Let's Talk Gauge


There are a million posts on the internet regarding gauge, and why it’s important for getting that perfect fit with your knits.  Which is great, but what happens when the gauge is different within the different pieces of your design?  This can come up when you’re mixing stitch patterns within a garment, or if one part has colorwork, etc.

I’ve been designing a sweater with Woolkfolk Tynd – which is probably one of the best yarns I’ve worked with – where the front is knit in Stockinette stitch, and the back is an intricate yet easy Arrowhead lace pattern.  The front hem is worked on size 4 US and the body is worked on size 5 US.  The back also uses the size 4 US for the hem, but I went down to size 2 US in order to get as close to the front gauge as possible.  My stitch gauge was a match, but my row gauge was off:
Front – 8 rows/inch
Back – 9 rows/inch

At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be a big difference, but it does when it’s expanded over several inches.  If my desired body length is 16 inches, that converts to these number of rows:
Front – 128 rows
Back – 144 rows

So, you knit each piece to the desired length, but then how do you seam the two together so that they line up?  Normally when you seam, it’s a 1:1 row match.  But in this case, I have more rows on one side, than the other – my lace back has 1.125 times more rows than the front  (144 rows / 128 rows = 1.125).  What I ended up doing was for every 4 rows on the front, I seamed with every 3 rows on the lace side (4/3 = 1.3333 which was close enough to the ration I previously calculated).

The result?  The neat seam you see up top!  Granted, I’m going to do an additional block after all pieces are seamed just to smooth this out even more.