Understanding gauge and needle size - help a challenged knitter out

I feel silly to ask this question, but feeling silly is okay as long as I learn something from it! I’m just not able to visualize how this works, and am very concerned that I’ll sort this out the hard way. Goodness knows that I’ll learn plenty of other stuff the hard way…

Ridiculously silly question:
I’m a tight knitter. Am I likelier to use MORE yarn than a project calls for, or LESS?

For example, if a project calls for size 6 needles and 460 yards of yarn, and I know that I knit tightly, would I need to plan to have more yarn available, or would I be likelier to have yarn left over?

[I know that I would need to knit a swatch and get gauge and all of that - which I will do - but I’m interested to know what is likely to happen.]

Math is hard and stuff. [I]twirls hair around her finger[/I]
So thank you for for helping me understand this simple concept…!


If you knit tight, it would go to follow that you will most likely use more stitches per inch to achieve gauge than is called for in the pattern. So, actually, you will end up using more yarn than the pattern calls for.

I would suggest swatching to determine which needle size you’d need to use to get the correct gauge since you know you knit tightly instead of trying to figure out how much more yarn you need. Not that I wouldn’t buy extra yarn anyway - I usually do too. I’d rather return the extra or toss it in my stash if I don’t need it.

Tight knitters then to us more yarn, even when going up a needle size to get gauge.

That’s what the back of my head was saying, but I needed to have some outside validation, too.

I have a fun skein of yarn that I was hoping to cast on for my first shawl, and I’m afraid it won’t be enough. Since it was a special dye lot and I probably can’t get more, I may just have to go out and get new yarn for this project. Oh darn! :wink:

I’m hoping to post pics later tonight of my 2nd pair of socks - just finished yesterday. Hence my excitement about starting a new project.

Thanks again!

You can knit on larger needles than given in the pattern (like go up 4 sizes) and that will stretch out the amount of the yarn you have. For a shawl it’s not always necessary to match gauge. Though a rectangular one might need to have the stitch numbers adjusted.