Need help figuring out the gauge

Hi, I am new to knitting. I am trying to do my first pattern. The gauge is 28 sts and 36 rows = 4". So I did that. My 28 sts = 4" but my 36 rows = about 2 1/2". I am using a 3 needle. How do I get to the right measurement without changing how tight I make it? Should I get a larger needle size? If so, any suggestions of what size I should go up to? Any help would be great!

28sts & 36rows = 4 inches is done in stockinette stitch, which is where you knit one side and purl the other and it would look like the front of a sweater. It sounds like you are knitting every row which is garter stitch

You should CO about 32-36 sts, knit about 3 rows, and put a few edge sts in garter, then knit in stockinette in the middle like knittinmitchie wrote. Then measure 4" in the middle. The reason to make the gauge swatch larger is because the edge sts aren’t the same size as in the middle. You might still not get 36 rows (or 9 per inch) but as long as the sts are right, you should be okay. You might go up to the next size needle; the sts may not change much, but the rows would.

You were right I did just knit all the rows. I didn’t know what stockinette stitch ment! Thanks for the tip. I will try to do it the right way and see if I get the right length. THANKS!!

Stockinette is knit one row, purl one row.

And if you don’t (get the right length), it depends on what you’re making as to whether it’s going to be a problem. For EVERY thing (well, except a scarf or a place mat) if your width gauge is off, it is a huge problem. But for MANY things (but not all), if your length gauge is off, you just knit more rows to make up for it. By the way, being able to get one way the gauge right, and the other wrong, is extremely common. So you always worry about the width gauge, first. What are you making and what is the pattern?

I’m making a baby outfit for my sister. I am going to try to do a sweater, bonnet and booties. My mom used to knit them for babies and now has arthritis. So I thought I would have her teach me and carry on the tradition. I have about 4 months to figure this out and finish. The only thing I have knitted before this is a scarf and blanket! I’ve never followed a pattern before.
I just finished my gauge (the right way). I am about a 1/4 of an inch short. So I think I will try 1 or 2 sizes up in needles.

Sounds great! People here will be glad to help along the way if you run into any problems. If you can post the link or which book you’ve gotten it from, that’s always very helpful. And by the way, a 1/4" difference in length gauge is extremely close, and in many patterns, not even worth bothering over.