If you are going to spend your hard earned money on that beautiful hand painted yarn, you are going to want the sweater to fit! So take the time before hand and test your gauge.
Create a 4" square. Thread waste yarn around the middle section of your square, count the stitches and then measure. Divide the width by the number of stitches and voila - you have your gauge. Don't cheat - make a decent size swatch! Yes, Martha is right - launder your swatch according to the yarn label, or however you will care for your project. If I had laundered the swatch of a recent project I would have a beautiful, kid-silk turquoise cardigan (It would have looked really cute with a cami and jeans!). I didn't, so now it's in someone else's closet. :(
|A little blurry . . . but there are 20 stitches and it measures 4". |
So my gauge is 5 stitches per inch.
If you have too many stitches, make another swatch with a bigger needle size. If you don't have enough stitches, go down a needle size. Here's a tip . . . for whatever needle size you use, work that number of stitches in purls in one row. Then if you have multiple swatches you'll be able to tell which needles you used. Always work your swatch in the pattern stitch that your project will be in.
There. End of lecture. Until the next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber!