Gauge Question

I’m trying out a pattern for placemats and the pattern indicates that the gauge should be 21 stitches per 4 inches, however, it doesn’t indicate what type of stitch it should be measured in. I’ve heard that you should normally measure your gauge in stockinette stitch or garter stitch. The beginning of the pattern starts out in seed stitch(?-- alternating K1, P1 for row 1, and P1, K1, for row 2-- is this seed stitch?) so I started my gauge swatch in that. But I’m noticing it’s very hard to count stitches with seed stitch. So can I go ahead and continue knitting my swatch in stockinette and measure it that way?

Do I reaaaallly have to do a gauge swatch? :pout: It’s such a pain in the behind! It’ll probably take me all night tonight to make the swatch and I won’t even be able to start my project! :sad: Ahh, well. Lol.

Hope you guys aren’t getting sick of all my questions yet! :mrgreen:

Usually, your gauge swatch should be in stockinette stitch.

Sometimes pattern instructions will also give you the gauge for the pattern stitch, but it will specifically say “pattern gauge” or “gauge in pattern” or some such thing.

The proper answer is "yes, you should do a gauge swatch."
The practical answer, it is a placemat so unless you are really off, or trying to substitute yarn 2 gauges larger or smaller, or needles two sizes bigger or smaller, you should be pretty close. And besides, having a placemat one inch larger or smaller isn’t a big problem.

A sweater twelve inches too big, now THAT is a problem. :mrgreen:

Normally it would be in stockinette stitch unless the pattern specifies. Is the whole placemat in seed st, or just the first few rows? If it’s just a few rows, then the rest is probably stockinette anyway. And since a placemat can be just about any size, not having the exact gauge wouldn’t be as critical as for a hat or sweater.

suzeeq, the pattern is seed stitch around the border, and then it’s a choose-your-own stitch in the middle. I’ve decided I’m just going to not worry about gauge and just judge the size as I go along because I started making a gauge swatch and my gauge is wayyyy off. I’m supposed to have 21 stitches per inch, but I only have 12! I’m using the correct needle size that the pattern calls for, but I’m guessing I bought way-too-thick yarn. :doh: Oh well, we’ll see how this turns out!

Yes, at 21 sts per 4" (not 1 inch) you’d need a thin yarn. 12 sts per 4" is a bulky weight yarn. So it’ll probably turn out pretty large, but that’ll be okay. It may be fairly stiff though, and may not work out for you.

I always do this. I always find it hard to know what yarn to buy.

You said in your first post that it calls for a gauge of 21 st over 4 inches, but later you say 21 spi. If it were 21 spi it’d be a finer yarn than lace weight. :teehee:

21 st over 4 inches is usually about DK weight. But it is a placemat so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. With what you’ve said about the pattern it sounds like it would be easy enough to alter for different yarns as well if you want a specific size.

Haha yeah, I just realized that, I must have made a mistake, whoops! Definitely meant 21 stitches in 4". I’ve long since frogged those placemats and given up on them anyway!

Look at the ball band or tag that comes with the yarn and see what the recommended sts per inch are. You can use that as an approximate guide in choosing yarn that will suit the gauge given in your pattern. You may choose to knit the yarn more tightly or loosely on differnet needles but at least you’ll be choosing a yarn that is close to the pattern gauge.