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Most knitting patterns are written for a specific yarn and are designed at a set gauge.

In order to use the pattern you must match the designer's gauge with your yarn and your knitting machine.

That means lots of swatches.

Not matching gauge can lead to disappointment with knits that didn't come out to the correct size.

It's critical to take time to knit as many swatches as necessary to match gauge

Scroll down: 3 ways for machine knitters to match gauge:

Even a small difference in gauge can make a BIG difference in finished size

  • Isolate a specific number of stitches and rows as you knit your swatch
  • Use a ruler and measure the dimensions
  • Calculate the stitches and rows based on the measurement
Adjust your machine tension and keep knitting swatches until your gauge matches

Measure and calculate
Break the traditional machine knitting rules and mark the DESIRED GAUGE as you knit.

Place a 4" template over the marked section to determine if your gauge matches the pattern gauge.

Stitch Gauge is close - but the row gauge is off

4" square template fits in the marked section. Success!
Marked gauge matches the pattern gauge

For my tool, I cut a 4" x 4" square of quilters template plastic (readily available at craft stores) to create my Handy-dandy tool. Because it's see-through, I can see my marked stitches and rows on my swatch.

You could use a square of any material (cardboard, paper, clear plastic of any kind). You will be amazed at how much easier it is to measure gauge with no math (for both hand and machine knitting).

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Why bother with MATCHING Gauge?

Use the Knit it Now Customizable, Perfect-Fit, Machine Knitting Patterns and

ANY Machine | ANY Yarn | ANY Gauge

Tension Setting Essentials

Hand knitters can change needle sizes to adjust the gauge of their knitting. Another of the many advantages of machine knitting is to quickly make tension changes with both the carriage tension dial and the mast tension setting.
  • Quickly match a pattern gauge
  • Change gauge while knitting for interesting texture and fabric
  • Improve the quality of your knitting with gauge changes
  • Troubleshoot knitting problems with gauge changes
Many machine knitters cause themselves problems by ignoring the mast tension. They often struggle matching stitch and row gauge because they haven't mastered both carriage and mast tension settings for their machines.
This tutorial introduces you to the magical world of tension adjustments.

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Deborah J
 Jan 19, 2023
I think these ideas are great. I'll definitely try the plastic and the blue ruler...

Kelle F
 Jan 19, 2023
Very helpful for this beginner. Thank you.

Dottie T
 Jan 17, 2023

Sheila W
 Jan 17, 2023
Your title is somewhat misleading and while I think suggestion #3 is a good idea, it doesn’t really help knitters to match gauge - they are three different ways to measure gauge. In order to match gauge knitters will have to experiment with the gauge dial on heir machine, adjust the overhead yarn tension assembly, or change to a different yarn.

 Jan 17, 2023
Great! I'm going to try it today.

Joy G
 Jan 17, 2023
What a good idea!! ?? ??