Gauge is how you measure the number of stitches and rows in one inch of your knitting. It influences lots of things you knitting project, including the size in your pattern you knit, and the it’s critical to know if you’re working any pattern alterations.
How to measure your gauge
Lay your swatch flat. Mark off 4 inches (10 cm) of knitting, vertically and horizontally. Count the number of stitches between markers. This will give you your stitch gauge over four inches. Then count the number of rows between markers. This will give you your stitch and row gauge over four inches.
- Always measure with swatch laying flat.
- Always measure across 4 inches or 10 centimeters. Then if you need to divide by four to get gauge over one inch.
- Never measure at the needle.
- Always measure in the center of your swatch.
Pattern Specific Variations to Gauge
Sometimes, I include technique variations that are for specific patterns. I always include directions for specific techniques in the pattern itself, so be sure to also read any patterns you’re working on closely.
Taking Gauge Variation for Almost Plaid Scarf
If you do the math you will realize that I didn’t have 58 stitches in the scarf to take my gauge. I took my stitch gauge over 3″/7.6 cm then used a relationship formula to figure out the 4″/10 cm gauge. I used to give the smaller number, but tech editors worry that knitters will not notice that I’ve used a different measurement. I still always recommend a larger number of stitches than a tiny gauge swatch, but a gauge swatch doesn’t always make sense. Go here to read a blog post about using the relationship formula.