The scoop on size – Factors that affect your gauge

Do you find that your gauge varies from day to day or pattern to pattern? Have you ever knit a new pair of socks only to have them come out two different sizes, even though you used the same needles? Each crafter’s gauge can depend on a variety of factors, so it’s important to consider a few things to be sure your finished projects work up to the right size.

baby in big hat
I think my gauge was a little off…

Your gauge can be affected by the type of hooks or needles you’re using. Many crafters find that their stitches are larger or smaller depending on whether they’re using wood, metal, or plastic tools. When you make your gauge swatch, be sure you’re using the same yarn and tools you’ll use for your actual project to avoid any sizing snafus.

Many times, our gauge is different depending on how familiar we are with a stitch pattern. Some crafters stitch at a tighter gauge when they are working a new pattern because they are unfamiliar with it and have yet to find their groove. This can affect projects with pieces that are supposed to match up in size, such as socks, mitts, or the front and back of a sweater. If you suspect that this could be affecting your gauge, try making a new gauge swatch before you begin your second piece to see if you need to change hooks or needles.

Sometimes, our gauge will be different on a flat project than it is when we work in the round. Many knitters purl at a different gauge than they knit, so it makes sense that stockinette fabric would stitch up to different sizes depending on how it’s worked.

Our moods can also affect our gauge. If you’re stressed or anxious, you might find that your gauge is tighter than usual. Imagine that your feelings are getting worked into every stitch of your pattern. Then, take a deep breath and let your project help you relax. Feel free to take a break from your craft and return to it when you feel more at ease. Your stitches will thank you!

Do you find that any of these factors affect your gauge? Do you have any others to add to the list?

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