How to Adjust Gauge in Knitting

Yesterday, we talked about a simple way to measure gauge.

Now, what do you do if your gauge isn’t matching the gauge your pattern calls for? How do you adjust gauge easily?

If you have too many stitches per inch, that means your stitches are too small and you need to make them bigger. Go up a needle size and try again.

If you have too few stitches per inch, that means your stitches are too big and you need to make them smaller. Go down a needle size and try again.

Keep adjusting your needle size until your gauge matches the pattern’s gauge.

To test different needle sizes using one swatch, work about an inch or two of stockinette using one needle size, then knit a ridge in garter stitch (knitting the wrong-side row instead of purling it). Change needle sizes and work another inch or two in stockinette. Knit another garter ridge, then change needle sizes again. This way, all your different gauges will be separated by a garter ridge.

To remember which needle size made which section, you could do a couple things:

1) Write it down in detail in a notebook of knitting & project notes.

2) At the start of each new section, work 7 purl stitches (bumps) for size 7 US needles, 6 purl bumps for size 6 needles, etc. Then, your notes will be knit right into your swatch.

3) Use your Ravelry project page as your notebook and write it all down there. Or use Evernote. Whatever digital brain works best for you.

4) Unless you’re Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, don’t assume that you’ll remember. If you’re more like me, you’ll think you’ll remember, then you’ll get distracted by something else and forget about it for a couple days, then pick it up and wish you’d written everything down somewhere.

If you’re a really tight knitter, don’t be alarmed if you need to go up a couple of needle sizes. That’s totally normal.

If you’re a really loose knitter, you may need to go down a couple of needle sizes. Also totally normal.

The point of getting gauge isn’t to compare yourself to others’ knitting styles, but to accurately measure your own knitting, in your own style, and make it work for you.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about adjusting patterns to fit our gauge. Sometimes, we want to use a different yarn that just won’t cooperate. How do we make it work?

31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. www.aknitica.com #write31days #knittingtipsThis post is part of my 31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. Every day, I’ll post a new tip or trick to make your knitting nicer. You can follow along easily by subscribing. If you have any knitting problems you’d like me to fix, let me know and I’ll try to answer your question as part of the series. You can find all the posts in the series here.

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  • Tammy

    THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR THIS SERIES! Even though I think I’ve some of these instructions/tips before, it just makes more sense to me. It must be the way you’re explaining things. You are very talented teacher!