Every pattern is based on a certain gauge, expressed as stitches or rows per 10 cm. It is important that you make a swatch to check your gauge before you start the actual project. If your gauge doesn’t match the pattern’s gauge, your finished garment won’t be the correct size either.
Swatching Start by knitting a swatch. Use the yarn, the needles and the stitch pattern you intend to use in the project. Make the swatch a little wider than 10 cm, so that you’ll be able to measure the stitches properly. Block the swatch by pinning it to a surface, then steam it gently. Count the stitches; put a pin in a stitch, then measure 10 cm from that stitch and put another pin there. Count the stitches from pin to pin – that’s your gauge! If needed, measure both horizontal and vertical gauge (rows). If you’re measuring rib or brioche stitches, stretch out the swatch slightly before measuring.
If your gauge doesn’t match the pattern gauge, you can adjust it by switching needle size. If your swatch has too few stitches per 10 cm (i.e. your knitting is too loose), switch to smaller needles. Conversely, if your swatch has too many stitches per 10 cm, your knitting is too tight and you’ll need a larger pair of needles. Always knit another swatch in order to determine proper gauge and sizing. Also note that the pattern yardage only applies to the pattern yarn, the yardage may differ if you choose another yarn.