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blessedtosew
03-19-2009, 09:16 PM
If I am trying to figure out what my gauge is for a certain pattern, lets say, for instance, 16 sts/20 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch on US 9 needles , I am not even sure what that means. :shrug: Also, if I don't have the right number of stitches, do I have to reknit :knitting: the gauge again using a different needle, or is there a formula to figure out which size needle I would use to get the correct number of stitches?

vaknitter
03-19-2009, 09:22 PM
So for the yarn in your example, if you cast on 16 stitches with size 9 needle and knit in stockinette stitch for 20 rows you should have a 4" square. If your square is smaller than 4" you may need to add stitches or go up a needle size if you can.
Some yarns will tell you there are 5 stitches to the inch with size 9 needles. So if you want a scarf that is 10" wide you would anticipate casting on 50 stitches.

Ingrid
03-19-2009, 09:43 PM
The reason all patterns give a gauge is that people knit at different tensions. In order for your final product to come out the same size as the one in the pattern, you need to have the same gauge.

For scarves and things that don't have to fit, it isn't all that critical.

But if you, for example, were to knit a sweater that has, oh, 100 stitches for the back, knitting at 5 stitches per inch would make it 20 inches across; knitting at 4 stitches per inch would make it 25 inches across. A big difference.

For a gauge swatch, it's usually recommended to cast on more than the number of stitches than is supposed to equal 4 inches. Then you measure to see how many you get across 4 inches of your knitting. This way the edge stitches don't throw your count off.

To be honest, I never really knit a full 4 x 4 swatch. As long as my stitch count is correct, I figure that I can knit to length rather than number of rows.

Depending on the project (and your degree of patience) you can guestimate the change needed for the project (if your gauge is off) and then measure the gauge of your work in progress. This may mean reknitting it if it's still way off, but it is easier. :shrug:

imrachel
03-19-2009, 11:18 PM
One handy little tool is a gauge measure: Such as this http://www.herrschners.com/Product/Knit+Chek+AllInOne+Knitters+Aide.aspx or this http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.jsp?CATID=cat2874&PRODID=prd31088 . See the little right angled window in them? You hold that up to your work and it's easier to see how many sts you're getting for 2 inches (just multiply by 2 for the usual 4"/10cm measurement.

As for re-knitting-- I also don't worry so much about the row (vertical) count, just the stitch (horizontal) count. But I would knit a good couple of inches to make sure you're really getting a steady stitch size established. Then I would measure across. Most gauge/tension swatches are supposed to be in stockinette stitch. If it's not right, just purl a row on the knit side when you change needle size-- this marks where you did that so that you'll know the next few rows are in the new needle size. Sometimes I have to change a few times to get the right gauge.

Different types of needles will give you different gauges (wood, metal, plastic) and different yarns definitely will, even if they're all listed at the same weight. So unless I'm doing something with the same yarn over again, I always do a gauge swatch. The dyes used in some colors can even make the same yarn in different shades knit up slightly differently, but hey, knitted garments are supposed to be stretchy, so I don't get that neurotic over that one.

lactosefree
03-20-2009, 12:30 PM
When knitting with superwash wool, or knitting a garment that has pieces that require blocking - like a sweater etc. I always knit a swatch then block it before I measure the swatch for gauge. Some of the superwash wool out there has a tendency to 'grow' after blocking and sometimes some wools change tension after being wet and drying.

blessedtosew
03-20-2009, 01:43 PM
When knitting with superwash wool, or knitting a garment that has pieces that require blocking - like a sweater etc. I always knit a swatch then block it before I measure the swatch for gauge. Some of the superwash wool out there has a tendency to 'grow' after blocking and sometimes some wools change tension after being wet and drying.

I had been wondering if I needed to block my gauge. Thanks for that tip and thanks everyone for your help. What is confusing to me is if I knit the number of stitches and rows called for, what do I do if my swatch doesn't come out to 4 inches square--couldn't I just block it to be that if it doesn't stretch too much?

imrachel
03-20-2009, 03:06 PM
Something to keep in mind when blocking is that the stretch has to come from somewhere-- so if you increase the width when you block, you'll decrease the length. The only place you'll think that you're getting both length and width increase is when you block lace, because it bunches up around the "holes" when it's relaxed. But for a sweater or socks, etc., that won't happen.

suzeeq
03-20-2009, 04:40 PM
What is confusing to me is if I knit the number of stitches and rows called for, what do I do if my swatch doesn't come out to 4 inches square--couldn't I just block it to be that if it doesn't stretch too much?

You really should knit it with enough stitches that it will be larger than 4", the edge sts curl under and aren't the same size as the ones in the middle. So block it or just dampen and pin flat, and measure the center sts when dry. If you have more sts/4" than the pattern asks for, your needles are too small (making more sts/inch) and you need to go up in size. If you have less sts, then the needles are too larger and you go down in size.