Gauge swatch: Stitch number is right, row number is wrong

I’m knitting a vest that calls for 22 stitches and 30 rows for 4 inches using a size 6 needle in stockinette. My first swatch came out 21.5 stitches/32 rows for 4 inches. My second swatch using a size 5 needle came out 22 stitches/and still 32 rows. If I use the size 5 needle I’m afraid the length will be too short. Should I go for knitting the correct number of stitches (22 stitches with size 5 needle) and just add rows to make the length correct? Thanks.
Kris from Los Angeles

Stitches are way more important that rows in most projects since they will be the width or circumference. You can always add or subtract rows to get the length you want. I’d go with the needle that gives you correct stitch gauge.

Most patterns tell you to knit the length for X inches, not rows so you don’t have to worry so much about the row gauge. Even where you do armhole shaping on every other row or so, that won’t matter too much if your rows measure less. And one thing about swatches for larger garments… when you knit the actual item, the weight of it (since it’s so much larger than the swatch) will pull the rows lenghtwise so you might just get row gauge too once it’s knit.

I’m convinced that the reason so few knitters get both row and stitch gauge is that the designer measured gauge on the finished garment, not on a teeny swatch. So the row gauge is stretched out.