I know this may be a bit of a silly question, but all the other patterns I’ve done the gauge is in stockinette. This one is actually done with the lace pattern. It’s an Ella Rae pattern done in her cotton yarn. I’m not sure how to correctly count to get the gauge. Do I use the stitch loops on the needle cord of my circulars to determine the 4 inch count?
Depending on how complicated the lace pattern is you may need to pin out the swatch or block it to the size you’d like. Put the live sts onto waste yarn to do this. Then you can mark off the center 4 inches and count the loops at the top of the swatch, the ones on the waste yarn.
One other option for counting might be to go by the number of stitches in the lace repeats–that is, if you can determine where the repeats start and stop. (It might be worth leaving a marker at those point when you’re doing the swatch.)
how crucial is the gauge? if it was something that fit was not that important (like a shawl) I would just guess at the gauge - do a few swatches and pick the one i liked over which one matched the actual gauge swatch
but if its for a garment, i would see if there was a repeat and gauge that section