Measuring Gauge in the Round

Knitting stockinette stitch in the round can give you a different gauge than if you were knitting the same stitch flat (back and forth on straight needles). Here's why: A purl stitch is very slightly larger than a knit stitch. When you work stockinette stitch on straight needles, every other row is a purl row, and the difference in the sizes of your knits and purls averages out. However, when working stockinette stitch in the round, you always make knit stitches, which can result in a slightly smaller piece even though you're knitting the same pattern over the same number of stitches. (See Chapter 3 for more on gauge.)

When the gauge for a project worked on a circular needle must be exact, make your gauge swatch by working all the rows from the right side as follows:

1. Using the same needle you plan to use in your project, cast on 24 stitches or so and work 1 row.

Don't turn the work.

  1. Cut the yarn and slide your knitting, with the right side facing, back to the knitting end of the needle.
  2. Knit another row, and cut the yarn.
  3. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you've completed your swatch, and then measure your gauge.

^ An easier and less time-consuming way to measure gauge in circular patterns is to do it while you knit the piece. Knit at least 1/2 inches in the round on the ■ f(|l| needles you plan to use, stop, and measure the stitch gauge and 1-inch of row gauge. If your gauge is too big, switch to smaller needles on the next round; if your gauge is too small, switch to bigger needles. If your gauge is off by more than a stitch, tear out the stitches you just made and start again. This method is generally accurate enough for any kind of small project you're likely to encounter at the beginning or intermediate level.

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