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I am quite new to knitting, and am probably displaying my ignorance here, but am having trouble understanding how to knit to the right guage.<br>
What would make a test swatch that is supposed to be square be rectangular instead? The project I'm attempting is supposed to be 16 stitches x 24 rows = 4". The 24 row length is 4", but 16 stitches wide is only 3" How do I compensate for that? Change needles? Change something else?
 

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Hi drjen <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Come on by the Yarn Crafts forum, lots of knitters hang out in there.<br><br>
Gauge is affected by three things: the yarn you're using, the size of the needles, and your personal tension (i.e., how tightly you wrap the working yarn around the needle as you make each stitch). To find out what your gauge is with any given combination of those three, knit up a piece of fabric that is at least 4" wide and 4" tall -- not counting "border" fabric you knit to help it lay flat. Then, once you've got it all knit up, take it off the needles, pin it out -- some people say to wash it and block it even -- and start counting stitches and rows.<br><br>
"Stitch gauge" refers to the number of stitches per inch (or per four inches, or per 10 centimeters). Row gauge refers to the number of rows in given length of fabric (one inch, 4 inches, 10cm etc).<br><br>
If in your 4"-wide piece of test fabric you have MORE stitches than the pattern makers gauge, if you follow the pattern your fabric will end up being too small. If your 4" wide piece of test fabric has fewer stitches, then the fabric you knit up will be bigger than what is expected in the pattern.<br><br>
You can adapt YOUR knitting several ways: you can change the size of the needle you're using (bigger needles if your fabric would be too small, smaller needles if your fabric would be too big), or you can see if one of the other sizes in the pattern will better match your gauge.<br><br>
I'm a person that knits up swatches and then picks the one with the fabric I like most. Then I work out the math to see which size of the pattern I should go for, given MY gauge with the needle/yarn combination I like.<br><br>
Hope that helps, and definitely drop in on the Yarn Crafts forum <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"> I thought I put this in Yarn Crafts! I don't know how I managed to put it here!<br><br>
Anyway, so if my number of rows matches the patterns suggestion, but the number of stitches does not, would it be okay to recalculate the pattern to reflect how many stitches it takes me to get the desired number of stitches, and leave the number of rows the same?<br>
Still sort of confused as to why the number of rows would work out okay but have too few stitches? If I just went up in needle size I'm afraid it would still be uneven, but now I'd have too few rows?
 

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Probably better to try a bigger needle if you have one -- that's a pretty big difference in your stitch gauge, and you might not be able to make it work by trying a different size.<br><br>
Row gauge differences are easier to overcome because you just knit more or fewer rows to accomodate. But since stitch counts affect things like pattern repeats and waist shaping - so you can't necessarily just shave off 10 stitches from the row/round. If you're just working on something that is a lot of stockinette and little shaping, then by all means, work the math and use the needle you swatched with. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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