Matching Gauges of Written Patterns



I do not make many knitted garments from a written pattern. Instead I use hand knit pattern schematics – of which there are thousands on sites such as I make a tension swatch in my yarn and chosen tension and use the knit leader – or if it is a fairly straight forward pattern, I just figure out the stitches and rows needed after measuring my swatch and begin. This is a very freeing way of knitting because, as you know, it can be difficult sometimes matching the given gauge for stitches and rows called for in a pattern. We may or may not have the exact same yarn – but even if we do it might be another color and the tension comes out different. I rarely have the yarn called for and I want to be able to use what is in my stash. But if you have a pattern you really want to follow, there is a way to help you get the same size garment as in the pattern. I was looking at a baby sweater pattern to work this out. I first wanted to match the stitches per inch as close as I could so I ended up making 3 different tension swatches before I finally matched the pattern stitches per inch. But my rows per inch were quite a bit different than what the pattern gave. That is usually the rub – you might match one gauge fairly easy, but then the other one is off. The mast tension might have been different, etc. And just how many swatches is one willing to make to get the exact gauge both ways? 🙂 So I was happy to match one of them. But for me end up with the same size garment as the pattern, I looked to see what the pattern wanted for rows to make the back piece. It was 148 rows. I divided the rows they said to knit (148) by the pattern’s row gauge (11.8) and found out that piece was supposed to measure 12 ½ inches long when completed. Some patterns might give you that finished length measurement for the piece. Then, I took the row gauge I got from my swatch (10.5) and found out to get that same 12 ½ inches I only needed to knit 131 rows. Pretty simple solution but it is dependent on you making that dreaded tension swatch. 🙂 It really only takes a few minutes to knit one up and if you need a refresher on it, check out the Techniques above the blog title. Happy and relaxed knitting!