Machine Knitting Swatches – How many stitches?

Critical tips for machine knitting accurate gauge swatches.

The whole point of a swatch is to accurately determine how many stitches and rows you are getting with YOUR yarn on YOUR machine. For accuracy, you don’t measure a swatch from edge to edge, you measure in the center of the swatch.

  1. It’s important to knit a swatch that is large enough to measure AT LEAST 4″ square in the middle.
  2. To prevent errors, knit the same number of stitches and rows on every swatch you knit on a specific machine.
  3. Use contrasting color yarn of a similar weight to your garment weight to mark the center area of your swatch
  4. Permanently record your tension setting on your swatch (eyelets or tag)
  5. Let your swatch rest before measuring
  6. Dress your swatch as you will treat your finished knitting.
  7. Measure accurately – both flat and hanging
  8. Swatch for every stitch pattern you will be knitting


  1. Unless you are using a gauge ruler, knit a swatch AT LEAST 5″ square. (Just guess … don’t get hung up with rules) You want to measure the stitches within the middle of the swatch.  Don’t try to measure from edge to edge, you WON’T get an accurate measurement.
  2. Mark a section at least an inch from each edge of your swatch.  Use a contrasting color yarn and baste a quick square.
  3. Measure the square and count the number of stitches and rows within the square.
    Divide the number of stitches by the width measurement (24 sts / 4″  = 6 stitches per inch)
    Divide the number of rows by the length measurement (30 sts / 4″ = 7.5 rows per inch)
Armed with this information,  match a pattern gauge or use the Knit it Now Dynamic “Basics” patterns to create your sweater.
Learn More: Swatching Series

You may also like...

One thought on “Machine Knitting Swatches – How many stitches?

  1. Anne Windh

    August 17, 2017 at 10:40am

    Thank You Sue, – – – I think this is what I needed to get back in the knitting again, Have always had trouble with the gauge, – mostly because I used to take short cuts.
    Your help is the best I have come across ever. It is closer to my speed.

  2. Author

    Knit it Now

    August 17, 2017 at 10:44am

    Thank you Anne! Glad we can help! Happy Knitting

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required