I need some answers how important is gauge, everything I’ve read says it’s so important. There is no videos on it though on this site. I’m confused also cause am I to follow what the pattern says or what I read. What I read states do a minimum of 20 stitches to 4 inches to figure gauge. Then the pattern says 9sts = 4" am I missing something? Is there something I should add to the pattern gauge to get the right formula? Should I stick with 20 stitches?

A gauge square or swatch is to figure out how many stitches per inch you get with your size yarn and needles.
a pattern will state it as Xnumber of stitches = 4" or similar (often 1 or 2" are used too). 4 inches is often used as it is easier to measure and to count stitches over than a single inch.
For your gauge swatch, cast on about 20 stitches or enough to cover at least 4 inches and knit for about 4 or 5 inches. you then pick a section in the middle of this square and measure 4 inches and count the number of stitches you have. this gives you your gauge.

there is a link to my blog at the bottom of this post which has a full explanation of gauge in.

It’s always safer to do a swatch to check your gauge. Your gauge is what helps guarantee that your project will come out to the same dimensions as described in the pattern. If your gauge is off, that size 8 sweater you think you’re making may end up being a size 4 or size 12!

Here are some things to remember:

  • Be sure you use the same needles and yarn as you will use to make your project.
  • Cast on enough stitches to make at least a 5"-6" square piece, then count your sts from the center of your swatch (end sts may be distored and give you a wrong measurement).
  • Check your pattern instructions to see if the gauge swatch is to be done in stockinette stitch or a stitch pattern used in the project, like seed stitch or moss stitch.

Good Luck!

Speaking from (bad) experience, unless you are making a dishcloth or scarf… swatch, swatch, swatch!! Gauge is very important!! I like to knit a fairly large swatch, at least 6x6 square – so I have the chance to loosen up my knitting muscles and make sure I have a nice area to measure. If you will be knitting in the round, you should do your swatch in the round, since gauge can differ between flat and round knitting.

Shouldn’t you also block your swatch? I had read elsewhere that you need to block it in whatever method you would block the finished project before measuring the gauge.

I agree with everybody else’s replies.

Gauge matters if you want something to be a certain size or if you’re knitting a pattern.

I knitted a scarf without a gauge, but it was just a simple 2x2 rib AND not meant to be too wide, so I could look at it after a couple of inches and frog it if I wanted it wider or narrower - time lost, less than an hour. My second project is a baby blanket knitted diagonally, and all the directions say is “increase until it measures 20” on a side" so no gauge there either. I figure that these projects will let me get into my knitting style, so I can swatch for gauge when I do something where it matters and be confident that my swatch will match my usual style.

Gauge also changes with the yarn, the needles, the pattern - pretty much everything!

You’ve gotten some pretty good comments on how to swatch. Knitty has a good article on “why swatch” that I read, and will go back to when I need it.

Yes, I have read this also.