Halfway making gauge - how do I fix it?

Hi all,

I want to attempt my first piece of knitted clothing - a lightweight sweater. The pattern is Marissa by Berroco found at http://www.berroco.com/exclusives/marissa/marissa.html. Now, I couldn’t get the yarn it calls for because 1. it’s discontinued and 2. I live in the UK and it’s not easy to come by. This means yarn substitution. I found what seems to be a suitable substitute - Lana Grossa Point Print. The gauge on the Berroco Echo / pattern is 18 sts x 26 rows and the gauge on the Lana Grossa is 22sts x 29 rows. Now I tend to be a tight knitter so I thought this would work out.

However, in doing the swatch, I am having the same problem I have had when I’ve done other swatches… my gauge seems so wonky that I don’t know how to fix it. Currently my gauge is 20 sts x 30 rows. If I go down a needle size I may go up to 22 sts, but I’m sure I’ll manage an extra row. If I go up a needle size, I’ll probably lose some stitches and a row or two. It seems that going up a size would be the right answer to make gauge for the pattern, but then it seems like the fabric will be too loose because as it is right now, it looks really good!

Can anyone make any suggestions as to how best to tackle what seems to be a common problem with my gauge - making gauge for either the stitches or the rows, but rarely both. Or should I figure out how to adjust the pattern and use the gauge that I’ve got that seems to be making a really nice fabric? (And if you answer that I should adjust the pattern, then point me to a tutorial on how to do this please!)

Many thanks!

Stitch gauge is more important than row gauge. You can always add or subtract rows to get the right length, but you can’t adjust the width once you get started.

I’d try to get the stitch gauge on a swatch and see if you like the fabric with that.

I’m not big on adjusting patterns, but I have made a different size if I didn’t get the gauge right or substituted a yarn.

I just finished reading the section on guage in The Sweater Workshop, and she suggests doing a swatch that starts with 3 ridges of garter stitch, then stitch 4" using one needle size, in stockinette, make a ridge of garter stitch and switch to the next needle size, and repeat for 3 different needle sizes – end with another 3 ridges of garter (to help the swatch lay flat for measuring). I hope I just explained that OK! In any case, I have always done one swatch per needle size (OK – if I actually made a guage swatch :oops: !), but with this method, you can get an idea in one swatch of how several needle sizes might work for your project. This way you can pick what guage seems to work the best, while comparing several sizes all at once.

Thanks for this Holly! Last night I had considered moving to the next needle size on the same swatch, but didn’t think about separating it with the garter stitch! I’ll have to give this a try so I can see if the fabric on a larger needle still looks as nice.