Gauge you say

I don’t know if I am in the majority or the minority when I say I don’t typically take the proper time to get an accurate gauge. I mean, there is such a thing as "Close Enough" Gauge, RIGHT! At least I take the time to attempt the gauge, which counts for something. It is just that if I get within a quarter to a half a stitch I decide it is close enough and I can either knit a little tighter or a little looser plus I can monitor my gauge throughout the project.

And can you really get an accurate gauge swatch if, for your project, you will be stockinette knitting in the round and your gauge swatch is knit/purl flat. I have heard so many people say that most knitters knit and purl at different tensions, so is it even possible to get an accurate gauge. And if not do some knitters do their swatch in the round.

Furthermore, who really knits a full size gauge swatch anyway? Four inches is a lot of knitting time wasted on a swatch, plus it uses up a bunch of yarn which I am not willing to take away from my project. I usually knit 5-10 rows, depending on the size of the needle and then count my stitches in an inch; I never worry about row gauge.

I know, I know, a lot knitters either knit tighter or looser at the beginning of a project but as they move forward with it they loosen or tighten up accordingly. But In my case I guess I do a little of both because with one project, see below, my gauge was looser than the project and with another my gauge was tighter than the project. So what gives? How is one to know how to adjust their needle size when they knit so unpredictably?

Lucky for me I don’t have a problem frogging as soon as I realize that I am way off gauge. Granted, I spent a lot of time working on what has already been completed, but do I really want to spend 4, 5 or even 6 times longer on a garment that I will never wear. NO! I guess I should have just knit the full size swatch and kept trying different needle sizes until I got the perfect gauge. Will I ever learn? Probably not!

Needless to say, the new project I started on Wednesday, Wicked, is destined to be frogged today and re-started. I did attempt my gauge swatch and came out with 4.75 stitches per inch; the pattern called for 4.5. I knitted the entire first ball, about 104 yards, and checked my gauge. And, wouldn’t you know I got an average of 5-5.5 stitches per inch. This project is top down and knitted in the round and I have the knowledge to adjust the pattern as I go to make it fit me, but the fact that I bought exactly the amount of yarn called for in the pattern, for my size, I have concerns that I will run out before my sweater is long enough.

So I am going to bite the bullet and frog two projects today, Wicked and the Mother Lode Socks.


Here is the picture showing how much bigger the second sock was, about 4 stitches bigger. Plus I checked my gauge again and I was getting 9 stitches to the inch, but when I checked the gauge at the beginning of the project I was getting 10 stitches per inch. 


Hope everyone has a great weekend.


2 Responses to “Gauge you say”

  1. Miranda Says:

    I need to start checking my gauge throughout a project. I always crap out on that… mostly because I believe it it’s ok it HAS to be! haha I forgot how much I love the Wicked pattern… What yarn are you using?

  2. Tara Says:

    Well, I’m the same as you when it comes to knitting gauge swatches. I really find them a waste of time and also like you, I’d rather get started on the garment itself and if need be, frog it and start over. At least if I *am* at gauge (or close to), I’m already into my project instead of a stupid swatch.

    I also go by the ‘close enough’ rule because if I am off by one stitch or less, it is going to take FAR too long to figure out what I need to do differently with needle sizes and tension. I just check gauge randomly throughout my work and hope I’m still close!

    The cardigan I’m currently working on has the gauge listed in the lace pattern (it uses stripes of a lace pattern and reverse stockinette). It is *impossible* to check gauge in that pattern, so I didn’t even bother.

    Gauge lies anyway. 😀

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