Knitting Thru April – G is for Gauge

Knitting Thru April – G is for Gauge

Gauge is one of the most dreaded words for most knitters.  Gauge is the number of stitches per inch and stitches per row to make a knitted garment the size and shape you want. Gauge is determined by knitting a sample swatch with the patterns of the project, the yarn and the size needles you need to obtain gauge.

Many a knitter has been taken out by a gauge swatch that won’t yield the correct number of stitches per inch or row. Without the correct gauge a garment, particularly sweaters, will be the wrong size and/or not wear properly. There are ways to compensate for the inconsistencies by changing the needle size or adjusting the stitch pattern. This usually means a new swatch pattern.

Most knitters don’t want to do a gauge swatch because they are in such a hurry to start the new project they are so excited about. So most knitters either learn the hard way or trust the master knitters and just do the swatches.

How to do a gauge swatch:

1. Take your chosen yarn and the suggested needle size. Use these to knit a 4×4 swatch in the knit pattern for your garment. Be sure to add a garter stitch (knit on both sides) to help the swatch to lay flat.

2. Wash and block the swatch to mimic the washing process of the final garment.

3. Use a gauge tool to measure how many stitches are in a 2-inch row and column. Divide by two and you know the number stitches per row and stitches per inch. If this doesn’t match the correct gauge for the garment you are making….start over.

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