Connect with us

Arts and Crafts

Everything You NEVER Wanted to Know About Gauge – Part II

Knitting Mama Bear shares part two of her professional guide on gauge.



This week, Knitting Mama Bear shares part two of her professional guide on gauge.

In the last article, we learned how to make a gauge swatch and why it is important to make one for items that need to be correctly sized. This time, let’s talk about what to do if you discover that your gauge does not match the gauge called for by the pattern. 

Let’s say you took your time knitting a gauge swatch using the same (or substituted) yarn and recommended needle size from the pattern. Here’s a sample gauge note:

Gauge: 35 stitches & 37 rows = 4.5″ over Feather & Fan stitch

Your swatch may not match horizontally, vertically, or both; the horizontal measurement is more important. Once you have changed needle sizes to achieve the correct horizontal gauge, you can plan ahead to adjust vertically.

Here are some scenarios you may encounter:

Scenario 1:

On your swatch, there are 39 stitches horizontally within 4.5 inches. This means your tension is tighter than the designer’s tension. To put it another way, your stitches come out smaller than the designer’s stitches, so that more of yours fit into the 4.5″ space.

To fix this, try knitting the swatch again in the next needle size up. Repeat as needed until you have the right number of stitches inside the right number of inches. 

Scenario 2:

On your swatch, there are 29 stitches within 4.5 inches. This means your tension is looser than the designer’s tension. To put it another way, your stitches are larger than the designer’s, so fewer of them fit into the 4.5-inch space.

To fix this, knit the swatch again in a smaller needle size. Keep trying smaller needles until you have the correct number of stitches inside the 4.5 inches.

Before you look at the next two scenarios, you must fix Scenario 1 & 2 before proceeding to 3 & 4. Once you resolve either of these, you will have the correct number of stitches horizontally. 

Scenario 3:

You have to count 40 rows to get to a height of 4.5 inches but you have the correct number of stitches horizontally. This means your stitches are shorter than the designer’s stitches.

Because you are getting the same number of stitches horizontally, this is easy to resolve. All you need to do is add a row or two to get to the correct length required to achieve the size you’re making. Only repeat rows which do not include increases or decreases to maintain the correct size in terms of width. Repeat the rows in the pattern so it doesn’t become disrupted. The easiest way to do this is to add more rows at the end of the project. Make sure you are measuring the length as you work. 

Scenario 4:

You have only 34 rows in a height of 4.5 stitches but you have the correct number of stitches horizontally. This means your stitches are taller than the designer’s stitches.

Because you have the correct number of stitches horizontally, this is also easy to fix. As you work on the project, don’t work as many rows as the pattern calls for. You should skip only rows that do not include an increase or decrease to maintain the correct measurements in terms of width. Make sure you are measuring your length as you go. Again, the best way to resolve this is to skip ending rows. 

Remember to fix either one or two before resolving three and four! These four fixes should cover all problems with gauge you encounter.

Important Take-Aways

  • Never try to knit tighter or looser to match the pattern gauge. You have a natural tension that will reassert itself.
  • Always make a gauge swatch. Don’t skip this step for patterns that should be appropriately sized. Keep repeating the swatch until you have found the right needle size to yield a matching gauge (you can reuse the yarn again and again until you get it right).
  • Always knit your swatch at least 3 additional stitches and rows wider and taller than the pattern requires. This will improve the accuracy of your measurements.
  • Never measure from the edge; start with a few stitches from the border to avoid distortion. 
  • Always work a border around the swatch. This will prevent edge distortion from throwing off your measurements. I prefer Seed Stitch because it looks the same vertically as horizontally. Bonus: if you don’t want to keep your swatch, you can repurpose it as a washcloth with a very nice border!
  • If your project is worked in the round, make your gauge swatch in the round too. Make it larger than it needs to be, cast off, and cut up the side vertically through a row of stitches so that you can lay flat to measure. Tension in the round is different from tension worked flat. 
  • Always use the recommended stitch pattern for your gauge. If it doesn’t suggest a stitch pattern, assume it’s Stockinette Stitch. 
  • If the pattern calls for the project to be blocked, block your gauge swatch before measuring. 
  • Always adjust your gauge to match the width before trying to adjust for height.
  • Avoid swatching squares smaller than 4 inches. There is no such thing as an even stitch to 1-inch ratio. It is always better to average your tension out over a larger area. 
  • If you are designing your own project and are looking to figure out a gauge so that you can predict the number of stitches you will need throughout, make swatches for each stitch pattern you will use in the project. Stitch patterns are not all the same! Cables pull everything tighter and lace stretches everything larger. 
  • Once you have achieved the correct number of stitches within designated inches, keep your swatch! Attach the yarn label and a note explaining the pattern you were using, the gauge required by that pattern, and the needle size you used on the swatch. Add a photo of the finished work when you’re done. This will come in handy for other projects if they use similar yarn and gauge sizes or if you want to make the same project again. I keep mine in a binder. 

Hopefully this information will help you grow in your skills as knitter or crocheter. If you liked this information, you can find me at where I share more valuable information and free patterns. 

Arts and Crafts

Announcement: Beartaria Times National Festival Poster Contest

We want to announce a fun and friendly contest for a poster design for our National Festival this year.



Calling All Artists!

We want to announce a fun and friendly contest hosted by BudBear, for a poster design for the Beartaria Times National Festival this year.

BudBear will accept submissions until August 24th.

Twelve finalists will be selected, and their designs will be printed and sold at the festival. Whoever sells out of 100 copies or sells the most by the end of the festival will be the grand prize winner with bragging rights and could allegedly receive a copy of their design signed by the Big Bear himself.

Designs should be digital renderings, 12×18 inches vertical, and 300 dpi. As always, please keep it to the clean and family-friendly standards of The Beartaria Times Community.

All proceeds will be donated to Beartaria Ozark Campground at

Poster designs can be submitted to for consideration.

Continue Reading

Arts and Crafts

Too Many Mittens

My mom has always loved seeing her children be creative, so she was thrilled when I showed interest in learning how to make mittens. So, in 2016, she taught me how to make wool sweater mittens.



By: Charity (@trailerparkgirl on BTA)

My mom started making wool sweater mittens sometime around 2014. She got the idea from visiting a local Mennonite-owned store. She found patterns online and started out just making them for the family. We’re a family of ten, so there are plenty of us to make mittens for.

In 2015, at eighteen, I became her right-hand businesswoman and began photographing her mittens and selling them on Etsy. My younger sister, Madeline, drew the mitten in the shop logo.

My mom called her shop “Too Many Mittens.” She may or may not have gotten the idea for the name from the 1958 children’s book “Too Many Mittens.”

It’s one of a few books she remembers from her childhood. My mom grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the story takes place in Michigan. 

My mom has always loved seeing her children be creative, so she was thrilled when I showed interest in learning how to make mittens. So, in 2016, she taught me how to make wool sweater mittens. I found them to be pretty simple to make. Very fun, too. I already had some experience with sewing, so it didn’t take long to get the hang of mitten-making. The excitement of pairing different wool sweater fabrics together and adding cool buttons to the cuffs was enough to get me hooked.

We make the mittens out of wool sweaters from thrift shops. And we line the mittens with fleece. My mom and I have had a blast sifting through thrift shop clothes racks in search of funky wool sweaters. We’ve gone through hundreds of wool sweaters in the past several years. Sometimes I see a sweater that I love so much that I’m tempted to keep it for myself to wear. But then I think, “Nah, that’ll make some really cool mittens.”

A few years ago, I invested in an embroidery sewing machine and lots of machine-embroidery thread. It’s been lots of fun to play around with different designs on mittens. They really give mittens extra character. The machine was definitely worth it. And it was fairly affordable. I use a Brother SE625. 

Now, in 2022, my mom is far too busy for making mittens. She’s focused on helping raise some of her grandchildren. So, my mom decided to let me take over Too Many Mittens. I’m planning on adding other handcrafted goods to our shop in the future, like cold-process soap. I’ve been playing around with soap-making since 2018. I’m currently working on perfecting recipes. My goal is to have soap available by Spring 2023. I’m even trying to get my younger sister to design the labels for the soap. After all, it is tradition. 

One day, I hope my mom will have some extra time on her hands so that she can get back into making mittens. She really enjoyed it, just like I do. Together, we have sold over 350 pairs of mittens. I’m grateful for the time we’ve been able to bond because of our mutual love of mitten-making. If I ever have a daughter of my own, I plan to teach her how to make wool sweater mittens and so many other wonderful things.

Visit my Etsy shop, Too Many Mittens, Here!

Bears get 15% off with the code: TRAILERPARKGIRL

Continue Reading

Arts and Crafts

A Pointed Pen Calligraphy Tutorial

The fun thing about calligraphy is that there are many scripts, many pens, and many styles to learn.



By: Snow White Bear

Pointed pens have pointed tips. They come in straight and oblique holders.

Some pens can do both. Choose whichever is more comfortable.

First, clean your nib by putting it in your mouth for a few seconds (older calligraphers still do this), or get a potato from your garden and stick all your nibs in it (a minute should be enough, but some do this overnight) or my favorite using up all the unnatural toothpaste the dentist gives you to clean your nibs. If you skip this step, I’ll get a message from you saying, “Snow White Bear, I tried to write, but the ink won’t come out.”  For ink, any calligraphy ink will work. Thinner ink is easier to work with; slowly add distilled or filtered water. Walnut ink can be made at home or bought and is easy to work with. Iron gall ink is tremendous but slowly eats at the nib. “Dinky dips” are popular for pouring ink in.

Don’t use printer paper.  Any paper that is 32lbs or more (Hp 32lbs is popular) and smooth will work. Some like resume paper even though it has a slight texture. I print calligraphy guidelines I find online on these papers then I’m ready to practice.

Pointed pens are great at Copperplate script. Here are the basic strokes: 

Always write using guidelines. Traditionally Copperplate is written at 55 degrees. Practice the basic strokes until you can do them at least 80% consistently. Now it’s time to move on to letters. Letters are made up of basic strokes. The basic strokes usually group the letters they are composed of. 

Practice and practice writing letters and practice writing them slowly. You know when you’re going too fast when your pen keeps scratching or skipping on the page. Clean your pen with water and a paper towel every once in a while when writing after letters are mastered, and practice many words with attention to letter connections (I’ve seen this be a whole course) and spacing. Traditionally calligraphers are taught to practice pangrams like “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Writing long phrases can help master spacing and words more quickly. Next, majuscules and capital letters are learned, and unfortunately, they use different basic strokes and spacing than the minuscules or lower cases letters.

There are other scripts one can write with a pointed pen. Spencerian, a script invented in America by Platt Rogers Spencer, is the second most popular. My favorites are Engrosser Script, Italian Hand, and Open-Shaded Script. 

Modern calligraphy is based on traditional calligraphy but stylized differently. Although you don’t have to learn traditional calligraphy first, many calligraphers recommend it. What’s fun about modern is that after you practice hard and learn the rules, you make your own style. 

The fun thing about calligraphy is that they are many scripts, many pens, and many styles to learn. I only mentioned a few. It’s technical art that is limitless, and you keep improving your script every time you practice. 

My favorite calligraphy resources:

Traditional calligraphy online lessons:

Dreaming in Script by David Grimes has free lessons

Modern calligraphy online lessons:

The happy ever crafter on youtube

Calligraphy supplies:

Join your local Calligraphy guild.

-Snow White Bear

Continue Reading


We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.