Q for You: What gauge are you?

Q for You: What gauge are you?

I’m a 7. I don’t mean, like, on a hotness scale of 1 to 10. I mean, my natural gauge — the gauge at which I feel most at ease as a knitter — is 4.5mm, aka US7. I’m content anywhere from US4 to US10-ish, am not unhappy on the bigger fellas, 11-13. But these US19s I’m currently knitting on? Not a fan. I just don’t enjoy working with needles bigger than my fingers. The obvious upside is it goes faster — although the gains of giant stitches are somewhat offset by the clumsiness of wielding the tree trunks.

It’s largely a matter of perspective: To sock knitters, my beloved US7s seem gigantic. To the people who knit on PVC pipe, the standard-range needles must all seem hilarious dinky. After knitting for a few days on these 19s, if I pick up the 4s above, they feel like toothpicks. So there’s no going back and forth between my two current projects. (My blue Loopy and my black Anna, that is.) Plus given my lack of joy in the act of this knitting and the fact that the blue sweater isn’t exactly seasonally necessary at the moment, I know if I set it aside to knit even a stitch of anything else, I’ll never pick it back up again. So if I don’t want it to wind up an orphan, I have to just power through. Fortunately, after a week of knitting here and there, I’m almost done!

I feel like we all have a range on the scale where we’re most comfortable, but if I had to choose just one needle size to use forevermore — say I could have whatever assortment of circs and DPNs, etc., but all in the same gauge — the automatic answer for me would be US7.  So that’s my Q for You today: What gauge are you?

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74 thoughts on “Q for You: What gauge are you?

  1. Foe me it would be anything between 3 and 5. My preference is for needles 7 and below. Bigger needles, definitely anything above a 10 are just too uncomfortable in my hands it seems.

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  2. I agree: 7s: for your reasons and they are the most versatile- hats, scarves, sweaters and produce the most classic projects. I love bulky for now, but feel it will date quickly.

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  3. I am good with most sizes 1-19. Recently, I did a project on size 50 needles and I did not enjoy it as much. The needles felt clumsy in my hands and my hands ached afterwards. Maybe if I knit more often with the size 50s, I would get into a rhythm.

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  4. Generally knit on 2.5 mm to 4.5mm – if I could have only one it would have to be 3.75mm, I seem to have more than my fair share of needles in that size. I’m not a fan of huge needles.

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  5. These days I’m super comfortable with anything up to about a US 7 or 8 (I’d say the 3-5 range is probably my happy mid-range), and then the needles start feeling clunky. 11s start to make me uncomfortable and 15s straight up make my hands ache. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the super bulky knitting these days.

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  6. I think I live in the 7-10.5 range, my favorite being 9’s – which I hardly ever get to use. Knitting with anything below a five is torture to me.

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  7. I’m a US5 – partly because I knit very loosely and am always having to use smaller needles that the pattern asks for in order to get the gauge! But I like smaller needles much better than bigger ones. I can’t imagine knitting with 19s – it sounds awful :P

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  8. US4-6 (3.5-4,0mm) is my happy place – the garments I get to knit with fingering- and sport-weight yarns are so year-round wearable up here in the PacNW! I wonder if we all have multiple, multiple needles in our favorite sizes (I know my bag of US4s is pretty much stuffed!)

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  9. I love looking at the huge stitch pieces on the internet, but find DK-weight and lighter more versatile. Three cheers for 3-season wear! So yeah, usually hang out in the US 1-5 range, but man, the bigger stuff is so damn pretty.

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  10. Happiest on 3.00mm – 5.00mm, though I do socks on dpns at 2.50mm. I really can’t cope with anything over 6.50mm, they feel like broom handles to me, plus I noticed they make my RSI problem flare up much worse than the smaller needles.

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  11. I used to be a 7, but like everything else in my life, that has changed as I matured. Worsted weight yarn seems too bulky for most purposes now, or at least it feels that way to my somewhat bulkier body, and my default yarns range from fingering to DK. Fingering weight yarns, knit on size 5-6 needle seems to be a nice sweater weight now, and the same needle suits for something a little denser made from sport or DK. I still possess needles in sizes 9 and up, but never use them.

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  12. Funny that you said you can’t alternate between your projects, because I am currently knitting a sweater with Noro Hitsuji on size 11s and a pair of socks on magic loop size 0. :) Clearly I am fine with whatever needle is available at the moment, but if I had to pick something to use forever it would be an 8. I’m very glad i don’t have to though!

    I have to say that crocheting with a big hook is so much easier than knitting with big needles, since you are manipulating only one object, and that object is designed to catch yarn. I really think you should pick up one of your giant rosewood hooks and give it a try!

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  13. “Plus given my lack of joy in the act of knitting and the fact that the blue sweater isn’t exactly seasonally necessary at the moment…”

    Wait did I misread this??? DO you not enjoy “the act of” knitting?

    Anyways, anything above a US 9 drives me nuts!

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  14. My preference and the ones I use with hats, sweaters, afghans are 7’s. Sometimes I like knitting
    with 2-4, and of course socks are always knit with 1’s (2.25). I do not and never have liked the
    larger size 11-15’s.

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  15. Hmm, I’d probably say 7-8 (should our gauge be aspirational?) but often have to go down to 5 or 6. I knit with a pair of 19s (I think) and I felt like Wilma Flintstone knitting with dinosaur bones. Yabba dabba do!

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  16. If I have to choose one, then it would be 3 mm. It’s the most flexible for me, since I don’t like a thick knitted fabric. I’m more comfortable with the smaller sizes, from 3 to 5 mm.

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  17. I’m a 6, though right now I’m enjoying making beautiful, dainty stitches on my 2s. I haven’t knit on anything larger than an 8 in awhile.

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  18. 9 is my outer limit … 3/4/5 my sweet spot. I cannot abide anything above a 11 (afghans only) and would NEVER in a million years consider a 19

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  19. I am the same as you; knitting with needles bigger than my own fingers is a pain. Because I knit a lot of socks, 2.5mm is my usual size and I have got used to it and learnt to feel comfortable. But anywhere between 2.5 and 5 mm makes me happy^^

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  20. I am much like you in that 6 or 7 are my favorites. I think I can go as large as 13 without too much trouble, but above that is just clunky and uncomfortable. I will brave the larger needles only if it is something so stinkin’ cute I can’t stand it (like your blue sweater!). On the smaller end, below a size 5 is torture for me; unless I am knitting with linen, I would brave any size for linen :).

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  21. I love the feel of 4-9. Extreme smalls and extreme large engage my hands in an uncomfortable way. My solution is to have lots of projects in different sizes so I can switch things up and keep my knitting hands happy!!

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  22. I was glad to see your response when kimwfindley asked for the clarification on your statement. I thought I had missed a post or something …
    My tension is “normal”, and I like needles us 1 – us 8.
    However, I used us 13 and ended up bruising my thumbs. I will enjoy looking at your efforts, and others too, but these hands are not made for knitting with anything larger then us 10.75 – 11. Sticks are not for me …

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  23. Anything in the US#3 – 7 range is best, but socks require US#0 – 2.5 (and that’s ok) and two of the afghans I am working on use US#10s (two strands of worsted).

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  24. 8-10 is my sweet spot. 8 is my go-to for normal stitches, but if I want a looser fabric- I’ll move up to 10s. I’m a tight knitter, so anything below a 4 is uncomfortable (and I fear of snapping a needle), and anything above a 19 feels like coloring with those big Kindergarten crayons…

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  25. This is an interesting question that I’ve never really pondered before! I would naturally say US8, but that’s mostly because when I first started knitting/crocheting, the standard yarn weight I got from the big box stores was almost always worsted, and so I did everything with size 8s. Nowadays, though, I’ve knitted both a lot of socks, as well as larger, bulkier projects, so who knows! I tend to be comfortable in the US1.5-2.5 range for socks, and US6-9 for other things, I think.

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  26. Definitely happiest in the 4mm to 5mm range. And lately I’m noticing my preference for the “look” of the final fabric is the 4mm-4.5mm range. I do enjoy knitting socks but I realize I have to take a deep breath before I go to those small needles.

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  27. I’m a 7 too or maybe an 8. Also agree with the 4-10ish range. I have done a few things on jumbos and as a thrower I don’t tension yarn in the traditional way and use more of my whole arm to wrestle with the beasts ;)

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  28. I am a 4-6. I like the definition that this size gives to stitches. I do use the big girl needles when I want to finish something quickly.

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  29. I love knitting on fours. My range is probably 2-8. I finally picked up my 1s for the smallest gauge sock I have knit and my hands can’t quite figure out a comfortable way to hold them. Anything larger than 8 seems bulky in my hands.
    My daughter, 9, who has been knitting two years loves big and bulky. Her last few f.o.s were knit on size 13. I think her love of big needles has more to do with large stitches and quick projects than comfort in her hands.

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  30. I guess I’m a bit ambidextrous with my gauge. I’m a happy sock knitter by day (commute knitting), so US2 and 3. But I am also comfortable up to about a US 8 for evenings on the couch. I actually find that having a few different gauge projects going helps my wrists. However, I recently agonized my way thru a blanket knit on US15s. It was dreadful.

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  31. It’s a funny question. I never really wondered about it, I’m happy with small and large, but now that you ask, I realize that I really don’t enjoy knitting on anything from 9mm and above (US 11 +) as much as s aller sizes. I don’t mind the very small sizes, provided the yarn is smooth enough. So I can truly relate to your not enjoying the knitting of this super bulky sweater, and wanting to get it done as quickly as possible. It does tend to be physically painful after a while. I’ve seen pictures of women knitting with needles as large as an arm, and I have a hard time figuring out how they can move them, and how long they are able to work with those.

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  32. I tend to like 4s, and 5s. Love the way they feel in my hands and how the fabric knits up. Currently I have a sweater on 2s and it’s extremely slow-going compared to just a few sizes up!

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  33. Oh, it depends on the day! I’m a sock place right now, so US size 1 needles feel right today. But I just finished a fair isle hat on size 6 needles and that was nice, too. Anything over size 8 is kind of uncomfortable but I’ll do it if I want the FO badly enough.

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  34. I’ve always been a big yarn-big needles kind of girl for the speed of finishing projects but can’t wrap my head around the huge knitting that’s hot today, probably because I’m plus-sized with a short neck. Lately my preferred needles are US6 – US9 for worsted or DK yarns.

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  35. I have knit with a large range of needle sizes, from socks on sizes 2-3 to the Kiki Mariko rug by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne on size 15 needles. In the younger days, I frequently used size 8 needles. Now, my favorite is size 6. So 6-8 would be a good range.

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  36. I am a new knitter and find that my skills seem to build more quickly with projects that require smaller needles–0-5 US generally. I tend to be attracted to fabrics that are made with finer yarns. There is still so much I have not experienced in knitting, though. I have found that it is a myth that you need to learn to knit on larger needles with heavier yarn. (I enjoyed reading everyone’s answers.)

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  37. Once I see a pattern I like I look at needle size. If it is smaller than a 9 I can’t do it. I have a fear that if I knit smaller it will never get done( PTSD from an unfinished sweater I tried in high school on size 5’s and never knitted again for years). I can do 5 & 6 in hats and mitts but so many sweaters I shy away from:(

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  38. I mostly knit in the dk/worsted range, but I’ve been beguiled by sock yarn lately and after getting used to the tiny needles I’ve been really enjoying the ease of it all. Sure I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere fast, but I also feel like Super Knitter because of how quick and easy this gauge feels and how even my stitches are looking. Plus at the end of it all I get socks! They are an engineering marvel!

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  39. I am very new to knitting the smaller end of the scale, I Am more accustomed to working on US 8 – US11…. just purchased my first US 2 and awaiting my new US3 so I Am trying to find a new groove… When it comes to crochet… I AM definitely and 4.5 or a 7 as well as J6. and K6.5
    I’d love to know what size needles you are using with the pale blue yarn in your post?

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  40. I didn’t ever really consider that I might have a preference until I looked through my needle wrap. I have about 30 3mm DPNs all lumped in together. God knows why! Nobody in their right mind is going to have that many socks on the go at the same time, surely?

    Currently knitting up socks on 2mm DPNs and loving the dense little fabric but also OTN is a lacy shawl in kid silk haze on 15mm needles. I do like a bit of variety even though my needle collection wouldn’t suggest that!

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  41. I used to be a 7. I don’t know if it’s age, arthritis, or what, but now I am a 3-5. I used to get 5 sts/in in worsted on 7s like clockwork–I hardly needed to do a swatch. But now I am knitting more loosely, and sometimes have to go down as far as 5s to get that gauge. Plus, having moved to a warm climate, I’m doing a lot more lighter-weight projects, and my old 7s feel like telephone poles.

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  42. 6-8 US. Love the look of fingering weight yarn–hate how long it takes to make anything! I’m kinda a worsted woman, with occasional forays into chunky yarns and a spin with size 9 or 10 needles. I own a couple of pairs of US 2s, but I rarely bring them out. . .

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  43. 6 US. That’s the size I use most and so have the most needles in, since they’re almost always all hanging out in various projects! Most common alternatives are 4 US, 5 US, and 7 US. It’s pretty rare that I go higher or lower than that, since most of my knitting is fingering-weight sweaters.

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  44. I really enjoy using 000-4 with lace-fingering weight yarn. I love delicate and intricate charted lace patterns. I occasionally use bulky yarn but like to keep needles under size 13. If I’m teaching someone to knit it’s generally on size 6-8. But since developing Psoriatic arthritis my hands appreciate the lighter yarns. I knit continental style and I believe that is also less stressful on my hands.

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  45. Such an interesting question. Size 4 is my favorite followed by 6. Then there is sick knitting. Size 1 the 2.25mm size. The big bulky needles feel incomfortabke to me, too. They do have their place, though.

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  46. Pingback: Personal Gauge | Knit One, Pug Two

  47. Pingback: Q for You: Softness or durability? | Fringe Association

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