Gauge (knitting)

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Gauge (knitting)

In knitting, the word "Gauge", technical abbreviation GG, refers to "Knitting Machines" fineness size (not to the proportion, thickness or fineness of the finished knitted artifact, its stitch "wideness" or row length/depth).

Indeed "Gauge" is the unit of measure, a “size” that expressed by a well precise number of needle gives the Power Workable Size of a Knitting Machine. This “unit of measure” is equal to the number of needles contained in the “Gauge” (size) and it is simply countable on the Bed of Needles of each knitting machines, flat or circular. Lying flat a measure tape (preferable metal) on the bed of needle with edge flip 00 insert into the channel of one needle’s channel, extend the tape as long as for 4-5’, then count the needles’ channel contained within 00 edge and the 1” line, the total number of channels will give you the number of needles contained in 1” and therefore the Size or Gauge of the Power Machine. This operation will acknowledge you also on the range of thickness or size of yarn to be use on the machine and will anticipate the final thickness or fineness of the final knitted fabric. 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 per 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 (reducing the number of stitches per width and height) and may impose an upper limit on the gauge (maximum number of rows/stitches per inch).

* 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 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 edges.

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 inch".

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.

References

* June Hemmons Hiatt (1988) "The Principles of Knitting", Simon and Schuster, pp. 415-432. ISBN 0-671-55233-3

* [http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer05/FEATsum05TBP.html knitty.com article on gauge]
* [http://www.fuzzygalore.biz/articles/gauge.shtml Measuring Gauge]
* [http://www.yarnandfiber.com/catalog/needlechart.php Needle Conversion Chart] Shows conversion between current and past US and European knitting needle sizes.
* [http://www.yarnandfiber.com/catalog/yarnweight.php Yarn Weight and Gauge Chart] Recommended needle and crochet hook sizes used to achieve gauge with various yarns.

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