How to check knitting gauge in the round

how_to_knitting_gauge_in_the_round_pin.png

It’s time to start a sweater (we’re making Ursa on our latest knit-along) and you know you want to check your gauge but the sweater is knit in the round. Since we won’t be turning our work and we’ll only be knitting this gauge might be a little different than normal.

As a knitter, I know that my tension is different when I purl than when I knit and since this project will be worked mostly in the round and I won’t be purling much I’d like to make sure I’m getting the stitch count the designer recommends.

I’ve put together some photos on how to knit and block a gauge swatch in the round.

How to Check Knitting Gauge in the Round

Yarn and needles for a gauge swatch

Yarn and needles for a gauge swatch

Step 1: Cast on

Step 1: Cast on

When knitting any swatch you want to start with the exact yarn the project will be made in and the same needles you plan to knit the sweater with. Variations on either of these items can result in a different gauge.

For the sweater I’m knitting I need a gauge of 11.5 stitches over 4 inches. I will have 20 stitches on size US 11 (8 mm) needles for this swatch.

Cast on normally. DO NOT TURN.

Slide stitches to the other end of the needle

Slide stitches to the other end of the needle

Hold working yarn to the back creating a long float

Hold working yarn to the back creating a long float

Now for the strange part! SLIDE your stitches to the other end of the needle so the front of the work is still facing you.

Hold the working yarn from the ball across the back of your hand and knit into the first stitch. Continue knitting across the row. This will create a long, loose float of yarn across the back of your work.

DO NOT TURN. Slide work back to the other end of the needle always keeping the knit side facing you.

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

After a few rows this is what the piece will start to look like. You can see the knit side of the work on the left and the wrong side or purl side in the right photo.

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

How to trim a gauge swatch knit in the round

How to trim a gauge swatch knit in the round

When the swatch reaches a good height bind off as normal.

Flip the swatch to the wrong side and (YIKES!) cut the floats so the swatch opens flat.

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

Knitting a gauge swatch in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Here’s my swatch. It looks crazy, doesn’t it?! All of those edges seem like they could just fall off but they don’t. Just be gentle.

Next we need to block the swatch. In a small bowl I added a touch of Soak wash and cool water. Submerge the swatch and leave to rest for 15-30 minutes.

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Remove the swatch from the bath and gently lay it out on a towel.

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Blocking a gauge swatch for knitting in the round

Fold the towel over the swatch and lightly roll the towel pressing the water from the yarn.

On a dry towel straighten the swatch, leave it to rest and dry completely.

I block my knit swatch just like I plan to block the finished sweater. I don’t pin a swatch if I don’t plan to pin the sweater.

How to measure knitting gauge in the round

How to measure knitting gauge in the round

When the swatch is dry it’s time to measure the stitches. Exciting stuff for a knitter!

I like to use a stiff ruler and gently lay it across a row to count the stitches. I also measure in several locations around the swatch to be sure that one row wasn’t a fluke.

How to measure knitting gauge in the round

How to measure knitting gauge in the round

And here we are! Count the Vs of each knit stitch as one stitch. My swatch is measuring 11.5 stitches across 4 inches just like the pattern asked for.


I hope you’ll join me for the Ursa sweater knit-along starting on Thursday, August 1, 2019! Here’s the details:

  1. Thursday, August 1: KAL kickoff and cast-on with details about knitting the half-brioche stitch, neck and shoulders of the sweater.

  2. Thursday, August 8: Working the German short row bust darts and finishing the body of the sweater.

  3. Thursday, August 15: Knitting the sleeves, finishing the neckline and blocking.

  4. Thursday, August 22: Wrap photos!

Get your yarn: Find the yarn at a local yarn shop that carries Ewe Ewe Yarns or here on our website.

Let us know you’re joining the KAL! Leave a comment on this post, join our Facebook KAL group, Ravelry group, and use hashtags any photos with #eweeweyarns and #BaaBaaUrsa on Instagram.