Home » Musings » What happened to my gauge?!?

What happened to my gauge?!?

Some things are weird. You think you can always rely on them, and then, one day, WHAM!  They don’t apply any more.

Take this for example. This is exhibit A.

Maschenprobe 4,0 und 3,5

This was the first swatch for the oh-so-often-mentioned-but-not-yet-started Totoro cardigan I am planning to make. The pattern is the Offset Wraplan and officially, you should knit with a 3,5mm needle to get gauge at 24sts/36rows to 10cm.

Now, there are things that are set, alright? One of them is the fact that I am a somewhat tight knitter. I have always been, since I started knitting 3 years ago. Which means, I usually go up a needle size. At least. That’s a fact.

Now, let’s take a look at that swatch again.

Maschenprobe 4,0 und 3,5

This swatch was started on 4,0mm needles (I knit tightly – remember!) and finished on 3,5mm needles. Do you see any difference?

Yeah. Me neither. The gauge on this came out HUGE, by the way. So I knit another swatch, this time on 3,0mm needles.

Maschenprobe 3,0

Yeah. I know. Please don’t point me to the little hole in the swatch – there was a knot in the yarn and I have to admit that I was too lazy to cut it out and splice the ends together. 😉 The gauge, by the way, is STILL way off. And the best part of it? This is sports weight. By the way – this was knit while I was writing The Exposé and my CV and really stressed out! Don’t you think that, usually, this would result in tighter knitting?

Maschenproben 01

Right now, I am at 21sts and 32rows to get 10cm. I do NOT want to knit on 2,5mm needles!! I do NOT want to knit yet another swatch! Almost one ball of yarn has gone off in swatches! ARGH!

So I am knitting this cardigan on 3,0mm needles and will recalculate any measurements into rows. So if the designer says “knit until you’ve reached 2,5” “, I’ll be calculating how many rows she knits and knit that number … The cardigan will come out bigger, but I don’t know any other solution.


Let’s continue with exhibit B:

Maschenprobe 1

These are the swatches for Philipp’s hat I promised him for our anniversary. The simple fact that I speak of swatches and that there are two of them in the picture already shows the problem …

Original gauge is 20sts and 22rows to 10cm using 4,5mm needles.

The first swatch above was knit accordingly, and came out at 17sts and 24rows after washing. !?!?!?!? I skipped the 4,0mm needle and went straight to 3,5mm ….

Maschenprobe 2

And came up with 17sts and 24 rows.

I mean … Look.

This is ARAN WEIGHT. The ball band (I know, ball bands lie) tells you to use a 4,0mm or a 5,0mm needle to knit this up. And I am still knitting too loosely with freaking  3,5mm?!?

In the end, I did indeed use 3,5mm needles – but I had to leave out one pattern repeat! 96sts instead of 120!

Crazy, folks. I tell you. Crazy … (by the way: Would anybody like to see the finished hat?)

Last, but not least (and this really shames me): Exhibit C.

Chainsocks 02

This is the first of my mum’s socks. She will get them for Christmas – or so I thought. As I said, I KNOW for a fact that my gauge on sock wool on 2,5mm needles in stockinette in the round on DPNs is 30sts/40rows to 10cms. And that it doesn’t make much difference to me whether given gauge is 8sts per inch or 7,5sts per inch.

Well … not this time!

I had finished the decreases for the foot (sometimes I am really quick on the uptake) when I decided that I might try the sock on, just to be on the safe side.

Chainsocks 03

Just because it seemed a little … erm … wide?

Chainsocks 04

I can’t tell you how annoyed I was when I realised that if I only needed to increase a few stitches and my mum would possible be totally happy with one sock she could pull over both feet …

I frogged the whole thing and have started anew. With 56sts overall. It’s eight days to Christmas. And gran’s shawl isn’t finished yet.


AND, more importantly:



See you soon, friends! Take care!




9 thoughts on “What happened to my gauge?!?

    • This is a VERY interesting theory! If it goes round like the flew or a cold … Maybe it’s a virus? OMG we have to tell the health department! AAAAAAARGGGHH!!!

      I’m really glad I am not alone in this. but it is somewhat annoying, sometimes. 😉

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