My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Row Gauge

I’ve had a couple of questions lately about row gauge.

While I’m pretty good about getting stitch gauge all the time, I usually don’t get row gauge — usually I have fewer rows per inch than the pattern specifies. I’m not alone in this, apparently.

So . . . what do you do about it?

Most of the time it’s not a big deal, particularly if you’re only slightly off. If your pattern tells you to knit until you’ve reached “x” number of inches, you do just that, and don’t worry about how many rows you take.

But if there’s shaping involved, you have to take row gauge into consideration. Like on sleeves.

If you are knitting a sleeve from the cuff up, and your pattern directs you to increase 1 stitch at each end of every fifth row until you have “x” number of stitches, and then knit until the sleeve is “x” inches long, and your row gauge is off, you need to take this into consideration and recalculate your increases. If your gauge is fewer rows per inch, you might reach “x” number of inches long before you’ve completed your increases.

In this case, you’ll need to do your increases more frequently, say on every fourth row instead of every fifth row, in order to get all the increases in before you’ve reached your proper sleeve length.

Same principal for a sweater with waist shaping — you need to adjust your decreases and increases so you don’t dramatically change the shape of the sweater because of your different row gauge.

Rebecca Wrap Cardi

I’ve got the left side front done.


And a nice chunk of the right side front as well.


Becky asked about the wrap cardi:

Have you already decided how you’re going to accessorize that number? It’s gonna look HOT!

Clearly, great minds think alike, because I’ve been giving that very matter a lot of thought since I started knitting the cardi. I’ve got two sleeveless black dresses — one short linen one and one mid-calf cotton/wool blend one. I think they’ll both look great with this. And I remembered last night that I’ve got a long skirt that’s a white and pale green print — I need to dig that out and see if the green matches. If so, it’ll look great with the cardi and a white tank.

I did set it aside last night so I could knit on my cashmere scarf. I hauled the scarf out so I could photograph it on its lovely Lantern Moon ebony needles, and then just had to knit on it.


And I finished it this evening.

Speaking of Needles

A couple of questions about my dpn preferences. My favorite dpns for socks are the really short (5 inches I think?) Brittany birch dpns. I’ve got a bunch of Pony Pearls as well, and I used them for socks for quite a while before switching to the Brittany birch needles. I really dislike metal dpns, but for the really small sizes, that’s all you can find.

Socks on two circulars? Tried it. Didn’t like it. I’m a dpn girl.

The Club

No, not the thingy you use in your car to deter auto theft. The Debbie Bliss Club! I got my username and password emailed to me this morning, as did other members, so the discussion forum has been buzzing!

And there’s a beautiful “members only” pattern available too.

Wanna join? All the cool kids are, you know. Look here for information!

And just so you’ll know what a horrible typist I am, when I first typed “beautiful” two sentences up, it came out “beuaitufl.” Huh? It’s a wonder any of this is readable.



Lucy would like you to know that she does get up and walk around from time to time. But because she is, after all, a Ragdoll, she feels an obligation to pose in Ragdoll poses for the blog.


  1. Sensory overload here! The cozy wrap cardi-in-progress (I want my Rebecca!), the luscious cashmere scarf and the ever-lovely Lucy! Wow! Row gauge problems? I just stock a carton of Guinness and do what a gal’s gotta do. Which,for me,usually requires buying more yarn.

  2. You don’t like metal dpns? They are all I’ll knit on. (primarily because they’re all you can find in small sizes, lol) Then again, I have a history of being a rough knitter, apparently- so after going through a million sets of Brittanys and Ponys, it was time to make a change. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Your knitting projects are gorgeous – but I can’t help coming back to your site for pictures of Lucy! She’s the cutest thing. I thought she was a Siamese seal-point at first, but was surprised to hear she’s a Ragdoll. I know this is unlrelated to knitting, but how hard is to groom? I used to have a Himalayan (seal-point) and she matted so easily. I’ve been wanting to get a Ragdoll – I hear they are the sweetiest kitties! Thanks!

  4. I also prefer dpns. Have your tried Plymouth bamboo dpns. Polished, pointy & short.

  5. I’m de-lurking to thank you for this very timely entry on row gague, as I’m working on my first sweater (Bella from the winter 02 Knitty) and have been worried about exactly that. I had just come to the point of deciding that it didn’t matter, since the pattern was in inches, but your post very sensibly reminds me that I’m going to _have_ to think about it for the front and sleeve shaping. Thanks for stopping me from making such an obvious–and potentially very frustrating–mistake!

  6. Another Brittany 5-inch Sock Knitter!

    Sometimes I think I’m the only one.

    My knitting group groans when I bring out a pair of socks on those short, 2mm DPNs.

    Does Lucy chew on the points? I got smart and started buying two sets at a time, as my fur balls like to chomp on those little pointy ends.


  7. I still can’t believe Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns makes no mention of row gauge. Clearly some don’t think it’s important at all. Another instance where row gauge matters is if you’re knitting a textured or patterned sweater and the chart essentially dictates how many rows you should knit past the armhole (i.e. it could be ugly if you altered it). Then if your stitch gauge is dead on and your row gauge is off but you knit the pattern the way it’s written, you can have set-in sleeves that can’t be set-in well at all.

  8. Great post! I’m going to print out the row gauge info. That cashmere scarf is absolutely divine!

  9. May I ask a silly question? What do you normally do about shoulder seaming? I notice on the Rebecca cardigan you are keeping the stitches live until the making-up stage . Do you usually use a three-needle bind off or grafting technique?

    Congratulations on your forthcoming book!

  10. Have you tried the “Magic Loop” You can knit your sock pattern on 1 longer circular needle.
    I use this technique now on sleeves and socks.
    It’s great. I still use 4 needles from time to time, but not very often. Marcia

  11. Cynthia says:

    I love my 5″ Brittanys too! I look like I’m knitting with toothpicks, but they’re great for socks and sweater cuffs.

    Can’t wait for your book……

  12. Laureen says:

    I love how you Kinsale turned out! Did you alter the pattern at all? It is more fitted than the model (or are the models just anorexic?) I’m tired of knitting big, boxy sweaters and really like the fit on you.
    Laureen, Illinois

  13. Michelle says:

    I have a needle gauge question – for years all I knit on were straight needles. I almost always can get gauge using the size specified. When I decided to try circular needles, I suddenly have problems. I have to go up a size (or two). Why is that? I noticed a Colinette pattern stating that you should only use straight needles as circulars will require a larger size and the jump is too big for the pattern (it was a hat that called for size 10 needles). Just wondering if this is something people already know about or something just I experience! I enjoy your blog!!

  14. vanessa says:

    that’s wierd- i usually have the opposite row gauge problem, too many rows per inch. love your kinsdale, great color ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Goodness Wendy, how do you knit so fast???? I check your blog every day, and every day you have a new piece done that would have taken me a week! I really enjoy your blog and I’m happy you have new things to show us!! Thanks for keeping me entertained at work (when I wish I was knitting!)


  16. I love the pink cashmere scarf. But than I am on a pink kick. I am going to have to hunt out the ebony dpns just to try them. I also prefer to use short dpns except when I am working the toe of a sock. I also use a long dpn to hold the inactive stitches when I am turning a heel. I am going to have try and get better about row gauge now after reading your comments on it. Lucy looks really regal today.

  17. > If you are knitting a sleeve from the cuff up, and your pattern directs you to increase 1 stitch at each end of every fifth row until you have “x” number of stitches, and then knit until the sleeve is “x” inches long, and your row gauge is off, you need to take this into consideration and recalculate your increases.

    And the sad thing is I never thought of that until you posted it, and then I had a ‘Duh!’ moment. So, thanks! I’ll have to keep this in mind from now on.

  18. Wendy, love your Kinsale!

    Out of curiosity, just exactly how much knitting time do you have everyday? I am amazed by the amount of FOs that you churn out some routinely and they are on tiny gauge!

    Wish I can knit faster so that I can have more projects completed.

  19. No you arent alone I am in that boat of tighter row gauge, but my question to the knitting goddess is this:

    obviously this will mean that you need more yarn for your project non?? therfore how do you determine how much more you might want to get, if you are say trying to buy all your yarn at once?

    And a point on “sock” needles for anyone who likes metals- I have found the metal ones (4 inches) made by the Addi people (Skacel) to be a god send! Especially as on those size 0 and 1s I am cracking brittanys left and right!

  20. Rebecca says:

    I too am amazed at how quickly you knit & how many wonderful projects you complete in the time it would take me to make a simple scarf!!! How many hours a day do you spend on knitting?

    Lucy is looking lovely as usual, would love to see an action shot some day though… if she deigns to consider the request ๐Ÿ˜‰