What is wrong with my gauge

I am a beginning kintter, I am teaching myself. My project should be 4" long at 30 rows and it is only 3" long. What am I doing wrong? I have the correct needles and yarn that my project calls for so I don’t get it.
Thanks for any help

People don’t always get both the same stitch and needle size as given in the swatch and row gauge isn’t as important since most patterns give lengths in inches, not rows. You should really use more sts and rows than given for 4" and don’t measure over the edges. You’re really trying to find out how many sts and rows per 4" you get, not to make a 4" square. You may need to go up a needle size, as that often changes the row gauge more than stitch gauge. The one given in the pattern is just the one that the designer used who will probably have a completely different knitting style and gauge than you do. It’s just where you start.

Yeah, how wide is it? Are you getting the stitch gauge (number of stitches in the 4 inches) right? If you are and the row gauge is that far off it is hard to correct that problem but like Sue said many times row gauge is not important, but stitch gauge sure is. Make sure your stitch gauge is right first. If it is and row gauge is not important just knit to length. If row gauge is important you might try using needles of different materials, like if you used bamboo, try aluminum (in the same size) and see if that helps, sometimes it does a bit, but you are off quite a ways and may need to adjust the pattern if your stitch gauge is right and row gauge off that much. But I suspect that your stitch gauge is also off.

Use whatever needles you need to give you gauge and don’t think it is unheard of to use needles of several sizes difference to get the gauge called for. That can happen. Don’t try to change your knitting style if it is looks good and is comfortable and natural for you, change your needles instead.

Thank you so much for the information suzeeq and MerigoldinWA.
Actually my stitch gauge is correct. So I will knit to the required length instead of counting rows.

You’re going to find many different knitting gauges in patterns. The gauge listed on yarn labels is ideal gauge, like we would all knit if we were perfect robots. Then there’s the designer’s gauge. They may be tight or loose knitters. Their gauge may not be the same as yours. You try to approximate it as well as you can. You may have to go up or down a needle size. The type of yarn called for in the pattern is important. A worsted weight yarn is going to give you a different gauge than a sport weight. You can’t just substitute one for the other with no changes in gauge or needles and expect it to come out the same. Your project could end up fitting a midget or a giant. Gauge is important in fitted items such as sweaters and hats. It’s not critical for something like blankets or scarves.

And I’ve seen the moderators here comment more than once. It’s important where you measure the gauge. Your gauge is not going to measure out right at the cast on edge or at the sides of the work. You need to knit your swatch more like 6 by 6 inches and measure it in the middle and center of the swatch.

The gauge listed on yarn labels is ideal gauge, like we would all knit if we were perfect robots

Not exactly. The gauge on the labels classifies the yarn into a weight category. But the rest of your post is spot on.