Keeping consistent gauge throughout a project

Hi all,

I’m in need of tips from my fellow knitters to deal with a problem that I keep having. When I’m knitting a long piece (scarf or blanket), I always seem to end up with a project that’s an inch or two wider on the BO edge than on the CO edge. Likewise, the rows nearer the CO are tighter together than those near the BO.

It’s like my gauge gets progressively looser as I work and I have no idea how to fix it. :???: It’s not a question of working for long periods and loosening up because my hands are tired because for various reasons I can only knit for a shortish period (max 2 hours) at a time.

If anyone has any suggestions, I’d really appreciate it!


Always check to make sure you haven’t added stitches with more on the BO edge. Practice a looser CO too, or use a larger needle to cast on and work the first couple rows, that may make a difference.

Thanks suzeeq! I’m definitely not adding stitches - I usually count every 10-20 rows or so.

I switched to the long-tail cast-on a couple of years ago to try to loosen it up. I don’t know why I never thought to use bigger needles to start…

The cast on and bind off can affect that and it is annoying. You could try a different type and see if that helps. Also different stitches are different sizes. Garter for instance is a wider stitch so if you start and end with that it may look different.

Well, larger needles don’t really help with a longtail CO, just the cable or knit ones. For the LT the trick to keeping it loose/stretchy is to not pull the thumb yarn tight, and to keep a space between stitches on the needle, don’t snug them up close together.

It’s not my COs that are too tight (anymore) but it’ll happen 10-20 inches into a project that it just starts to feel loose and lo and behold at the end it is just a bit loose all around. Like the knit fabric feels looser. So I’m thinking if I knock down a needle size when I start to feel the looseness it might help. (Maybe?)

That could be one way to remedy it, try it on a sample and see if it works for you.

It sounds like you may be relaxing as you become more comfortable with the knitting or the pattern stitch. Usually these differences in tension become less obvious with practice (and eventually disappear) but adjusting the needle size may help.

Does this disparity survive blocking? Your gauge will naturally loosen up in a large piece anyway, possibly by half a stitch or more. (I did not know this, until I came across this entry on the Yarns, Etc. blog. It’s about halfway through the article when Erin begins talking about gauge on the Katie Pullover she was about to start.)

That said, that phenomenon usually affects the gauge of the [I]entire[/I] piece, not just the CO/BO sections. So maybe that’s not it either. But it’s worth checking the actual gauge at both ends pre- and post-block to see.