Whats gauge?

Hi, I am new to knitting but love it! I am planning to work on a clutch purse with a button hole etc, and at the start of the pattern it says the following below:

GAUGE:

12 sts = 4 in. [10 cm] in St st (k on RS, p on WS), before felting. BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR GAUGE.

I am not sure what it means? As after that, it says:
CLUTCH
Cast on 28 sts.
Work in St st until piece measures 18 in. [46 cm] from beginning, end with a WS row. Bind off.

and the rest of the pattern says:
FINISHING
Fold Clutch into thirds, sew side seams. Weave in ends.

Flower
Cast on 23 sts. Work in St st until piece measures 1 in. [2.5 cm] from beginning. Bind off. Weave in ends. Coil Flower into a rose shape. With sewing needle and thread, sew across base of Flower to secure shape. Sew Flower to Clutch.

FELTING
Wash by machine on a hot wash/cold rinse cycle with detergent and several pieces of clothing to agitate. To felt additionally, dry by machine on a regular setting until almost dry. Remove from dryer and pull into shape.

I hope someone can help me with the first part of the pattern as it confuses me.
Many thanks for ur help. I like this site by the way, its the best one!! Have bookmarked it and joined it. Knitting is a great way for me to unwind I find, and of course to meet new ppl thru!! :slight_smile:
Cheers,
gypsysnail (or snail)

I’m a fairly new knitter but I’ll try to explain. Ingrid can pipe in anytime with further explanation. :slight_smile:

Gauge is (I don’t know the proper definitio but) what makes a garmet/item the size that it is. Like if you use the size needles and the yarn called for in the pattern (or equivalent), AND you knit JUST like the person did to get GAUGE, then yours will match theirs.

With a gauge of 12 sts = 4 in. [10 cm] in St st (k on RS, p on WS), what you will do is this…

Knit a swatch that is 4 inches x 4 inches (actually I think 5x5 is better) using stockinette stitch. Once you do that, you should take it off the needles and measure (with a ruler) a 4x4 area. If you knit like the person who tested the pattern, then you should count and see how many STITCHES you have across one row in a 4 in area.

I think you can break it down into 4 in would have 12 sts, but 1 in. would have 3 sts. If your gauge does not match what is called for then, you will need to change needle sizes. Too few stitches, you would go down a needle size, Too many stitches and you would up a needle size until you can knit and get 3 sts per inch.

Hope this helps.

Gauge is just how many stitches you should have per inch in order for your knitted item to turn out the way the patterns intends.

In this case, there is 12 stitches for every 4 inches or 3 stitches per inch. So what you do is just knit a stockinette stitch swatch with more that 12 stitches (I’d say 16-18). Once you have about 12 rows or so, just measure how many stitches are in 4 inches. It should be 12. If you have more, then you need to go up a needle size. If you have less, you need to go down a size.

Personally, I think it’s weird that a felted pattern would call for a gauge check. With felting, it usually doesn’t matter as long as you get a loose fabric.

Wow that was so fast a reply! Thank you sooo much penny and stephanie, ur help is so much appreciated! I am so happy and excited about this project!!! I am an artist and always looking for weird wacky ways in my creations. Knitting is one of those creations. Many may say its an old ladies thing but I say otherwise!!! Its for anyone and I find it relaxing as I imagine u all do too ;). Anyways thanks again and I will go start the project, hoping to make a few of these clutch purses for friends’ bdays.

:smiley: Welcome to the forum :waving:

Figuring out guage properly is still something I struggle with. :?? I swatch diligently but don’t always hit the mark. It matters most for garments where the fit is important.

A while back someone on this forum posted this knitty.com article link about guage swatching. Thought you might find it handy.

Welcome to the forum and have fun knitting!
Lynn