Quick lesson on gauge…
Your yarn and needle combination will result in a specific size stitch. Bigger needles make a bigger stitch… smaller needles make smaller stitches. Thicker yarn also makes a bigger stitch, thinner yarn…etc. So you have to test this yarn with these needles and see how big the stitches are.
So. If you’re knitting a sweater that needs to be so many inches wide to fit the wearer, your gauge is important, no? If your gauges is off, you could end up with a sweater that’s 3 sizes too big, or small. That would suck.
When knitting your swatch, the width measurement is WAY more important than the length measurement. If your yarn and needle combo makes the right number of stitches, but the number of rows is off, don’t worry about it. You can always knit more or fewer rows to add or subtract length.
Also, very important. WASH AND DRY your swatch as you would the finished item before beginning. Trust me. I once checked the gauge, then knit a sweater for my sister. After washing it, the yarn relaxed and the sweater grew 4 sizes. :doh: