How important are gauges?

I was just wondering how important gauges are and what the exact reasoning for them is? Is it really necessary to make a swatch and check your gauge?


It depends on what you are making. If it is something that has to be fitted then it is very important or your item is likely to not fit. if it is a blanket or scarf then it may not be as important but it will still change the size of your end product and may mean you end up requiring more yarn or less than the pattern indicates.

gauge is only important if you want something to fit.

lets play a game… Lets get you some new tiles for your bathroom…

How many tiles on your bath room floor?

do you have little 1 inch hexagons? you might need 3000 tiles!

do you have 4 inch by 4 inch tiles? you might need 300

do you have 12 inche by 12 inch tiles? you might need 30

do you have expensive stone tiles? (12 inches by 18 inches? you might need 20 tiles)

you can’t just say Oh, i currently have X number of tiles, i need X number for a replacement… you need to know the size of the tile and the area of the room to know how many tiles you’ll need.

same with a sweater… you know the ‘area’ (how wide is your back, now tall are you?)

and how many stitches fit into that area?

Jumbo needles and super chunky yarn? maybe 40 stitches (at 2 stitches to the inch) (2 stitches per inch, X40 stitches, give you 20 inch back panal, over sized, but not outragous.

superfine fingering yarn? maybe 200 stitches! (at 10 stitches to the inch)

if you know how big your stitches are (how many stitches in each inch) an you know how big you want the back (or front, or sleeve) of your sweater, you can get a garment that fits.

and small differences add up. maybe you are getting 2.5 stitches to the inch on super chunky… now cast on 40 stitches
these same 40 stitches times by 2.5, now you have 50 inches of knitting --10 inches is a lot bigger!

so Yes, gauge matters!

LOVE the analogy!!! :thumbsup:

Ok, I understand now, thank you. That was a really good analogy, I didn’t think about it like that. Right now I am just knitting scraves, I am not planning on knitting any sweaters, but if I do, I will definately be sure to pay attention the gauge.

[color=darkblue]After scarves, I moved up to hats, and it is VERY important on a hat! I learned that the hard way! I’ve gotten to where I really love knitting a gauge swatch, usually about 12-15 stitches wide. It helps me to get familiar with the yarn, and gets us acquainted. Sort of a “getting to know you” time, where I can see what size needles I want to use to get a good look, a feel for what stitches will look good, as well as get a gauge. I used to think it was a waste of time, but now I really enjoy it.[/color]

I was browsing a knitting magazine yesterday and there was a tip for when you’re knitting sweaters to start with the sleeves. You can check how the gauge is working, the pattern and your tension, and if you have to rip out, you haven’t spent as much time on it as if you’d started on the body.


I hate gauge and swatching. But I do it. I also block everything now. Ingrid made me. :teehee: