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Gauge (knitting)

In knitting, the word Gauge is used both in hand knitting and machine knitting; the latter,
technical abbreviation GG, refers to "Knitting Machines" fineness size. In both cases, the term
refers to the number of stitches per inch, not the size of the finished garment. In both cases, the
gauge is measured by counting the number of stitches (in hand knitting) or the number of needles
(on a knitting machine bed) over several inches then dividing by the number of inches in the
width of the sample.

Gauge on knitting machines

There are 2 types of classification of Knitting Gauges or Unit of Measure: A – Used for Cotton
Fully fashion flat machines (Bentley – Monkey, Textima, Sheller etc..) where the “Gauge” is
equal at 1,5” Inches (2,54 cm x 1,5) and the size of any machine “Gauge” it is expressed with the
number of needles contained into the Gauge or into 1,5”. B – Used for hand, mechanical or
modern Electronic Flat Machines (Stoll, Shima, Protti etc..), where the “Gauge” has been
adjusted to reach 1” Inch only (or 2,5 cm) and the size of machine “Gauge” it is expressed with
the number of needles contained into the Gauge or into 1” = 2,54 cm.

Compared graduation scale Gauge (GG) A versus B system: A 30 GG (A) Cotton Fully-fashion
flat machine (30 needles in 1,5”) it is comparable to a 20 GG (B) Electronic Flat machine, a 27
GG (A) is a 18 GG (B), a 18 GG (A) is a 12 GG (B), a 12 GG (A) is a 8 GG (B), a 7,5 GG (A) is
a 5 GG (B) and a 4,5 GG (A) is a 3 GG (B).

Factors that affect knitting gauge

The gauge of a knitted fabric depends on the pattern of stitches in the fabric, the kind of yarn, the
size of knitting needles, and the tension of the individual knitter (i.e., how much yarn they allow
between stitches).

• For example, ribbing and cable patterns tend to "pull in," giving more stitches over an
identical width than stockinette, garter, or seed stitch. Even the same stitch produced in
two different ways may produce a different gauge; for example, a swatch of stockinette
stitch may not have the same gauge as one knit in reverse stockinette stitch.

• Thicker yarns with less loft generally produce larger stitches than thinner yarns (reducing
the number of stitches per width and length.

• Larger knitting needles also produce larger stitches, giving fewer stitches and rows per
inch; changing needle size is the best way to control one's own gauge for a given pattern
and yarn.

• Finally, the knitter's tension, or how tightly one knits, can affect the gauge significantly.
The gauge can even vary within a single garment, typically with beginning knitters; as
knitters become more familiar with a stitch pattern, they become more relaxed and make
the stitch differently, producing a different gauge.
Sometimes the gauge is deliberately altered within a garment, usually by changing needle size;
for example, smaller stitches are often made at the collar, sleeve cuffs, hemline ribbing or pocket

Uneven knitting

Uneven knitting is a knitting technique in which two knitting needles of different sizes are used.
The method is sometimes used when the knitter has a significantly different gauge on knit and
purl stitches. It is also useful for producing elongated stitches and certain specialty patterns.

Knitting gauge in patterns

To produce a knitted garment of given dimensions, whether from one's own design or from a
published pattern, the gauge should match as closely as possible; significant differences in gauge
will lead to a deformed garment. Patterns for knitting projects almost always include a suggested
gauge for the project.

For illustration, suppose that a sweater is designed to measure 40" around the bustline with a
gauge of 5 st/inch in the chosen stitch. Therefore, the pattern should call for 200 stitches (5
st/inch x 40") at the bustline. If the knitter follows the pattern with a gauge of 4 st/inch, the
sweater will measure 50" around the bustline (200 st / 4st/in) -- too baggy! Conversely, if the
knitter follows the pattern with a gauge of 6 st/inch, the sweater will measure ~33" around the
bustline (200 st / 6st/inch) -- too tight! Generally, the gauge should match to better than 5%,
corresponding to 1" of ease in a 20" width. Similar concerns apply to the number of rows per

Luckily, the gauge can be adjusted by changing needle size, without changing the pattern, stitch,
yarn, or habits of the knitter. Larger needles produce a smaller gauge (fewer stitches per inch) and
smaller needles produce a larger gauge (more stitches per inch). If necessary, further adjustments
can be made by subtly altering the pattern dimensions, e.g., shortening a vertically aligned
pattern. Ribbing can also be used to "draw in" the fabric to the proper gauge.

Measuring knitting gauge

To check one's gauge before starting a project, a sample of knitting (a swatch) is made, ideally in
the stitch pattern used in the garment. The swatch edges affect the reading of the gauge, so it's
best that the swatch be at least 4" square and more safely 6–8" square. Dividing the number of
stitches used by the actual size of the sample gives the stitch gauge of that sample. Similarly, the
row gauge is calculated by dividing the number of rows knitted by the length of the sample.
Making a swatch also helps familiarize the knitter with the stitch pattern and yarn, which will
lead to a more uniform gauge in the final garment