So you’ve chosen a pattern (it’s our Strange Brew colourwork yoke recipe, right?), and you’ve got a lovely bag of perfect yarn…
You made a swatch hat and discovered that you love the yarn, the colourwork patterns you chose are exquisite, and the fabric is LOVELY… but your gauge doesn’t match the pattern gauge (22 sts / 4″ or 5.5 sts / inch). Now what do you do?
One option is to swatch again, using a larger or smaller needle until you achieve the precise gauge called for by the pattern. But you may find that at the pattern gauge, the fabric is too loose or too tight. A second option, which we encourage you to consider, is knitting the pattern at a different gauge. Because Strange Brew is a round yoke sweater, it is very flexible, and simple to adjust for gauge.
If you’d like to tackle adjusting for a different gauge, here’s a helpful tool! We just updated the Strange Brew pattern to include an additional PDF, which will help you adjust for a slightly different gauge. You can download the supplemental PDF here, or if you already have a copy of the Strange Brew pattern, you can find this supplement in your Ravelry library.
How To Use The Off-Gauge Guidance Table
- Swatch to determine your gauge. For a seamless sweater knit in the round, like Strange Brew, we recommend swatching in the round by making a swatch hat or tube (in fact, the Strange Brew pattern includes a swatch hat & cowl pattern). Wash and block the swatch in the same way that you would your finished sweater, then measure how many stitches there are per inch. Assuming that you have slightly less or slightly more stitches than the pattern gauge of 5.5, you can use the off-gauge guidance table. More on gauge and swatching here.
- Check the column that applies to your gauge. Look down this column to find the finished chest measurement that you desire, then look left to see which pattern size this corresponds to. For example, if you want to knit a 37″ sweater, but your gauge is 5 sts per inch, follow pattern instructions for women’s XS (which will make a 36″ sweater) or women’s S (which will make a 38 1/2″ sweater). This is your ‘adjusted’ size.
- Once you determine your ‘adjusted’ size, you will simply follow the pattern instructions for that size, however you will knit to finished lengths (at body and sleeves) that you desire. The yoke instructions you can follow exactly as written for your ‘adjusted’ size, without any length adjustments.
Cast on now!
So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of the Strange Brew pattern, and get started designing your own yoke now! If you’re a bit uncertain about colour, you may find our Week of Colour blog posts helpful, they are our attempt to demystify colour choices, and get you started on your colourwork journey.
What about adjusting other knitting patterns for working at a different gauge?
We have a tutorial here which describes the process, in a bit more depth, working directly from the math, and covering a few more considerations. This adorable little vest is an aran weight version of the Peanut Vest, which was originally designed in DK weight. It required a few simple calculations, but came out just as I hoped!
Fair Isle Knits from TCK:
March 26, 2018 @ 4:13 pm
You guys are such stars – I can’t wait to get started, already have some ideas for matching sweaters for me, my hubby and baby son!
If I might be cheeky, I’d love to make mine a cardigan but I’ve never done a steek before. You wouldn’t consider giving us a tutorial on turning a yoke sweater into a cardigan? If you did I’d love you forever!!!
March 28, 2018 @ 3:58 pm
Hi Briar – I don’t know how long you are willing to wait but *spoiler* that tutorial is on it’s way….
February 4, 2018 @ 10:09 am
This is wonderful! I just discovered the Strange Brew pattern and love the flexibility. But the yarn i’m working with is sport weight. The chart and math for this adaptation makes a lot of sense to me, but my gauge is significantly different than the original pattern (7.5 st/in). Do you think this method for adapting the pattern will still work? or would there be a risk that the proportions would be off. I want to knit a sweater for my 4 yo niece, but if I’m doing the math right at 7.5 st/in I’d have to follow the size W’s xs. Thanks!
February 4, 2018 @ 1:33 am
This is great! And thank you for teaching us you can go up/down a size to suit your gauge, it’s such a goos tip!
February 2, 2018 @ 5:22 am
It’s funny you should post this as I’m working on my worsted weight Wholehearted for the HOMS knitalong.
February 1, 2018 @ 11:37 am
It’s the _principle_ of this post that I like and admire – Fair Isle is totally beyond me (I’m having enough problems with 2-colour brioche lace). By that I mean it’s practical, helpful and also clear – a combo to be devoutly wished at all times. :)
February 5, 2018 @ 12:11 pm
I feel duty-bound to let you know that Fair Isle is MUCH easier than 2 colour brioche lace!! So much easier!
February 8, 2018 @ 10:30 am
To which I can only respond “Hmmmmmmm …”. [grin]
February 1, 2018 @ 9:52 am
That’s awesome. Thank you so much!
February 1, 2018 @ 9:45 am
So will this also work if you’re looking to use a thicker yarn – say worsted?
Nellie (on ravelry)
February 8, 2018 @ 1:19 pm
Will the off gauge guidance chart work for the flax sweater too. I have difficulty getting gauge for sweaters that have a gauge of 18 stitches to 4 inches, since I knit so loose.
February 14, 2018 @ 12:43 pm
Hi – You can use the off gauge guidance for Flax as well, although you might want to go down a needle size in order to get gauge IF you find your fabric is a bit loose
February 1, 2018 @ 7:41 am
Oh, thank you so much for providing this information. I find that I want to change the gauge in order to use a different yarn quite often. This will be a big help to me.
February 1, 2018 @ 7:24 am
Giving us a gauge chart – I think I love you! What a brilliant early Valentines Day gift.
I live in a land where worsted/aran are rarely worn. Our “winter” barely merits DK. Ah,but fingering or sport, knit on 3.5 to 3.75mm needles, is in the 23 – 24 stitch range.
Your Peanut Vest and photo are adorable.
February 1, 2018 @ 6:22 am
Thank you for such a useful resource–it’s exactly what I had intended to do!!