Measured Gauge --- What now?

I am working on a baby hat that seems quite simple. This is the first pattern I’ve used that’s required keeping to a gauge.

I knitted 30 rows of 22 stitches and the 4X4 swatch I should have had is 4X4.5 inches. Do I switch from size 10 needles to size 9 in this case, or do I keep to size 10? Do I do a swatch in size 9 and see if that’s closer?

The swatch was steamed block per pattern instructions. The measurements were taken once the swatch was completely dried.


Was 22 stitches supposed to be the 4 inches wide? And you got 4 inches wide? If so you would stick to that needle and adjust the length by knitting fewer rows if you need to. Sometimes it is more exact to knit a swatch just a little over the 22 stitches you need because the ones right on the edges usually aren’t reliable when you measure them. I find baby hat sizes to not be just right sometimes anyway. As in, if it says it is a 6 month size hat it may or may not fit your particular baby at 6 months. If I get close gauge I might just go for it and see what I get. If it is way off I can always rip it out and start over.


Yes, the pattern’s guage said to cast on 22 stitches and knit for 30 rows in stockinette to get a 4X4 swatch. The 22 stitches = 4 inches, but the 30 rows = 4.5.

I’m not too worried about this fitting right away. The baby isn’t due until November (sister’s baby), so I figure so long as it stays a size good for up to a four or five month old, it’ll get some use in New England weather.

You think this is close enough to just keep the size 10s?

Actually that’s just the gauge, that’s not how you make a swatch. Generally, you want to cast on more sts and not include the edges when measuring. But for this item, that’s close enough and the stitch gauge is usually more important than getting the row gauge as length is given in inches not by rows. Even for the top shaping that’s not enough difference to be off.

Yep, just stick with the 10s.

I didn’t include the edges when measuring. The yarn is fine enough that all the stitches can be seen really clearly. It works itself up incredibly nice and is really easy to see each individual stitch.

I’ll keep to the 10s, thanks.

I agree with Sue. I’d just keep the 10s and if it gives you a number of inches to work to before you start the decreases, just go by the inches there and then let the decreases happen and it will work out okay.

I didn’t include the edges when measuring.
Oh, since you said it measured 4 x 4½ I thought you had measured over the 22 sts and 30 rows. Generally gauge is given in how many sts and rows make up the 4" and for the rows that would be about 26 or 27 on this piece. But you don’t have to be as exact for the rows anyway.

For a larger item, it’s a good idea to CO about 6 or 8 sts more than the sts given for 4" and knitting the length doesn’t matter so much, but it should be at least 3". That way it can be a little more accurate across the whole 4" in the middle of the piece as the edges curl under and aren’t the same size as the other stitches.

close enough, I agree.

But also: even if you are off, you can either change the needle size or adjust the number of stitches in your pattern.

Since your “off” is just the rows… what ever.
If you have a pattern that gives the rows by inches: fine.
If your pattern should give the instruction by rows (as in: in row 45 start your decrease… or something) you just have to do the math.

your rows turn out 1/8 longer than they should be.

so if the pattern called for something in row 45 you would find out what 7/8 of 45 were: - about 39.4 so you would do 40 rows and that is that…

if there is no delicate pattern you have to “conclude” then just go ahead.

Every baby has a different head shape and a different size anyways. Since the baby is not born yet, you can only get an estimate anyways. And should it not be the perfect fit… so be it. then just go ahead and make a refined version. Will the baby mind getting 2 hats? Most likely not.

It’s easier to convert the pattern’s row gauge to inches, then figure how many rows that measurement is in your row gauge.