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Frequently-Asked Questions
FAQ: Yarn

What is gauge?

A: Yarn comes in different "thicknesses". Patterns are written specifically for different thicknesses of yarn. The gauge of a pattern will correspond to a "thickness" of yarn.

Essentially:

GaugeThickness
7-8 stitches per inchfingering weight yarn
6 stitches per inchsport weight yarn
5.5 stitches per inchdk weight yarn
5 stitches per inch worsted weight yarn
4 - 4.5 stitches per incharan weight yarn
3 - 3.5 stitches per inchbulky weight yarn
2 - 2.5 stitches per inch super bulky weight yarn

You must purchase yarn that is the correct weight (thickness) for the specific gauge of a pattern otherwise the finished garment will be bigger or smaller than desired.

How do I know how much yarn to purchase?

A: If you are using the same yarn that the pattern calls for, you can simply purchase the number of skeins, balls or hanks specified for the size you are making. I usually recommend purchasing 1 extra skein for safety as the last thing you want is to run short).

If you are not using the same brand of yarn that the pattern calls for you need to match up two things.
  1. You must use yarn of the same "thickness" and gauge ie. If the pattern calls or worsted weight yarn and has a gauge of 5 stitches per inch, you must purchase worsted weight yarn giving 5 stitches per inch.

  2. As yarn is sold by weight (grams or ounces) rather than yards, you need to be sure that the yarn that you are purchasing will give you the correct amount of yards for the pattern. This may require purchasing more or less skeins than specified in the pattern. If you know what yarn the pattern calls for, you can find out the yardage that the pattern requires. Then you make sure that the yarn you are buying will give you the correct yardage for the pattern

Even when both of these criteria are met, different yarns do knit up differently---You must do a gauge.

How do I do a gauge?

A: Cast on about 20 stitches, work 4 inches. Using a "stitch gauge" or tape measure count how many stitches you are getting per inch. If you are getting too many stitches per inch, increase your needle size. If you are getting too few stitches per inch, decrease your needle size. It is recommended that you check your gauge again when you have worked about 5 inches as you may knit tighter or looser when you are happily knitting over many stitches.
 
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