Help getting the gauge correct

I consider myself an experienced knitter. One thing I find impossible is getting the gauge correct. My knitting is always larger.

If the pattern calls for a 5.5mm needle I go down to a 5 or even a 4.5 to get the correct number of stitches. The problem is that when I do this I have too many rows in the swatch (I have 25 or so instead of 20). This becomes a real problem when what I am knitting has a "braThe bra section fits horizally but not vertically. In other words across the front it fits but is too short and Im not sure how to adapt the pattern to add extra length.

I have gotten to the point where I drop down to the 5mm needle and choose the size smaller than I would normally wear. Things still don’t fit the way I want them to, so I’ve been knitting a lot of things where the gauge isn’t as big a deal.

I have an awesome top for myself and a dress for my daughter I really want to knit, but until I can get the gauge thing fixed I don’t dare start them.

Any and all help would be gratefully appreciated. :grphug:

Gauge is always a problem. I use a smaller needle than called for in most patterns because I knit loosely.

In most patterns rows aren’t important you can just knit a few more or less if necessary. If you are talking about the shaping maybe some short rows would help?

THANKS - Didn’t think of using short rows - that might just work in one of the patterns (it has a cross-over ‘bra’ front)

Awesome :muah:

I understand completely. I am in the same boat. Gauge often gives me fits. Maybe you could try to choose patterns that are not row dependent but give the length in a measurement instead. Sometimes you can figure out based on the row gauge they give how many rows are in different measurements, like how many rows make 1", 1/2", 1/4" and then adjust the pattern by knitting to the length needed. This works much easier sometimes than other times. I have also found that you can sometimes get a different row gauge with needles of different materials. Like if you get stitch gauge on a metal needle, but the row gauge is off, you may be able to get the same stitch gauge on a bamboo (or other material) needle and the row gauge might be a little different (maybe even better :slight_smile: ). I find that some patterns, for whatever reason, are much easier to get gauge on than others. I don’t like it when a pattern says to get the gauge over a pattern stitch, I’d rather it gave the gauge over St st and then the patterns just work out from there. Some patterns are written that way. I’ve had to give up on some patterns that said to get gauge over the pattern stitch, I swatched until I was blue in the face and disheartened and finally decided to save my sanity to choose another pattern.

I hope things work out for you and that this commiseration, if not the hints help some.

[I][COLOR=“Red”]Didn’t even think about the fact that different types of needles would give a different gauge ---- thanks for the tip [/COLOR]:inlove: [/I]

[COLOR=Black]Didn’t even think about the fact that different types of needles would give a different gauge [/COLOR]

It’s not as drastic a difference as going up or down a size, but there are subtle changes.

This site is so awesome and the help is amazing.

I want to thank everyone for the very helpful hints you provided. I think I’m confident enough now to tackle this top. I’m going to try it in a simple yarn (the one for me) so I can rip out as needed :slight_smile: as the yarn I plan on using for my daughters is not the type you want to rip out (cashmere/mohair mix).

Thanks again, and wish me luck.

:muah: :muah: :muah:

Maybe I’m lazy or it’s just an anti-swatch kinda thing, but I don’t worry too much about the number of rows matching the recommended gauge. Perhaps, though, there are patterns where the number of rows is vitally important (like for sideways construction).

Are there other patterns where it’s essential to get the correct gauge for row numbers? I imagine this would be helpful information to have in my little noggin’!!


People say that it’s important in top down raglans, but I’ve found usually the sts and rows are fairly proportionate. I don’t match a pattern gauge, I like to use a needle quite a lot larger for the yarn than most patterns do. Once I figure how many to CO and how many to allocate to the body and sleeve sections though, I just increase to where I think it’s long enough, and/or the back sts measure about half what I want for a finished measurement. Then I try it on and decide if it’s too long, not long enough or whatever. The sts usually come out to what I need.

People say that it’s important in top down raglans

Disclaimer: I’m talking about a WIP and I might change my mind later.

I’m working on a top down cardi, and I’ve only worried about the numbers rows per inch for doing my increases at neck and armholes and I’ve fudged just a bit as I needed the armhole longer but not really wider… I’m working w/o a pattern, making it up as I go along so to speak, and while it’s waiting for the last fitting before I do umpteen rows to make it longer, I think all’s going well so far.

The OP mentioned a “bra”. For a garment which needs to be fitted with short rows or other method, I can see where the rows per inch would be very important. Figuring out how many short rows and how to space the turns…YUCK!!! If the row count is off there, figuring it out to work with your row count would be the only option that I can think of.

Are there other patterns where it’s essential to get the correct gauge for row numbers? I imagine this would be helpful information to have in my little noggin’!!

Some patterns that have fancy stitches requiring a certain number of rows to be repeated and need to stop at a certain place in the pattern might be one. Also some patterns are written where instead of telling you, “knit for 6inches” it will give it in rows, " work 27 rows".

I did a hat that needed to have a certain length to get the effect they wanted with it long enough to droop over at the top. The gauge was given with the same number of rows as stitches making 4". There was a color chart with patterns going on all over. But my gauge didn’t match theirs so I needed 16 more rows to get the length they called for. So I had to invent some other patterns to fill in the extra rows, or repeat stuff or whatever I thought would work. If I had gotten their gauge I could just have followed their chart with no other thinking needed.

It seems like raglan and maybe other types of armholes could be too long or short if your row gauge was way off.

Right, I mentioned rows being important in a top down raglan because that’s what I’ve heard, but I’ve never had a problem with just winging a pattern. I’ve done baby sweaters, and adult sizes and they all seem to fit pretty well. Perhaps when people are actually following a written pattern and the gauge is done on size 8s with worsted there’s less leeway - I don’t know, I won’t knit a sweater that dense with worsted.

For patterns that do say to ‘knit for 23 rows’ I convert them to inches according to the pattern’s gauge, then knit to that measurement.

The baby sweater I’m working on is worked in pieces from the bottom up, and all pieces are joined at the armhole for a semicircular yoke worked up from armhole to neckline. I’m anal-compulsive :eyebrow: after already having adjusted the entire pattern for stitch gauge I adjusted for row gauge as well to make sure the yoke came out right to maintain the neckline patterning.

Definitely left me feeling like a math wizard in need of a very large glass of wine after putting away the calculator! :clink: