Is it ever impossible to get gauge

I spent most of last night doing tension squares. I know I knit a little looser than most people so I expected to go down a needle size or two. I am using some cotton that is supposed to be DK weight, I found a pattern that called for 23st and 32 rows to 4 inches on 4mm needles. I made mine 46 stitches wide. Well as expected mine was too big (10.5 inches instead of 8), so I went down a size, then another one, then again. I ended up with 2.75mm needles and still a little off, but it’s so stiff to knit I wont bother. I got suspicious and decided to measure the wraps per inch on the yarn and I got 9, which is I suppose worsted, but it’s not that far away from DK to make a difference. So I have decided to take my gauge at 4mm into consideration, then make the smallest size and hopes it works out. I have had to do this in the past but it makes it all much more complicated with the maths and all.

Well, it is possible, but difficult, as you have discovered. Yes, sometimes the yarn is marked DK when it’s really worsted, etc.

I typically attempt to match the stitches per inch as closely as possible. But I don’t really concern myself too much over the rows per inch. I figure that I can adjust the length by measure easier than I can by row-counting…unless it’s something very specific, like shaping an armhole…in that case, I try to make minor adjustments as best I can until the shape/length match up as best as humanly possible.

After all, I’m merely human…So, don’t beat yourself up over this!! You are too! :teehee:

I rarely make gauge exactly, and like you, have had to adjust most patterns to my gauge. Since I seem to usually like to tinker with patterns anyway, that’s not so bad…it’s just another thing I have to adjust. And I am almost always off on the row gauge, too!

As such a new knitter I have stuck religously to gauge and as a result already own 6 sizes of needle. What are you knitting? on my current project, it said use a 5.5mm needle but I coud not find one so have risked a 6mm. The gauge came up fine but I am still expecting the shrug to come up differently - I am going to measure me and add a few rows if needed.


If you use a larger needles, the sts are apt to be a bit longer. So you may be needing a few less rows. Most patterns say to knit for X inches/cm though, so you should be fine.

Is it ever impossible to get gauge

Impossible? Yeah, it’s quite impossible to get gauge sometimes. Or did you mean “Is it ever [I]possible[/I] to get gauge?” My answer to that his sometimes. Both end up the same I guess. :lol:

Gauge is a slippery sucker… just when you think you’ve got it and and are feeling smug it goes and changes in middle of your project. Don’t ask how I know…:doh:

All you can do is your best and try and work with it. You’ve gotten some good answers already and I’ve nothing to add that is helpful. I hope you can work it out!

I was having to keep changing down needles sizes, I usually ignore the row gauge anyway unless it’s way off and I have to chuck in a few extra rows. I decided that my gauge for the yarn was closer to Aran weight wool, I found an online pattern with roughly the same gauge and I’m going to use that as a template and then make it up as I go along. I got a lot of cheap cotton and decided to make something useful like a jumper or cardigan for the summer. I was going to go with “flashy lace” but decided that all the wee holes in the jumper would make feel exposed unless I wore a t-shirt under it all the time, so I switched to “Sweetgum Duncan” without the stripes, but I couldn’t get guage. Made smallest size but then it didn’t look like it would go over my head.
Now I started a top-down thing using the gauge measurements from “Mr Greenjeans” but I am going to change stitch count slightly and basically make it very differently as I can’t be bothered trying to get even looking cables in cotton.

With a top down raglan, you can let a not quite there gauge slide because for the most part you do the increases until the back sts measure about half the measurement you want. Or until the sleeve sts just about meet at the underarm.

I’ve only done one other top down sweater (the last one) so I am fairly new to it, but it seemed to work out ok the last time, so fingers crossed there wont be too much fiddling.

Gauges? We don’t need no steenkin gauges!

Seriously, you can always adjust the stitch counts and such if your gauge is off by too much. Pretty simple math.

I have a similar concern. My pattern calls for Euroflax (linen), stitch gauge=3 3/4 stitches=inch and 15 stitches=4 inches; 5 rows=1 inch and 20 rows=4 inches on size 10 needle. I bought Phoenix soy silk (my first expensive yarn!) that is 4 sts and 6 rows=1 inch on US8. I thought they might be close enough. I’m having problems matching this, though. I’ve tried using an 8, 10, and 11. 11 looks wrong and it still doesn’t match the gauge. On 10s, I get 4 stitches per inch, 16 stitches for 4 inches, 6 rows per inch. Is this close enough? Should I be concerned?

It depends on your pattern. If it’s for a garment to fit, it could be too small (mostly, it’s the st gauge that counts, the length you knit is usually given in inches, not rows). You could try a 10½, which should get you to the 15 sts/4". Or knit the next larger size on the 10s which may be a bit large, depending on the finished measurements.

OK. It’s a shrug, so I’m guessing I have a little wiggle room on the fit. Thanks so much for your suggestion!

I’m with you Mason. Fellow anti gaugers have a new group called anti gauge on Ravelry.

Yay! <rushes off to check the no gauge group>…

I found another one - the anti-swatching league!

Finally finished the jumper, I based the stitch count on Mr Greenjeans, but I made up my own cable pattern and made it into a jumper, so I largely ignored the pattern. The photo isn’t that accurate regarding the colour but it gives you an idea! It’s in my projects page on Ravelry if you want to know more!