Things that affect gauge

Gauge varies depending on the yarn, the needle size, and the stitch pattern you use.

i Yarn: Yarns of different weights produce different gauges. A bulkier yarn produces a larger stitch, for example, while a finer yarn produces a smaller stitch. Head to Chapter 2 for detailed information on yarn weights and the effect weight can have on the knitted fabric.

i Needles and stitch size: The same yarn knitted on different size needles will have different gauges. Because you make a knit stitch by wrapping yarn around a needle, the size (circumference) of the needle determines the size of the stitch.

Figure 3-4 shows how needle size can affect the way the finished fabric looks. The smaller the needle is, the tighter the stitches and the denser the knitted fabric. The larger the needle is, the looser the stitches and the drapier (and stretchier) the fabric.

Figure 3-4:

Smaller needles result in tighter stitches;

bigger needles in looser stitches.

Figure 3-4:

Smaller needles result in tighter stitches;

bigger needles in looser stitches.

i Stitch patterns and stitch size: The same yarn knitted on the same needles but in different stitch patterns will have different gauges. For example, cables and ribs pull in, requiring more stitches to make a square inch; lace and slip stitch or garter stitch patterns spread the fabric out, so they require fewer stitches to make an inch. Figure 3-5 compares the gauges of two different patterns that use the same number of stitches.

Figure 3-5:

Gauge on different stitch patterns.

Figure 3-5:

Gauge on different stitch patterns.

vrtHBE# Gauge also can vary with the time of day you're knitting, how long you've been knitting at a stretch, and what you're thinking about. The tension you put on the yarn traveling around the needle contributes to stitch size, so being tired or tense can affect the flow of your yarn and stitch size.

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