gauge…. my hat was so big I had to give to a friend withlong hair….she had a full on bun in the hat…. and the tams looked like HUGE Pizza Pies!! I had to felt both, one was made with alapaca! GRRRR…
    Some lessions are hard learned!

  • http://www.facebook.com/woofbc Rachel Henry

    For what it is worth … I know myself to be a “loose” knitter. When I publish a pattern, I routinely recommend a needle one size smaller than the one I actually used, because that approximates “standard” gauge for that yarn/needle combination. I also use test knitters, to ensure that my guess at the “proper” size of needle is as correct as possible.

  • Rebecca

    I never swatch and the last sweater I made it might have been helpful to do so. Next one I will.

  • marin_knitwizard

    Great visual. I teach the importance of this to every class. It SO makes a difference. Been knitting almost 50yrs. and I still swatch. Yarns vary too much to take the chance it will “work out” if you don’t swatch. Swatching is your friend, it assures you get the right fit in your garment.

  • Lisa Sullivan

    I try but I think it ends up just confusing me so I give up. My lack of gauge swatch skills has kept me from trying to knit or crochet a fitted garment. :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/judy.casserberg Judy Casserberg

    1/2 stitch off gauge can make a difference of 4″ on an adult sweater. That is important! And it makes a great difference on the amount of yarn that you use.

  • MaryAnn

    yes. is gauge vertical and horizontal the same?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001031504555 Gabby Hobbs

    no, and my stuff usually doesn’t fit, too big. this is a really good visual, thanks