Newbie doesn't understand guage!

Ok, so I’ve been knitting random stuff since I learned how a month(ish) ago, but I haven’t done anything that really needed sized until today. I knit my son a simple garter stitch hat (with dpns, go me!).

I decided after the fact to try to measure my gauge so I get a feel of how I’m knitting. I used “bulky” wool yarn and 10 1/2 needles It seems I have roughly 30 rows, and 25 stitches to 4inx4in.

What, if anything, does this mean, and will I ever be able to know what size needles to use for gauge?

I’ve also been making a bunch of washcloths (darn but they can be addicting, hope my family appreciates a useful gift this holiday season!) and I’m using size 6 needles with the worsted weight cotton, because it looked super loose with size 7s, and they are coming out roughly the size given by the pattern (many end up 9x11 or thereabouts).


Each pattern has it’s own gauge that the designer had in mind and so will vary from pattern to pattern. The needle size given is a starting point for getting the pattern guage. You may knit looser and have to go down a size, or tighter and need to go up a size to follow the pattern and get the size you want. Or you can do what I do and ignore the gauge completely and knit with the size needles you like and adjust the pattern. I don’t like using worsted weight on size 8s which is the usual suggestion. It’s too dense a fabric for my preference and like a looser one so usually use size 10.5, 7mm or 7.5mm. It’s useful to know if you’re a tight or loose knitter and how dense or loose you like your knitting and whether you should adjust the needle size or not.

Oh, and in the beginning it is normal for your gauge to change a lot. Simply because there are so many things you are ‘learning.’

So that is why it is suggested to check your gauge at various points while knitting.

Some people will go so far as to say never have more than one project on the go at one time, because in the beginning you will find that your gauge will likely be wonky when changing needle size and yarn types.

I found I never really hit a consistant gauge until I knit a large poncho for my mother. There were endless rounds of knit (in the round) to make a stockinette fabric.

Going around and around and around really got me into a rhythm and I became ver consistant in my gauge.

One last personal observation, I find my gauge is different depending on which method I use in knitting. Typically, I find I can use the needle size recommended and the yarn recommended if using Continental style knitting. But if I go with Throw style knitting, I have to go up .5 mm in needle size to get gauge.

I hope you enjoy knitting! :yay::yay:

And I never bothered really testing my gauge until hanging around here. Before that I’d just knit and have to give everything away since it never fit me :slight_smile: I’m looking forward to finishing my first ‘for me project’ by the end of this month! :teehee:

One of the first things I learnt when I started was “always knit a tension swatch”. You can ignore that, unless you are knitting something where tension and size matters - scarves are innocent, as are washcloths!

Here is a lovely article all about guage.

A quick run-down of the basics:

On the yarn band itself, you can see what guage your knitting should be, with that particular yarn and with a certain size needle.

If you are knitting from a pattern, they will tell you the guage and which needles to use. Knitting at the same guage ensures that you are knitting the item exactly like the designer did, so you will use the correct amount of yarn and the sizes will be the same.

Before you start a pattern in which guage matters, you knit a tension swatch. The swatch is slightly bigger than the area you want to measure. Once you have knitted enough, you count your rows and stitches in the 4inx4in area. If it matches the recommended guage, great! If it is too tight, or too loose, you can either adjust your knitting technique (knitting more loosely or pulling it tighter), or you can change your needles up or down a size.

If you save all your tension swatches (squares) you can eventually sew them together to make something, like a hot water bottle cover or patchwork cushion or something.

Happy knitting, and show us what you make! I go gaga for photo’s.

Thanks so much all! Definitely making more sense now.

I think I’m going to finish up my washcloths and scarves and maybe one more hat, but as soon as I"m ready to start a fitted something I’ll know where to start!

Wow, you are getting 25 sts to 4" with bulky weight yarn on size 10.5s! It’s exceptionally tight. I think your fabric must be coming out very stiff. It’s washcloths you’re making? That’s probably useful for washcloths, actually. That’s the gauge I would get using size 4s and sport weight yarn!

Maybe I’m counting wrong? I am counting on the hat I already knit - I think it was a bulky - it is about twice as big as the worsted I am using on wash cloths - maybe I should count what i get with 6s on a wash cloth? I feel like I’m knitting loose - ha!

ok, re-read a gauge link, counted again…um yeah, I was counting each stitch twice :aww: ha! So, make that 13 stitches per 4 inches. Does that sound more reasonable? Guess I should still count a wash cloth, but for now I have another hat otn and I want to finish that before I touch anything else :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s good to know what your gauge is for individual projects, but that doesn’t tell you much about your gauge for the next one. Even using a similar yarn and the same needle size can vary. So when you make something that needs to fit, you need to try to get as close as you can to the [B]pattern’s[/B] gauge or else do the math.

Gauges? We don’t need no steenking gauges!

Yer right! I don’t call it a gauge swatch - I say I’m knitting up a sample to see how many I need to CO (cause I don’t follow the pattern) and what the st pattern looks like in the needles and yarn I want to use. Then I adjust if it’s not coming out like I want.