I Just Don’t Get How to Gauge…

Since I finished a few of my WIP’s I was excited to spend this past weekend working on some new projects….but that didn’t happen.  Instead I spent most of the day on Sunday kitting up swatches…. grrrrr…..

I had decided I was going to make a really pretty hat that I saw on a blog (and I apologize, I don’t remember which one it was)  But I had saved the project into my queue.  It’s the Hermione Hearts Ron hat by Christy Aylesworth.  I printed the pattern, read it over & was checking for yarn ideas.  It said that I had 2 yarns in my stash, Yay!  (I have made a promise to myself that I would not buy any new yarn until I used up some of the yarn in my stash because my stash is just way to big!  It is overflowing!)  So I was very happy that I had yarn that I could use for this project.  The yarn was Simply Soft by Caron and I have it in 6 different colors!  This yarn has been used 29 times for the project which is the 4th most used yarn.  I figured that was a good sign.   The pattern calls for size 2 & 3 16″ circular needles.  I thought I had them, but nope I have the 24″ circulars.  A quick call to my LYS and off I go to buy the needles.  It was so hard not to browse at all the pretty yarn!  But I did it!  Oh and I’m very excited about the needles I purchased.  They are from Hiya Hiya.  I’ve heard such good things about them in some of my podcasts and I’m very excited to use them.


I begin knitting my swatch using the size 3 needles.  The pattern says 26 stitches should equal 4″.  I cast on 26 stitches & knit away.  So excited to be using my new needles & to soon begin working on my hat.

When I finish the swatch I measure it & it is too big, it measures 5″.  I count the stitches per inch its not correct either.  I should have 6.5 inches.  This doesn’t make sense to me.  I go back to Ravelry and look at the other projects that were made with this yarn to see what needle size they used and it is all over the place, from size 2 to 8.  I’m really lost when it comes to this gauge thing!  I just don’t get it!  I asked my LYS if they did a class on it and they said it would be a great idea and maybe they would work one in soon.  But in the meantime I’m lost.  I tried with a size 6 needle & then a size 8 needle.  I really don’t understand.  The size 6 & 8 are almost identical.  The size 3 swatch is a little smaller, but the number of stitches don’t add up to what I’m supposed to have.


I give up.  I put away everything and work on my Anniversary Sharf which makes me happy 🙂

Monday night I search Ravelry for another hat pattern that I can make using my yarn and I find Dapperly Dashing Scarf & Hat pattern by Stormy Tetreault.  It says that it is a fun pattern to knit & easy to remember!  Winner!! 🙂  Though I haven’t started it, I plan on casting it on today.  But I’m still very upset about the Hermione hat.  I won’t give up on it!!

Oh and BTW the reciptient of the Spooky Socks loved them!!!  Woop Woop!

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26 responses »

  1. Gauging is the worst. I don’t really understand how people get it. I can write the gauge I get when knitting but it is usually always different from what a pattern calls for. Hope you can figure in out and get the hat made.

  2. First, nice socks! I am sure the recipient is very happy with them (wink).

    I can relate to your frustration. When I start a calligraphy piece, it takes many layouts before finally getting it the way you want it. But once that part is done, writing is smooth sailing. Can’t wait to see it when is done!

  3. gauge can be confusing but this might help. if you end up with more stitches than you are suppose to have, switch to a larger needle and vice versa. we all knit a bit differently. I’m lucky as most time the needles they call for in a pattern end up perfect gauge when I use them but that’s not the case for everyone. also, it’s the width across that’s what really matters, the length measurement can usually be adjusted, just by knitting less or more rows, on the actual project. hope this helps a bit. don’t give up!

  4. I typically knit my gauge swatches with less stitches. Since this one states 26 sts = 4″, I’d divide 26 by 4 to get 6.5 sts per inch. I might CO 30, but only use 1-2″ as a guide. So long as your count is universal where ever you measure your 1-2″, you’ve achieved gauge and with less knitting.

    General rule is your gauge swatch should contain more stitches than the # req. to achieve gauge, which is why I cheat and measure less. In this instance you should have at least 3-5 extra stitches on either side, so a total of 32-36 CO sts. I wouldn’t knit the entire row length unless you felt the need. If you were shooting to be exact, then again you need more rows than is called for in the pattern.

    Use seed/moss stitch for the first few rows and also on the extra stitches. This keeps your knitting from curling and makes it easier to measure. You can also do plain garter stitch instead of seed/moss.

    While this pattern doesn’t mention blocking, I always assume gauge is achieved after blocking the swatch. This will make a difference in how many sts. you get per inch.

    I’m not a big swatcher but I have read a lot of information on the topic, so hopefully this helps.

  5. Two things you might find helpful:

    1. Your in-the-round gauge may be tighter than your flat gauge. The reason for this is that you don’t purl when knitting stockinette in-the-round. It appears you knit flat swatches (correct me if I’m wrong), so you may want to take that into consideration.

    2. To avoid having to buy a bunch of different length circular needles, you can buy each needle size in one long length. Then you can use them for magic looping, and that works for small and large diameter in-the-round projects. This is a preference thing, of course, but I find it saves money. I use my long needles for everything from hats to sweaters.

    I hope that helps!

  6. Don’t worry too much about gauge. I always knit swatches and I hardly ever get the gauge I need (probably because I hardly ever use the yarn the pattern calls for). And then I simply calculate. For example:
    I’m suppossed to get 4″ with 20 stitches but need 25 to get 4″ then you need 1.25 times more stitches then referenced in the pattern. I knitted the Hermione Hearts Ron hat some weeks ago and know there is a pattern repeat. With the method above you might get an amount of stitches that doesn’t let you do an even amount of pattern repeats, say with your number of stitches you would now get 6.5 pattern repeats. Then add enough stitches to either get 7 oder 6 pattern repeats depending on the lenght of the pattern repeat. For Hermione Hearts Ron I’d rather go for more than less.
    Saying this I (at least though I) had yarn that gave me gauge for the pattern but the hat was tiny. Maybe with your gauge is absolutely fine even though it is bigger than shown in the pattern.

  7. I’d like to write a post about knitting gauge in my blog, knitknotadeventures.wordpress.com. Would it be okay to reference this post and the discussion when I do that? I can do it without the reference but want to recognize your thoughts accurately.

    • Yes of course.
      I’m still struggling with figuring out the correct gauge. I just knitted a swatch last night. I’m hoping that I have the correct stitch count!
      I look forward to reading your post.

    • Ok. I look forward to reading it.
      I checked my swatch this morning and I have the correct number of stitches! Yay! I’m going to check it again this afternoon when it finishes drying to make sure.

  8. Pingback: Getting Gauge – Knitting Gauge | KnitKnot Adventures

  9. Pingback: A Lot of Firsts…. | A Bunch of Everything

  10. I don’t get the whole gauging thing either… In all honesty, I never do it. I just go by eye to see if it’s the right size! Thanks for visiting my blog and liking my recent post.

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