Why Knitting Gauge is so important?

 A knitting gauge is important for every knitting project, be it a pair of socks or a blanket. You just don’t start a project with the knitting needles and yarn mentioned in a pattern. A pattern designer often mentions that gauge count and knitters try to achieve the same count or something close to it. To understand why knitting gauge is important, you must understand what it is. A knitting gauge is a little map that you create with your own knitting needles to understand your journey better. In knitting and also crochet, a gauge refers to the number of stitches as well as rows in one inch of knitted fabric.

knitting gauge

To get a knitting gauge, you need to knit a small swatch to match the intended count. You take the knitting needle size or even type mentioned in the pattern and the yarn fiber and weight and make a small square of 6-10 inches. After binding off the square, wash it and block it. Later measure an inch with a measuring tape and see the count. If it’s lesser than mentioned, use a smaller needle size and go a size up if the count is more. Try and achieve the closest count.

Now, you might want to skip this step of knitting a gauge swatch, but you must not.

gauge swatch

Why Is Knitting Gauge Important?

  1. A gauge determines the look of your project. When it comes to the look, even if you follow the pattern designer’s gauge and recommendation, the look might be different. Even though you work with the needle sizes and yarn recommended you might end up with a different look. Different needle materials work differently with yarns. If you have uneven knitting tension (due to yarn or the needle material), your knitting may appear lumpy. The stitches will get bigger and smaller throughout the fabric and manifest in gaps. With a gauge swatch, you can clearly see the stitches and understand the drape of the knitted fabric.


  1. The gauge will also help choose the size. This is especially for garments. If you are knitting a sweater, you would want it to fit; it must not be too tight to not go down your head or too big to hand. If a pattern recommends a US 8 needle size and yet you do not get the gauge, you need to go up a needle size (US 9) or go down a size (US 7). A trick to knitting a gauge swatch is for circular knitting projects knit a swatch in the round on circular knitting needles or double-pointed needles. Cut the swatch and lay it flat for exact measure.


  1. It’s not just size and appearance, a knitting gauge will help you calculate the amount of yarn you use, too. If you knit fewer stitches per inch than the gauge in the pattern, you’ll run out of yarn too soon and if you knit more stitches per inch than the required gauge, then you’ll have leftover yarn when the project has finished.

Though its best you get the exact number or the closest measurement, if you are knitted fabric makes you happy then go for it! If you want the best results, experiment with the right combination of knitting needles, needle size, yarn, and tension to get the perfect gauge.

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