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Knitting/don't have the right size of needles


Hello,I am a fairly new knitter.My pattern says that i need two pairs of Straight knitting needles, sizes 7 (4.50 mm) and 9 (5.50 mm)and the GAUGE should be  20 sts = 4; 28 rows = 4 in Pattern Stitch on larger needles.
The problem is that i only have one pair of needles size 4mm and one pair of 6mm.What changes should i do?Thank you very much!!

Hello Cristina,

The gauge in the pattern is what designer achieved when using those size needles. Your own knitting may be different. If you are a tighter knitter, you may need to go up in needle size to achieve the same gauge. If you are a very loose knitter you may need to use smaller size needles to achieve the same gauge.

Gauge is very important in some patterns because the wrong gauge can change the entire look and size of the finished pattern. If you are knitting something like a sweater, the gauge must be correct or the sweater may turn out a size too big or too small. But if you are knitting something like a blanket or shawl, You may be able to get away with the gauge being a little off, since most people won't notice if a shawl is an inch or so larger then the pattern says.

The first step is to knit a sample gauge. Cast on 20 stitches with your larger needles and knit for 28 rows. Measure this piece to see just how close you are to the actual gauge of the pattern. If your measurements come out to be the same as the pattern, then you are okay in knitting the pattern with the needles you have. (This also means that you are a tight knitter and in future knitting projects you need to be aware that you may have to go up a size in needles to compensate for your tightness).

If you make the gauge square and it comes out much bigger then the size in the pattern, try making the gauge sample again using the smaller needles you own to see if you get the right measurements. If the sample turns out to be the same measurement, then you will need to use the size 7 needle as your large needles and purchase a set of smaller needles. (This means you are a very loose knitter and need to be aware of that for any future knitting projects).

In the end, you may find out that you are an average knitter and will need to go ahead and purchase the suggested needle sizes for this project, unless, like I stated before, the gauge is not overly important and you can get away with it being off a bit.

I hope that this information helps.


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Liver Chick


I can help beginning knitters sort out things like needle sizes, types of yarns to use and good starter patterns. Willing to translate some difficult patterns into plain English when clarification is needed. Recommendation of books and websites to learn new techniques. Sometimes you just need that friend to remind you that knitting is not about perfection and that you will get through that project that feels like its taking forever to complete.


A self-taught knitter who has been knitting for over 16 years. I have taught beginner knitting classes as well as some loom knitting classes in the past. I have taught at Michael's Craft store as a knitting instructor and have done private lessons as well. I enjoy knitting in public and am rarely found without my knitting needles or crochet hook sticking out of my purse. My favorite items to knit are baby blankets and scarves.

Member of the International Old Lacers Inc. (IOLI). Member of Lacey Ladies of Arizona.

Yarn Companies I've Designed for: North American Suri Company Made In America Yarns Galler Yarns Premier Yarns Sanguine Gryphon (now defunct) Design published in: Knitscene Accessories 2012

Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in Theater Arts. Nine years as a professional costume designer.

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