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Old 12-03-2010, 11:02 AM   #2
suzeeq
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Gauge is the tension you knit at, how many stitches per inch (or 4") you get with a needle and yarn. Pattern have a gauge that would try to match using whatever needle you need to; if you do then you can pick a size and the item would more than likely fit you. It's not as important for scarves and shawls as they don't have to fit, but if there's a very large difference in gauge then they'll turn out a different size.

Yarn labels have a gauge on them, but that's more to classify them into a weight category - sock, dk, worsted or bulky for example - than the gauge you should get or for substituting similar yarns. Patterns will often have a different gauge and needle size and that's the one you would follow.

Here's a few articles on gauge --
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall08/FEATfall08TT.html
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall08/FEATfall08TT.html
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring03/FEATswatchout.html
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer05/FEATsum05TBP.html
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