Is it important to pay attention to the gauge of a pattern? I don’t really understand what it means, so I usually don’t pay attention to it(I’ve only been knitting mittens and scarfs so far). I would like to knit a sweater, but I’m not sure what to do about the gauge. Any help you can offer would really be appreciated!!
Thanks, Kate

The gauge of a pattern is how many stitches per inch you need to knit in order to come up with the same sizes the pattern says. It is very important when you make a garment that needs to fit.

Everyone knits at a different tension, and if the designer of the pattern knits at 4 stitches per inch with a particular yarn and needle size, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get 4 stitches per inch with the same yarn and needles.

To get an idea of how much of a difference it makes, think of it this way. If a pattern has 100 stitches on the needle, and the pattern says the gauge is 4 stitches per inch, the piece will be 25 inches wide.

If you happen to knit tighter and get 5 stitches per inch, your’s will only be 20 inches wide. If you knit loosely, and have 3 stitches per inch, then your’s will be 33.3 inches wide.

A big difference if it’s a sweater.

To adjust gauge, changing needle size is what’s called for.

It depends on what you’re making. For a scarf, it wouldn’t matter. If you’re using a similar yarn and the size needles they tell you to use, it will come close to the size it should be - unless you knit very tightl or veryloose. But even then, you’d just have a scarf that was a bit longer or shorter or narrower or wider. Wouldn’t matter much. But with something that’s supposed to fit, like a sweater, it can matter a lot. Then it could really pay off to do a small test swatch to be sure you’ll get the size you want.

In other words, what Ingrid said! :wink: