I need help with gauge!

Hello everybody. i just wanted to say, how do you get gauge? i am a VERY new knitter and i am about to knit my first project. :smiley: but i needed to know what is the formula for gauge is? do you divide the number of stitches cast on by the width? or knit for 4 inches and then divide by width? please help. so confused. :??

You have to knit a swatch in order to see what YOUR gauge is. The garment that was finished by the pattern-maker has gauge dimensions. You are supposed to make a swatch and then measure it to see if your knitting matches theirs, if not, you need to do another swatch with larger or smaller needles as necessary until you have the required gauge.

If you are making something that does not need to be fitted, like a scarf or a bag, you don’t have to worry about gauge unless you want to. If you are making a sweater, I heartily suggest that you work out your gauge first. The gauge mentioned is also helpful when you choose your yarn. Most yarn labels state how many stitches per inch the company estimates will be knit with their yarn on a certain size needle. That way you don’t end up using a yarn that is too thick or thin for your project. Welcome!

And–if you post a link to your pattern, we can help you with more specifics.

Sara, i still don’t get it. please make it more simple. i just can’t get it. :?? but thanks for explainig some of it. :XX:


This will tell you all about making and measuring swatches and why swatching is important. :thumbsup:

When a pattern says you should have X stitches per inch, that’s the measurement that was used to write up the numbers if the pattern. Individual knitting styles don’t always get the same number per inch that the designer got, so it’s a way of telling you that if you want your pattern to turn out the same size as her pattern, you need to have the same number per inch.

If she, for example, got four stitches per inch and knit 100 stitches, her piece would be 25 inches wide.

If you, got five stitches per inch and knit 100 stitches, your piece would be 20 inches wide.

When it’s important, and gauge isn’t always for things like scarves, blankets, etc., they suggest you knit up a gauge swatch. You make it bigger than four inches across and long. Then you measure how many stitches you got on four stitches of knitting. That’s your gauge on 4 inches.

If you are getting too many stitches per inch (or four inches) you need to make your needle size larger. If you are getting too few stitches, then you need to make your needles smaller.

Stitch gauge is more important than row gauge, because you can always knit fewer or more rows to get the length you need, but you can make things narrower or wider once you’re done.


here’s what I do:

Cast on 20 stitches

Kint in the pattern stitch for 10-15 rows

bind off, but don’t cut yarn

Measure the width of the piece to the nearest quarter inch.

Divide (with a caculator!) 20 by the meaurement

Round to the closest half stitch to get the gauge

For instance:
my swatch measures 7.5 inches
20/7.5 = 2.66666
Gauge = 2 and a half stitches per inch

Now, sometimes patterns tell you gauge like this: “22 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch” Well crap, now what??? Just take the number of inches (4) and divide by the number of stitches (22) to get the gauge–5.5 stitches per inch.

After you read enough patterns, it will be easier for you to convert them in your head–you can look at it and say “Oh, 16 rows in 4 inches? Okay 4 stitches per inch”

Once you know what YOUR GAUGE is, you can decide if you need to change needle sizes to make your gauge smaller or bigger.


You really are a genius :thumbsup:

So simple and makes so much sense but in all of my years of crocheting and knitting not once did I think of something like that :thumbsup:

thanks mint!!! Everyone else I know would say “Wow, you really are a nerd!” :rollseyes:

Wow, you really are a nerd :rollseyes:


just like me!

:thumbsup: Thank you Hildie I still get thrown by this… maybe its just my mental math shut down ROTFLOL… how did you get the 4.5 though? :?? or did you mean 7.5 :thinking:

edited: ohhh just used my computer LOL 7.5 to get the 2.66666666666 :thumbsup: Thanks again wrote this down in my knitting book LOL :thumbsup:

Oh, sorry, I had a typo. I’ll fix it so it’s not confusing (I actually have 4.5 to begin with, but I thought 7.5 would lead to a better, not so obvious, example)

i am very happy that you all answered my question. i am a very new knitter and i am very happy that ms.hilda explained it in a way i could understand. i think that you might be a nerd. :rofl: happy knitting :XX:

Yep, nerdy nerd that’s me!!! Even KK thinks I’m nerdy!!!

i didn’t want to hurt anyones feelings or anything. thanks a bunch for helping me. :thumbsup: