Getting Gauge - too few stitches


I’ve been a member of this board for many years, but I have only knit off and on - I am definitely still a beginner-intermediate knitter and am learning! (as we all do forever! :slight_smile:) I am not afraid to learn and I am ambitious.

So, I knit a pair of socks one time years ago that were WAYYY too loose. I frogged them even though I really liked them. (mind you, I didn’t even using ribbing then, so no WONDER they were loose, but even the toe was a bit loose)

So, this time, I really want them to fit. I am knitting socks for my husband and for myself. I knit a swatch and it is 5 stitches too few width-wise. My gauge for 4 inches is 29 stitches wide (aiming for 34) and 41 rows long. (aiming for 50 rows) I have only knitted a swatch once before to try to get gauge. I even blocked my swatch this time! It’s Cascade Heritage Silk. (AWESOME YARN!)

Essentially, my question is this - how many more needle sizes do you recommend that I go down? I am using a US 2 needle right now - a bamboo addi 40" circ.

Part of me really wants to knit with bamboo because it is warmer and not so slick, but I’m already knitting with quite a small size. Do you think a 1 or a 0 would do the trick? I aim to do toe up socks, so I could always work with the length of it as I go if that ends up still being an issue. Or do you recommend I do a combination of going down a size and switching to metal?

What do you think, experienced knitters?

Are you using a pattern? If so which one and provide a link if you can. Stitch gauge is more important than row gauge. If your row gauge is off you can just knit fewer or more rows.

It’s a pattern I bought from Revelry. You’re right - After doing some research I saw that many times, a pattern will call for knitting so many inches, so it doesn’t tend to matter. This pattern is no different. It says to knit so many inches until turning the heel.

I went with this pattern because my husband constantly puts holes in his socks and I want to be able to replace the toe and heel because I am going through the experience of knitting him some socks :slight_smile:

Do you have any suggestions as to how much smaller I should go with my needles? I will probably have to buy a set and I want to try to get as close as I can to what I need. I do have DPNs, but I want to work two socks at a time, and I wanted to try the two socks on one circular needle method. If I can’t, I’m ok with buying another set of the same size DPNs. I’m digging these Addi bamboo needles though. I will have to get the turbo sock metal kind if I want to go down in size and still do magic loop method.

Those are neat socks! I’ve made socks on DPN, two circulars, and magic loop. I’ve never done two at a time. I know someone who has so I’ll tag her in this thread and maybe she’ll be able to help with your questions.

So next question… that gauge is pretty far off. Are you using the same weight yarn and needles? What yarn are you using and what size needles?


Thank you!!! I really wanted to try a different technique.

I found out after the fact that I misread the needle size (derf!!) and I was using US2 needles on fingering weight yarn instead of the recommended US1. Cascade heritage silk) it’s a different yarn than is recommended but I really wanted to knit with natural fiber all the way.

The pattern calls for US1 needles so that’s what I am trying now on my metal Boye DPNs. It’s going a lot faster because they are metal but I’m remembering now why I don’t like metal needles. Too slippery! we’ll see how this goes. It’s definitely tighter and a firmer weave.

Okay so now I’m getting nervous. I’m counting about twenty stitches per 2 inches already. I’m only an inch into knitting the swatch though and I haven’t blocked it. However, if I remember correctly, after blocking my previous swatch, my tension shrunk a little after blocking instead of growing.

I decided to measure my metal DPNS needles with my Susan bates knitting gauge and it says I’m using US1/2.25mm needles… However, when I try to use it to measure my addi bamboo needles (which are stamped 3mm/US2), it shows them as being US3/3.25mm…

Is there a good brand of bamboo knitting needles smaller than my addis? I’m wondering if the combo of needle size change (which seems more drastic than I thought it was) and material is messing more with my gauge. I’m going to keep knitting on but I’m starting to feel a little defeated here.

The Addis are wonderful needles but you might also try Clover bamboo. I’ve used them for a long time and like them.
Keep going with the swatch and see what you get as you relax into knitting with the metal needles. The change in gauge may well be due to the change in both size and needle material.
By all means, wash the swatch but I wouldn’t block it unless you intend to block the socks each time you wash.

Thank you! I may try those. It seems like my gauge is pretty consistent, but I have started to loosen up a bit at about 2 inches into it.

Yeah, that’s what I meant to do - I soaked the swatch and let it dry last time. I attempted to block it, but then remembered that I wouldn’t be doing that with the socks every time lol. So, I plan to soak the swatch and lay it out flat to dry. Hopefully, I can finish this thing up tonight. If it’s still really off, I might just try a patternless sock… I really just want to get started on the socks! I have to admit, I do like the way the fabric lays now. It’s definitely tighter and I can’t really see any holes between the stitches.

I’m tempted to try one more swatch if this one doesn’t work out, but do you think I could just frog it and use the same yarn again this time? I feel like it’s a lot of yarn to be going through. It’s a wool/silk blend fingering weight yarn.

OK, sounds good. Yes, you can frog the swatch and use that yarn. Should work just fine.