Tension Guage - Which needle size do I choose?

Oh dear, I’m in a pickle again :??

I want to start a pattern for a summer top, I’ve got all my gear together and the tension sample instructions are confusing (well, to me anyway!)

There are 2 needle sizes required for the pattern:
The band is done in rib with a 4mm needle
The main pattern is done with a 6mm needle

Fine so far, except that the tension guide only says
33 stitches to 8 inches in stocking stitch

As neither the rib nor the pattern are knitted up in stocking stitch I can’t tell which needle size to choose.

Is there an understood principle about which needle to choose for the tension sample when you have a choice? :thinking:

Help is appreciated.

I’ve got 4 projects sitting in the bag knitted up and still not sewn, and another project 1/3 completed so I feel this is a good time to start something else! :wink: I’m sure I’m not the only one who hates sewing up!

Use the bigger needles for the swatch. Usually, the gauge is given for the part of the sweater that’s in the majority. They have you do it in stockinette stitch because it’s easier to measure.

Thanks again for unravelling the mystery! :smiley:

This makes perfect sense, but oddly I had to ask for the principle of the thing because I actually have 2 patterns that don’t use the needle size for the main part of the garment as the guage needle. Hmmmmm… is it just me, or are there lots of anomalies out there?

A funny story for you… my dear mum-in-law who used to knit but is now too many years from it to remember much did tell me something that made me giggle. I was asking her if she could help me with a Sirdar pattern (this was before I found this great forum). She said “Oh dear, Sirdar patterns always knit up too big”. I thought, that’s odd. I’ve never heard that before. So she told me she’d once knit up a sweater that was absolutely miles too big. I asked “did you knit a tension swatch?” “No”, she said. What happened? She was knitting a plain sweater for herself and it was, um, huge. She unravelled it and out of one adult ladies sweater she got 3 pullovers for my husband, then aged 11 yrs! I nearly split myself inside out laughing :roflhard:
If she’d just kept that sweater she could have used it as a furniture cover, or donated it to the zoo for the baby elephant!
Not one to despise experience though, I never ever start something now without doing a tension swatch!

That story is hilarious, Knitknot!

Yes, there are a lot of anomalies out there, and yes, there are also a lot of HUGE or [size=2]tiny[/size] sweaters floating around that could have used a guage swatch! :wink:

Hey Jan!
Nice to know that one Jan can make another giggle!