Gauge is kicking my butt!

I’m about to start the two-tone shrug from Fitted Knits (my first garment) and before I do, I’m knitting a gauge swatch like a good girl:angelgrin:
I bought Addis in a size 8 (which I LOVE), in accordance with the pattern, but when I did the swatch, my gauge was off. The pattern says I should have 20 stitches per 4 inches, so 5 stitches per inch. An 8 gave me 4 stitches per inch, so I went down to a 7. This gave me 5 stitches per inch, BUT only 9 stitches per 2 inches…What’s going on? Should I try a 6.5?
Also, the pattern calls to do the ribbing in a size 5. Does this mean that I should decrease my needle size for that too?
I’ve never knit anything where gauge was extremely important, so I want to get this right!

I usually reduce my ribbing needle to correspond to any change in the regular needle. That’s the easy part.

If you’re off by 1/2 a stitch for 2 inches, I don’t think going down another size is going to really handle that. I think you’ll get too tight.

Measure your swatch in 3 spots and average them. That will give you a better overall gauge. Then measure again as your knitting, since it can change a bit then, too. I find that a swatch is often tighter for me than the actual garment, since I relax more when I’m just knitting away.

Then there’s blocking to consider, too. That could take care of any minor discrepencies.

I measured each swatch in several places and got the same results. I have just read so many horror stories about gauge making such a difference in people’s work that I’m sort of paranoid.
So should I just knit with the 7 then?

:think: There isn’t a size 6 1/2 needle that I know about, and I think a 6 would bring you down too much, though you could certainly try.

If you’re off by one stitch per 4 inches, then out of 20 inches you’d be off by 5 stitches–an inch. Is that too much? You can do some math based on the final measurements of the pattern and see what effect it would have.

Also, wash your swatch and see what happens to it. That will give you the true final gauge.

Oops, I guess I was thinking in mm rather than US sizing! I always get confused…sorry! I’ll start knitting with the 7’s and see what happens.