When a pattern tells you to get gauge. I only wish it were that simple. Practically every fitting problem can be due to gauge. Go to you LYS and ask them for help with a pattern fitting problem and what are they going to ask you? Got gauge?
I started a sweater recently, and knitted my gauge swatch at work during my lunch break. Big mistake, evidently I’m a uptight knitter at work (you think?).
I dutifully knitted, washed and measured my swatch, calculated my gauge and started off. Have you ever been blindly knitting along thinking, “this looks a little big”, but you keep knitting? (Because you know you have gauge). Listen to that little voice in your head, that’s your knitter’s intuition speaking to you. Get your ruler out and measure, your gauge is a fluid number, a force of nature, ever changing, like the wind. (especially during stressful times)
Here is a great in depth article from Knitty and Jenna Wilson about gauge and yarn substitutions.
Watch out when you substitute, a slightly heavier yarn, will produce different drape and flow of your item. For example the Knitty pattern above called for cotton yarn at 150 yd at 100 gms, I switched it to wool that is 440 yd at 220 gms, Dividing the gms by yds we can get the weight. Cotton yarn 0.66, Wool yarn 0.5, this looks pretty close but tells me the yarn I’m knitting with is 0.16 lighter. This will affect my bulk (underarms) weight and drape. Think about this when you are substituting yarns. This is an especially helpful tool when deciding on yarn for lace knitting, in which a little change in drape may alter your desired look.
May you knitting needles fly as fast as dragonflies..