hi, I have completed three sweaters now and one tank top and all but one are way too big for me. Can anyone help me figure out what I am doing wrong? I have checked my gauge under the supervision of my favorite knitting shop (the girls there are very helpful). I have followed all their instructions. I took one completed item in and they said well you’ll just have to take it out and decrease here and there to make it smaller. But I am not a designer and am not good at figuring out how to tweak my patterns. why doesn’t my sweater end up with the proper measurements and be about 3 sizes bigger than the pattern says when I have the correct gauge? I’m so frustrated.

It could be the yarn, some of them stretch and grow. You should wash and block the gauge square the same as the FO, and even hang it when dry to mimic being worn. Or you may be knitting the wrong size. Many people overestimate their size and think a sweater needs to be at least their bust size or larger. But if you measure one that fits you the way you like, you may find that it’s actually a little smaller than you measure. That’s called negative ease and a lot of tops look really good when knit with about 2" negative ease.

thank you for your reply, I always knit the smallest size available. I usually wear a medium sized top but I always knit the small or extra small if available.
I think your idea of yarn stretching makes alot of sense. But how do we compensate for that? How do I know which yarns stretch?
Will adjusting for a 2" negative ease fix the problem? if so, how do I do that? I don’t know how to tweak instructions.

sorry, what does FO mean?

First, measure a sweater that fits the way you’d like it to fit to see if it does have negative ease. Then knit the size whose finished measurement is closest to the one you measured. You know if your yarn stretches by knitting a sample of it, taking measurements (sts and rows per 4") before and after. Usually the gauge given in a pattern is after blocking, so that’s the way to see if yours matches or not. When it does, then check it as you knit, matching the gauge you got [I]before[/I] blocking so when you’re done, it should turn out right.

FO means finished object.

I thought the gauge given with the yarn was without blocking. The dumbness in me is coming out. I thought if you knit gauge swatch and got what the pattern said it would mean you would come out with a finished product that would fit. Please tell me I won’t have problem with a sweater I am knitting. I did the gauge swatch up a needle size because I am double stranding the yarn and got the gauge the pattern called for. I have done the back and am now working on the front. It has lots of interesting sts and front and back cables. This is for my son. The information you have given is very informative but now my stomach is in knots.

The gauge on the yarn label is probably without blocking, it’s really just to put a yarn into a weight range - dk, worsted, bulky. I’ve learned the gauge given in a [I]pattern[/I] is after washing and blocking.

You can take what you have now and block it out to see if it grows or not. It also depends on the fiber of the yarn - some will, most won’t. Please don’t stress yourself out, you’re probably fine.

Are you using the correct yarn weight for the pattern. Using worsted instead of DK will make the sweater too large, too.


Gauge swatches lie. I have never had a swatch match up to the stitches per inch I get when I actually start knitting my project. I have made enough sweaters and tops over the years to know pretty much how to compensate for my tension. I have several baggy oversized sweaters left from early days as I struggled to find a way to knit to size.
I’m a loose knitter so I go down a size and go down 2 needle sizes then measure the object about 4" in and very seldom have to rip out and start again.

Yeah, it can work if you use your project as a swatch. Many times people tense while working on their swatch and get gauge. Then when they start working on a bigger piece, they relaxe and their natural gauge is looser. So if you start on a sleeve even, or just the body, and measure that after 5-6", you’ll have a better idea what your gauge really is.

I don’t usually gauge swatch because I was taught by my mother and for some reason I get gauge all the time. In the case of this sweater the yarn I am using is lighter than what is called for so to check what my friends at the LYS said I knitted a gauge swatch up a size in needles with the double stranded yarn and got the gauge called for by the pattern if my yarn had been the weight the pattern called for.