Here I am, asking about gauge AGAIN....🙄

I feel like I have asked this so many times and I can never get it right. So here I am again.

I can never get gauge. Ever. I must knit so tight that to get gauge I have to go up needle sizes to the point that it’s not right for the yarn. The last sweater I knit I took a chance and went up yarn size and it worked great so, for next time, I’ll just keep doing that.

BUT…for this time I want to use a particular yarn for a particular sweater vest. I hit the JACKPOT at the goodwill and got about $600 of yarn for about $35. In that haul was three skeins of Madelinetosh Merino light. (really 4 skeins but three were the same color way) It’s gorgeous. (the previously mentioned sweater was knit with the 10 skeins of Cascade from that haul as well. $10!) It’s a fingerling and the gauge I need to get after blocking and a little stretch is 25 stitches per 4". On size 4’s I am getting 26ish per 4".

Can I just pick a size to knit that’s slightly smaller? Knit the size I want and hope that, when I’m knitting in the round it’ll tighten up a little? It’s this vest:

Also, I wouldn’t mind if this was a bit oversized. I’m oversized and I think it would look nice if it was a bit roomy.

Any advice? Thank you. You all are always so amazing.

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Perhaps if you look at the nunber of stitches on the larger pattern at certain points in the garment and work out what inch/cm this will work out at with your gauge of 26st per 4 inch.
I would probably not look at the cast on umber if the hem is in a different size needle or different stitch but rather look at what number is just higher than the hem jn the main body, is it straight up or shaped for the waist, see if you would be happy with the waist and chest size.
Number of stitches in the round divided by 26 and times by 4 should equal the finished size in inches.

My gauge swatches are always exactly what the yarn or pattern says…and yet I still make everything the wrong size!

Maybe I’ve said this before, but are you checking the needle sizes in mm as US and UK numbered needles are totally different sizes and may be causing a confusion. I believe there are also other needle sizes from other countries too.


Make sure that you’re knitting a large enough gauge swatch that you can measure over the middle 4 inches. Cast on about 35sts in this case and knit your swatch in the round since that is the technique in the pattern. You can do this without cutting the yarn strands:

(see especially 3:00min).
You’ll want to look at a larger size of the vest pattern since you’re getting more sts per 4" than the given gauge. You can look at the number of sts across the chest and figure out from your gauge what the inch measurement would be for the various sizes. That way you’ll have a better idea of the body width and the amount of ease.

Wow, did you ever hit the jackpot at the thrift store! Congratulations on all the lovely yarn.


Thank you! I’ll knit a new swatch, that’s. great idea. Thank you!

Yes, it was amazing. I was out of town and stopped by the Goodwill. They hadn’t put it all out yet, it was in a cart, but I grabbed it all and RAN to the checkout. It was about 15 skeins of Rowan (which I don’t care for but gave to a friend who is thrilled) about 10 skeins of the Cascade, SO MUCH Noro Silk Garden that I’ll never knit it all and then the four skeins of the Madelinetosh. I could not believe my eyes. I practically danced the whole way home.



And congratulations your find, this is amazing! Enjoy!

I too struggle with gauge - I can get gauge, but my tension fluctuates a lot and there are so many factors that are impacting it (the way I sit, where I sit, morning or evening, etc). I’m not here to give you advice, but just sharing my coping strategies : I favor projects where gauge matters a little less. For instance, I favor sweaters with a drop shoulder construction and a fair amount of ease. It happens to be the style I enjoy wearing the most anyways. It doesn’t mean that I don’t work on taming my tension though.


I absolutely love your answer to my question. I have knit so many hats that I need to move to the North Pole…ditto scarves. But drop shoulder sweaters isn’t something I’ve considered! That’s an awesome suggestion! I also like sweaters with a lot of ease…I hadn’t considered that in my equation either.

Thank you a bunch!


Oh I’m so glad it helped!

I don’t have a whole lot of experience, but I also found that finding a designer that generally suits our needs can be helpful. Someone whose gauge tends to be relatively close to ours for instance (trying to match a designer who is a loose knitter, when we ourselves are tight knitters, is really challenging), and/or a designer who puts a lot of thoughts into their designs being accessible to a wide range of knitters.


Glad you’ve had some great tips.

I had another thought, make sure you wash/block the swatch. Up to now I’ve had basically the same gauge on both unwashed and washed swatches even though I’ve used a few different types of yarn, but my latest swatch measures as 20 stitches and 22 rows to 10cm square before washing. After washing and drying flat (no pulling just flattening as it’s a sweater and I’ll just shape and dry flat so that’s how I treated the swatch) the gauge changed so much, it is now 22 stitches and 19 rows to 10 cm square. This has totally changed my idea on which size pattern to follow. Rather than casting on 200 stitches to get a 100cm in the round measurement, I will need 220 stitches. 20 stitches difference around a sweater is significant!
Still…for me I am still concerned I will make the wrong size.


Oh gosh! Yes, I do wash and block but that’s recent. Usually I’m HORRIBLY lazy and knit about 10 rows and just…guess. Well, not that bad but not super careful either.

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I’m a tight knitter too and getting gauge has always been an issue with me. I agree with the another responder on this thread in that I usually go for sweater patterns with a good amount of ease and this gives me some leeway. I happen to be a very anxious person and this can translate into tight knitting. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to be more aware of my bodily tension as I knit, stopping when needed to completely relax every muscle for several minutes. Even so, I rarely hit the gauge called for in a pattern no matter what size needles I use. I usually use a bit of knitting voodoo between needle size and pattern size to get close. Anyway, I feel your pain, sister.


Misery does love company and, although I’m sorry we all have this problem, I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one!

I think mine comes from being an overall perfectionist and wanting each stitch to be “perfect”. Which….in the end makes it imperfect. Hahaha. I do see the irony. Haha.

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