22 comments on “Checking Gauge

  1. Thank you so much for doing all these tutorials. Even this simple gauge video helped. I would have given up on learning how to knit already if it wasn’t for them. Thanks again!

  2. I am starting a project for a fitted cardigan that has been translated from German. It took me awhile to figure out how this piece would be constructed but I finally got it. (Makes me really appreciate how straight forward your patterns are!) Length is given in rows, not inches.

    Gauge was set at 19 st. x 27 rows = 4″ in stockinette.

    So I knitted a 5″ square (in the recommended yarn), washed and blocked it. My stitch gauge is 19 st. x 22 rows. So I take it my cardigan will be too short? Sorry, but this kind of thing makes my brain hurt!

    So my main question is how do you adjust for row count differences in this situation?

    Thanks so much! Like the previous comment, I would have thrown out all my knitting if it weren’t for you!

  3. Peggy – most patterns give you both row and stitch gauge, but really only use stitch gauge.

    For example – a pattern will tell you how many to cast-on (an exact number of stitches), but instead of telling you an exact number of rows to work, it will say “knit for 5 inches”. That makes row gauge unimportant.

    If row gauge does turn out to be important in this pattern, you can either work from the schematic drawing to get the correct length, or do the math to figure out exactly the length the designer is telling you based on the row count.

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

  4. Hi Stacie!!
    First, I want to thank you for your videos! They are so easy to understand and have inspired me to knit something a little more difficult than scarves and afghans!
    I am attempting to start knitting a hat and I made a swatch to check my gauge but I’m way off by like 4 stitches! The pattern calls for 12sts in 4 inches. I have 16sts. I am using 10 1/2 size needles, which is what the pattern called for. How drastically do I need to change my needle size? Or am I checking the gauge incorrectly? Thank you!!


  5. Hi Cara – if you’re following the video, you’re checking gauge correctly. That said, you’re only off by one stitch per inch. I would go up one needle size and see what happens. The needle sizes get fewer and further between when you get much bigger than that! Good luck!

    S t a c i

  6. Thanks for the helpful video, I have a question about the swatch. when you block the swatch how do you pin it? i.e., do you stretch it to a certain size? how you pin the swatch will probably effect the stitch count at the end. thank you for your help.

  7. Christine – unless you are knitting lace, you don’t want to stretch it. You want to see what the gauge will be without manipulation. You can use pins to square out the corners, but not to stretch the swatch.

    S t a c i

  8. Great video! I am always struggling with gauge. I usually end up with my row and stitch counts off in the opposite direction (too many stitches/too few rows or vice versa) but I will try your suggestion about doing math to calculate inches from rows specified in the pattern.

    I do have a question: my pattern gauge specified 18 stitches and 32 rows per 4 inches. I came out with 17 stitches and 32 or 33 rows (It’s in between). If I am only off by 1 stitch in 4 inches, do you think that changing needle sizes will just make my gauge off in the opposite direction? I assume I would have to swatch to be sure, but in the case that changing needles size makes things worse, is there anything to be done? Do you just go with whatever needle gets you closest and hope for the best?

  9. Thank you for the note, Naomi. To address your question – you’ll never know until you try swatching with a different needle size. Also, it is important to wash and block your swatch before you check gauge – you may end up with totally different numbers after the swatch is washed and blocked.

    S t a c i

  10. I trying to knit a gauge swatch and I have to many stitches per inch, so do I go up or down a needle size, sorry I have tried both , not working very well.

  11. Hi Staci!

    How do you measure gauge in a stitch other than stockinette? For example I am trying to knit a sweater and the gauge is 13sts and 26rows = 4″ in Mesh st on size US 10 needles

    Mesh st: (even # of sts)
    Row 1: k1, *yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1. Rep Row 1 every row for patt.

    I don’t know how to count the stitches – Please Help!

  12. Alicia – instead of trying to count difficult stitches, start by casting-on the exact number of stitches you’re targeting for 4″. Cast-on 13 (in your case), knit the swatch, wash and block it. If you’re swatch is exactly 4″, you’re good. If it’s smaller, you need to go up a needle size (or more), if it’s too big, you need to adjust your needle size down.

    S t a c i

  13. Bea – the standard number to cast-on is whatever number the pattern gives for gauge over 4 inches (10cm). If the pattern says “4 inches = 20 stitches and 25 rows”, cast-on 20.

    S t a c i

  14. Hi Staci
    I have made a swatch and the gauge is slightly off. It asks for 1st and 26 rows for 4 inches. My swatch is 15.5 stitches and 23 rows, shall I go down a whole needle size or a half for this difference to correct? Thanks so much for your help, Suzie 🙂

  15. Susan – I think your question is missing a number (1 stitch and 26 rows?)…but I’m guessing that your gauge is still too tight. The only way to know if you’re correcting it or not is to try a larger needle size. There is no way to precisely predict the size until you test it.

    S t a c i

  16. Dear Staci,

    I just have one question. Why do you only knit when doing the stockinette stitch? I thought the stockinette stitch called for knit one row, purl one row. I am just curious. Thank you so much!


  17. Sarah – stockinette stitch is knit a row, purl a row if you are knitting a flat piece, and knitting every round if you are working in-the-round.

    S t a c i

  18. Hi Staci-

    I just purchased your hat with ear flaps pattern. I was wondering about making the gauge swatch. When making the 2×2 rib for the swatch I knit the way I will for the earflaps? How do I count these stitches? Finally, how would I wash and block the swatch? I just bought some wash solution from the local knitting store but I dont know how to block. Ive never done it before.

    Any help would be really appreciated! Thank you.


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