Knitting too large for the pattern

help, I am new to knitting. I am knitting a baby sweater and they say to do a sample beforehand and that 27 stitches should measure 4 inches. the pattern calls for size 5 needles. I have gone down to size 3 needles and my stitches stiil measure too large, 20 stitches for 4 inches. Should I go down to an even smaller needle? thanks!!

Are you using the yarn called for in the pattern? Usually a size 5 needle is for Sport or DK wieght. 5 stitches per inch with a size 3 sounds like you might be using worsted weight. Can you give us the “materials” part of your pattern and what yarn you are using?

YEA, you, for making a gauge swatch !!!

You’re probably using way too thick a yarn. Try a thinner one (and CO about 32 sts for your swatch) or find another pattern that uses the yarn weight you’ve got. Always CO 6-8 more sts than the gauge says you need for 4" so you don’t use the edge sts in the measurement. They’re not the same size as the middle sts and will curl under.


Good that you did the test piece ( I often ignore and then deal with the fact :wink: )

My assumption: Either you compare to the wrong needle measure (european or american) or your wool is too thick (most likely)

thanks for all your replies. the book I am using, which I think may come from England, calls for 1 3/4 oz (50g) balls of GGH Merino Soft wool. The wool I bought is Naturally - Country. It says 12 ply cable and 3 oz 85 grams. If I need to buy a thinner wool, how do I tell which wool is thinner. I know nothing about this stuff!! Thanks!

debbie, I replied to your ques about the wool in the general thread. please take a look at it. thanks so much for your help. eileen

The yarn used in the pattern is fingering weight, you have a worsted weight, about 3 times as thick. If you look at the yarn labels you can see the needle sizes used for the label gauge (which classifies yarn into a weight range). So you need to look for one that uses about the same needle size as your pattern, a size 3. Sock yarn will work too.

You can tell the weight of the yarn several ways. Here’s a link that might help.

The yarn called for in the pattern is a 1 or fingering weight yarn. The yarn you chose is a 4 or worsted weight yarn. So as Sue says you need to either get a different yarn or a different pattern to match your yarn.

What you try to do when substituting yarn is get as close to the same gauge as possible so your project will come out the same size. Each persons knitting can vary so you may need to go up or down a size from the suggested needle to get gauge. That’s why you’re making a gauge swatch or sample. :thumbsup:

Hang onto the yarn you have for a hat or some handwarmers for yourself. It’s pretty yarn and will do nicely on bigger needles–I bet it’s kinda stiff on the little ones.

Since you’re new, I’d stay away from any bumpy yarn like Baby Boucle or whatever. Look for a thin, smooth yarn that may actually say “Baby” on the label. As someone else said, sock yarn is about the same weight.

Oh, by the way: with baby outfits you should not be too unhappy, when your stuff turns out a LITTLE big (this is too big, though). Babies grow and you should just roughly estimate their size. But too small is sad, if you have a particular baby to knit for.

Thank you all so much for your help. Looked at the label and now I see that I did buy a wool that is much too heavy.

well, no problem, really. Just set it aside and think up a new project for it.
The right yarn is EVERYTHING in knitting. So enjoy your serch for it!