Gauge problem using 2 colors, help!

I’m working on my first 2-color Norwegian hat. Gauge is 6 st/in, which I got on the band with #4 addi circulars. 20 rows into the colorwork my gauge is now 7 st/in, which makes the hat way too small.

I’m knitting with both hands, one color English, one color continental. It’s dk yarn, Cascade 220. It’s not sliding on the Addi’s like other yarns have, so that should have been my first clue. Usually my knitting is middle of the road… not too tight, not too loose. But this 2-color business has thrown me for a loop.

I ripped out my colorwork back to the band. Should I just increase 1 needle size? Or two? Is that normal? Or is there something I can look for, or consciously do/not do when knitting with 2-colors?


It always gets tighter when you are doing that part of a hat regardless of whether it’s stranded or not. If you aren’t working with a pattern you can increase the number of stitches by 10 or so as well as increase needle size starting on that first row after ribbing. However with a pattern you don’t want to increase stitches or it will mess it up. Increasing needle size will be fine. I have done that and it works well.

Note also… I’ve learned that some yarn doesn’t slide as easily on some needles, sometimes it doesn’t slide well on any needle. You can still use it you just have to push it around. I can’t afford every type of needle for various yarns so I just deal with it. :rollseyes: :lol:

If you feel it’s going to be too small no matter what, then you might want to go up a needle size. It’s possible, though, that blocking will take care of it. I make a point to block Fair Isle sweaters and they do get much bigger.

Did the gauge of the pattern say 6 per inch in pattern? I ask because stranded knitting is tighter than straight stockinette. If it did say the gauge was in the two needle color part, then you’ll want to go up a needle size.

So this is actually a pattern from a 2-color class I’m taking (doesn’t meet again until Thurs.) The instructor just said something like, check your gauge when you make the hat band. Remember to check it again on the color part of the hat. No talk of changing needle sizes or anything like that. Someone else had a gauge issue on the hat band and was simply told to knit more tightly.

So how can you tell if it will block out? It wasn’t even bunching up on the needle anymore, so I’m guessing it probably wouldn’t. I made a run to the yarn store, and they’re out of #5’s. I guess I will try a #6 and hope it works… at least if it’s too big I can pass it off to my big-headed husband.

Thanks for all the help!

That’s a good question about the blocking. Things always do get bigger with blocking, so maybe that’s the universal answer. I suppose you could stretch it out over your hands and see how much bigger it gets.

I disagree totally with your teacher’s admonition to knit more tightly. If you have to consciously knit tighter or looser to get gauge, it’ll never be consistent. As soon as your mind wanders, you’ll be back to knitting your ‘normal’ tension. I always have to go up a needle size. If someone told me to just knit looser I’d :rollseyes: .

So I’m several rows in on the colorwork with the#6 needles, and the yarn is now sliding smoothly along. As best I can tell I’m getting 6-6.5 st/in. I thought for sure it would change a lot more than that. Maybe it’s the nature of colorwork? Or maybe it’s me?

I suppose if I block it and it turns out astronomically bigger I can always run some elastic through the brim and/or pretend it was supposed to be a purse. I guess the only way to find out is to press on…

Ingrid, I checked out your slideshow. Your little sweaters are amazing! --St. Michael and the Dragon?! Did you wing that or is there an actual pattern?



Its a pattern from a book called Kids.Kids.Kids–40 Winning Patterns from the Knitter’s Magazine Contest. I went to the local LYS for the first time looking for a dragon pattern and the rest is history! It’s been worn once, by the way. I had fun making it, and everyone loved it, but for some reason neither of my grandsons wants to wear it. :rollseyes:

As for the hat–if it fits and you like the way the stitch looks, there’s no law that says you have to block it. I block my Fair Isles because the yarn is so, so thin and the pattern takes blocking into consideration.