Search the site

I always get gauge ;)

I always get gauge ;)

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me "I don't swatch because I always get gauge!" I'd have a lot of nickels. Although I don't necessarily think knitters who say this are intentionally lying, I am highly skeptical about the veracity of their statement for three reasons.

First, experience. I've been designing knit patterns for over a decade and define gauge in my patterns based on my swatches and the actual finished samples just to make sure. So far, those gauges have always matched up. But guess what! On more than one occasion when I have re-knit my own pattern years later, my gauge does not exactly match the pattern gauge.

Second, I know a "secret" about how gauge is determined for patterns (and for the ball bands on many yarns). There is no magical formula or calculation involved. Someone who may be a tight knitter, a loose knitter or somewhere in between sat down and knit swatches until the fabric felt right. Then, the gauge of that swatch and the needle size used by that knitter is what gets published.

Third, statistics. If you put a dozen knitters in a room with the same size needles and the same yarn and ask them to knit swatches with the same number of stitches and rows, chances are you'll get 12 different sized swatches. Don't believe me, get a few friends together and try knitting a pieced afghan that uses the same block pattern in different colors. (The person who joins the finished blocks together is in for a special treat 😉.)

There's more to explore in the Learning Library!