Gauge questions

so I am a little confused: when a pattern says knit until something is so long, and then shows the sketch of dimensions, both of these are post-swatching right?

so when you are actually knitting the thing, it isn’t even supposed to match either, really?

and when books mention people getting 22 stitches in an inch back in the day, what yarn were THEY using??? they say it was very warm and all that too.
I can’t even get 32 stitches into 4 inches on size 0 needles with dk yarn!
am I just knitting much much looser than everyone else on the planet?
how do you learn to knit tighter? could you learn that in a class?


Yes, you do your swatch first to ensure your yarn/ndl combo will match what the pattern calls for. If it doesn’t you need to switch ndl size or totally recalc the garment/item with new gauge figs.

If it is apparel, it must match the schematic in order to fit at the selected size. If it doesn’t match it’ll end up larger or smaller.

22 sts per inch

Perhaps it’s supposed to be 22 sts in 4 inches? That’s quite common (5.5 sts/inch)…using light worsted or DK. At present, I’m making a fingertip towel that’s exactly 22 sts/4 inches on sz 5…light worsted.



but then why is the length and width gauge the same in the swatch as in the drawing?
shouldn’t it be smaller in the drawing so when I block it and it grows it will be the right size?

If your swatch changes size after washing and drying, I would say convert the number of inches in length specified by the pattern into number of rows.

So if it says work until 10 inches long, and they want (and you’ve achieved on a washed swatch) gauge of 4 rows per inch, ten inches equal 40 rows. Before blocking, your 40 rows may be smaller - say 8.6 inches - but if you are getting gauge on the swatch, after washing the knitted piece, you know the gauge will reach 4 rows per inch.

So knit those 40 rows, even if that gives you less than 10 inches.
If your gauge after washing (from the swatch) is 4 rpi, then the item (after washing) should equal 4 rpi also, over 10 inches that should equal 40 rows.

Does that make sense?

Another option I suppose you could take: If your gauge on the swatch at first is 3 rows per inch (rpi) but after washing reaches the specified gauge of 4 rpi, and it calls for ten inches of knitting, you could do 7.5 inches, because you know it will increase to ten inches. That would work, but I recommend the first option.


ok, thanks both of you! :cheering:

I am glad to know that I’m not crazy.

Bear in mind, few knitters are likely to use the exact ndl sz and yarn mentioned in a pattern. BUT, after swatching, all garment pieces, regardless of what’s used, should sz to the schematic (unless you made intentional changes like longer sleeves for someone with long arms).

For those of us who sew, dressmaker patterns work the same way as the schematic. If you buy fabric that may shrink, you perform the washing/drying step first so that the cut pieces will be true to size.


do you think if I wash the yarn before I knit it, it won’t expand later?
if I’m not knitting lace, at least?
that would be convenient.