I’ve talked about how to knit a gauge swatch and why it’s important. But that post assumes that you are able to get the gauge specified in your pattern. And while you can do a lot by changing the needle size you’re using I’ve never really talked about the instances where you can’t get the gauge specified in the pattern. So what do you do?
First, what gauge are you getting? If the pattern specifies 27 stitches per 4″ but you can only hit 26 stitches or 28 stitches you’re probably close enough. A lot of patterns incorporate positive ease into the pattern if this is the case than you can pretty safely knit at almost gauge and end up with a well fitting garment.
Deciding if you want to go with the 26 stitch gauge or the 28 stitch gauge is going to depend on the characteristics of the garment and how your measurements compare to the pattern measurements. If the closest avaliable size is a little larger than you would normally wear than knitting the pattern at a slightly tighter gauge may be result in a better fit.
If the garment you are trying to knit is knit at a loser gauge of say 16 stitches per 4″ and you can only hit 15 or 17 stitches than you are probably going to want to either do some math and alter the stitch count of the pattern or knit a different size.
Figuring out which size you should knit based on the gauge you are getting is actually pretty easy. If you divide your stitch count by 4 this will give you the stitches per inch. Take that number and multiply it by your bust measurement plus the whatever postive ease you want in the finished garment and this will give you the stitch count for the bust. Now take a look at the pattern and find the size that has the stitch count closes to this and follow the dierections for that size.
Have you every had trouble hitting the gauge specified in the pattern? What was your solution? Let me know in the comments below!