I'm new to the forum and somewhat new to knitting (have only been doing so since mid-September). That being said, I knit three projects last month: a scarf, a hat, and a shawl/afghan combo (all out of Estelle Woolly Bully yarn- thick and thin yarn for those unfamiliar with it). Anyhow, the hat turned out okay, but is a bit loose on me, likely because I did not measure the gauge correctly. I am now planning on trying to knit a simple tank top. Its gauge is: 16 st. and 22 rows (to make a 4x4 in square). Here is the thing, though: I've never performed the vertical measure before. Why? Because my knitting instructor told me it was not necessary.
Yes, that is correct. The instructor who gave the knitting class I attended has been knitting for many decades, and she told me that only the horizontal measure is crucial when measuring gauge. She also seemed to have no issue with measuring from the edge. But again, here too, I'm not sure on is suppose to measure edge stitches, because they are distorted (stitches in the middle of the fabric are less so).
So what I'd like to know are these things:
1) Should I go against my instructor's advice and do a vertical measure when making a gauge swatch? What does the vertical measure achieve, exactly? I can understand the horizontal measure, but not the vertical one. That being said, everything else I read says to measure vertically as well as horizontally.
2) Is it bad to measure from the edge when measuring gauge? I watched an informative vid on youtube from theknitwitch on this topic, and she said not to measure from the edge, as these edges are distorted, and your measurement is less accurate. Makes sense to me.
3) What should you do if your 4x4 square ends up containing a couple less rows than the pattern recommends? How problematic is this, and how would you adjust for this? This is a case where the horizontal measure is the required four inches.
Also, I may be encountering some issues because I picked a yarn that has a gauge different from the one my pattern suggests. I imagine one can make some type of adjustment for this. Suggested gauge on the yarn is: 18 st., 26 rows on a 5 mm needle (I'm Canadian, don't know what U.S. size this is). My instructor felt this should be no problem. And when I was only doing the horizontal measure, I could see how I could adjust. But if I must do the vertical measure after all, than this will create some confusion to my somewhat novice-like brain.
Sorry for the very long first post. Any insights anyone could give would be great. Hope to get to know all of you as well.