Problems with gauge/tension

I’ve been knitting for about 6 months now - lots of baby booties, a small baby sweater, a doll, a few simple toques. I’m eager to do some slippers and scarves, a couple of sweaters, but I’m hesitant to tackle these bigger projects because my guage is always such a mess!

When I follow a pattern, the dimensions of the finished item seem so skewed - too wide and too short! When I switched to smaller kneedles, the knitted garment felt so tight and stiff.

I’ve knit and then unravelled several slippers to start over from the beginning, and I’m getting discouraged.

Is there a general connection between the thickness or weight of the yarn and the needle size that I should use?

Maybe knitting is like painting a room - you put a lot of time into the set-up (cleaning and taping / yarn rolling and guage checking) and then the actual job doesn’t take very long?

On the wrapper on your yarns, they will give you a suggested needle size and the gauge that was gotten.

The needle size on the label is generally to show which weight category (dk, worsted, bulky, etc) the yarn belongs in, and you might not get the same gauge or find that the yarn is too loose or too stiff using that needle. I feel that using the needle on the label gauge (or in patterns) makes it too stiff and dense, rather than soft and drapey. I’m not a tight knitter either, I can get gauge, I just don’t like it.

So it’s a place to start, but you decide if you like what it produces. If you don’t, then use needles to get the tension you like, figure out what the sts/inch are and use more or less sts to make something the correct size. This involves measuring and math.