Determining Gauge

Greetings,

How do you determine gauge when the number of stitches are given as well as the total length for the preemie caps in this pattern: http://www.carewear.org/patterns/knit/knit.cfm?pid=_perfect_knit_cap.cfm?

Thank you,

Amy

Your link doesn’t work. Which pattern is it?
http://www.carewear.org/

Hi Jan.

Here is the direct link again:

http://www.carewear.org/patterns/knit/knit.cfm?pid=_perfect_knit_cap.cfm

Otherwise, from www.carewear.org, click on “Patterns” on the right side of the page. Then, click on “Knitting Patterns” in the body of the page. Last, click on “Perfect Knit Preemie Cap” which is the last link in the body of the page.

Thank you,

Amy

Okay from what I can see there is no gauge listed. What is it you’re trying to determine? Which yarn to use? That depends on which size you’re making. The pattern says it can be made any size depending on the yarn and needles you choose. Here’s a basic guide to yarn weight/needle size that may help.
http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/weight.html

Hi Jan.

Here is the yarn I plan to use: http://www.ecobutterfly.com/catalog/Pakucho_Organic_Cotton_Sport_Fine_Flamme_Yarn-37-1.html (Pakucho Organic Cotton Sport Fine Flamme Yarn from www.ecobutterfly.com).

Thank you,

Amy

That looks like a nice yarn. Still not sure what you’re asking though. Needle size? It suggests a 5 and appears to be about DK weight.

One thing I would suggest is that you use a German twisted cast on for these. It’s super stretchy. If you use a regular long tail cast on, the hat may not stretch enough to fit over the head. Bev has a lot of great preemie patterns on her site as well. The hats will seem really small when you knit them. But yes, the babies really are that small. I have it on good authority from a nurse I know. This nurse told me that the newborn size hats are way too big and cover the babies’ eyes. They make them feel very uncomfortable so they really need the smaller sizes. Sometimes a baby doesn’t make it through the night. Having a small hat for the 1-2 pounders keeps them warm and is a comfort to the parents. They suggest using white yarn for these, as pastels or any other colors can give the baby a ghastly appearance under the hospital lights and depress the parents. Bless you for doing this.

http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/cast-on

http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/bevs-baby-ribs-hat.html

I use the German Twisted cast on for all my hats and mittens. The long tail cast on just doesn’t stretch enough to allow a child to get the mittens on. It makes it much easier for a mother to dress a fidgety child.

Hi Jan.

I just want to make sure I am not knitting the hats too small or too big. But, I guess if there is no gauge given in the pattern, I would just use the suggested yarn weight (sport weight) which my yarn is and just follow the pattern. Is this correct?

Thank you,

Amy

Thank you. I had just recently seen this cast on method. I will definitely learn it for these hats :slight_smile:

Best regards,

Amy

You really should cast on about 12 sts and knit a couple inches, so you know how many sts per inch you knit with the needles. Then see if that gauge with the number of sts given will turn out the right size, or too big or too small. Every one knits with a different tension which also determines gauge, not just the yarn and needle size. Or you could just cast on and measure your knitting after 2-3" and see if it’ll work out.

Thank you for your help. I guess my question really comes down to this… If no gauge is given for the pattern, how can you really be sure you will achieve the gauge the pattern creator intended when you knit the gauge swatches (factoring in yarn, needle size and tension)?

Thank you,

Amy

If it comes out the size you want, with a fabric density you like that was the intention for this particular pattern. I don’t ever use the same needle size for the size of yarn, preferring a much looser gauge than the pattern calls for. So I figure out how many sts I need to get the finished measurement I want by knitting a sample and use the pattern as a basic ‘template’ to get something that suits my preferences. As a new knitter you may not understand it, but as you get more experience you can see that you don’t have to use a pattern as an absolute.

One other thought… if this is not for a specific person then remember people/babies come in all sizes. If it is for a specific person then you can make a swatch and measure your own gauge and figure out how big it will come out.

Thank you so much for this explanation, Sue. I’m not a new knitter, but I am new to knitting hats (something with a more specific size), and I had expected to see a recommended gauge with the pattern. I totally get what you are saying now. I look forward to knitting my samples :-):woohoo:

Best regards,

Amy

Thank you very much, Jan. After reading Sue’s reply and your reply, this is all so clear to me now.

I also greatly appreciate the German Twisted cast-on recommendation for the hats.

I truly appreciate the expert advice on this list!

Best regards,

Amy