I’m starting to knit a top that calls for a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch on size 5s. It’s knitted in the round and the smallest circs I have are 6s. With the size 6s I’m getting 4.5 stitches to the inch. I’m using the size yarn called for - sport weight. If I’m going to buy smaller needles do you think size 5s will get me the gauge I need or should I maybe go down another size and get 4s???
Sounds like you’re a new knitter. Yes, I’d buy both sizes of needles - you’ll never need to buy them again, and you’ll use them over and over.
Gauge is very important to the ultimate success of a pattern. And you will need to verify what your personal knitting-style gauge is, since it well may be different than whoever wrote the pattern has for their own gauge.
I don’t know about you all but my gauge knitting in the round is different than when I knit on straight needles. You might want to take the time to do a gauge test on DPN’s or curcular needles to make sure it’s right.
I’m with DorothyDot as well, needles aren’t too expensive and you only have to buy them once. Unless you have kids who use them as drumsticks, then you might have to buy them several times.
In only an inch the difference between 4.5 and 6 is quite a bit. You very likely need the 4. Do you have any straight needles that are 4s? You could try a gauge swatch with the straights to get you closer to the right gauge. But…I sometimes find that I knit a little different in the round than on straights. If you have straights to work with get gauge with them and then buy the size you got gauge on, but don’t be surprised by a surprise if the gauge varies a little. Even needles of the same size can vary a little, especially if of different materials or brands.
With circular knitting my whole project becomes my swatch sometimes. Some folks like to start on a sleeve so that their “swatch” isn’t so big. But my gauge can vary on dpns and regular circulars as well.