Knitting Adventures: when gauge is not your friend

I am not a monogamous knitter, or at least not with longer projects. I find that things like sweaters just take too long to knit all in one go and I need to sprinkle in other projects to keep myself interested. I’ve been knitting for fifteen years (ouch, how can I be that old) and by now my gauge has become pretty consistent. However,  I still find that different needle types affect my gauge even if the needles are the same size.


I am currently knitting this sweater for my husband and I have had so many issues with gauge. The pattern calls for US size 8 (5 mm) needles and I was able to get gauge with the called for needle size with my Knit picks Caspian Interchangeables.

When I finished another project I had on the go I didn’t think anything of using my metal interchangeable tips in US size 8s. And when I got to the second sleeve I used my 16 inch circular size 8s. It didn’t even occur to me that the different needle materials and needle lengths might effect my gauge. It wasn’t until I was sitting on my couch with three pieces of a sweater complete, and all knit at a different gauge that I saw the error of my ways.

Metal needles effect my gauge differently than wooden needles. For some reason I knit at a tighter gauge when I use metal needles and this effect is increased when I use shorter needle tips (ie. my 16 in circs).


The worst part is that I KNOW you always knit your swatch with the exact yarn and the exact needles you plan to use but I still switched things up. And this is where it’s landed me.

I have three and a half of the four piece sweater complete but two of them really need to be ripped back and re-knit at the proper gauge. Ripping back a project is so disheartening and I haven’t worked on this sweater in forever because I just can’t bring my self to do it. At least it’s an Aran weight sweater and a relatively quick knit.