Knitting - Basic Techniques
The gauge indicates the size of the stitches that will become the standard for the piece being made: how many stitches and how many rows there are in a section of knitted fabric, generally 4 in/10 cm square.
Before you begin your project, knit a gauge swatch (in the pattern to be used) about 6 to 8 in/15 to 20 cm square, using the needle and yarn sizes noted in the instructions. After working the gauge swatch, block it and place it on a flat surface, count the number of stitches and the number of rows over 4 in/10 cm of the center where the stitches are stable.
If the number of stitches and the number of rows are too few (because your tension is loose), use a smaller needle; if, on the other hand, the number is too many (because your tension is tight), use a larger needle size.
Hand knitting varies from knitter to knitter. Itís difficult to change your natural tension, so by changing the size of the needles, you can more easily achieve the proper gauge. Before you begin to knit your project, this extra step will help you avoid the disappointing feeling of ďit didnít come out the right size!Ē