Knitting Gauge Converter – Pass it on!

May 10, 2014
Hello there, hope you’ve had a lovely week.

This week’s post is being submitted for the Deramores’ blog competition…and this is how it came about.

The theme of the competition is ‘pass it on,’ so I’ve spent the last few weeks mulling over what I could share. I was knitting a bootee order at the same time, and I soon realised that the size wasn’t turning out as planned!  Putting this right inspired the creation of my knitting gauge converter chart and it has since worked so well for me (and some friends), that I realised it was just what I should be entering for the competition.

A few weeks ago, I received an order to make a Sri Lankan inspired gift for a baby girl. I searched for some pattern ideas and came across an elephant baby bootie. I discussed the design with the client and after a few styling changes I was good to go!

I was soon to visit the UK where I knew I could purchase the yarn during a planned visit to London (no yarn shops where I live!) So I had a quick check on the needle size and stitch count before my trip.

Whilst in the lovely knitting shops in London I came across some amazing Blue Sky Royal Alpaca.  There was a small basket with a few gentle colours in it, including a perfect grey and pink.


Foolish me, I couldn’t quite remember the stitch count but could remember 3mm needles were used. The yarn suggested 2.75-3.25mm needles and the yarn was so beautiful and incredibly soft, I just had to buy it straight away.  (You know that feeling!)

Once back home I was looking forward to starting on the booties.  Surprisingly I have never knitted booties before (or indeed elephant heads!) and I love learning new things. The printed pattern instructions didn’t mention the gauge required, but did mention you could make half sizes using 4ply instead of DK. So caught up in the ’I can’t wait to start’ feeling I know all us knitters get, I thought I would make the size two years (the baby is turning one soon) and everything would be OK.

Mmm well, not quite the case. I made my first bootie and realised this looked the size of a newborn.   My heart sunk (you know!). So I searched online for the length of a baby’s foot at one year old and found it is estimated to be 11-12cm long. My little bootie length only measured 9cm!

Oh dear…. I had another look at my pattern details online and found the gauge was 22 stitches by 28 rows per 4”.  I checked my gauge and it was 28 stitches by 36 rows… whoops. No wonder my bootie was too small.

Out came my pen, paper and calculator so I could start working out the casting on requirement for the gauge of the wool I was using.

The pattern requirement was to cast on 38 stitches.

Here is my calculation: the pattern tension is given as 22 stitches per 4”. This means that there should be 5.5 stitches per inch, so 38 stitches divided by 5.5 = 6.9, which means that the pattern says that in their yarn, you need to cast on 38 stitches for the two-year old size which will produce a casting-on  length of nearly 7’’.

The wool I was using gave me 28 stitches per 4”, ie 7 stitches per inch, so multiply that by 7 equals 49 stitches.  I would need to cast on 49 stitches in my wool to achieve the 7”….. phew… head hurting? And that’s just for casting on!  What about all the increasing and decreasing??  How may stitches should I have before and after? And how many rows should I be knitting??

Surely, I thought, there must be a simple chart I could look at to get this information.  So I looked online….. and all I could find were conversion calculators which looked a little complicated…. and no basic charts.

I decided to make a chart for myself.  Here it is:

First of all I made one for the two relevant gauges as below. The pattern gauge is 22, highlighted in orange below. As you can see, to produces a length of 7’’ you need 38.5 stitches, (well 38) so that all checks out.

My gauge is 28.  Look down to the 28 row and it shows 49 stitches, (to produce that same length of 7’’).

Once I had knitted the cuff and the rib I came to knitting the top of the foot, the pattern mentions knitting the centre 14 stitches, so following the chart above, I see I need to use 17 or 18 stitches. (As I want an even number of stitches either side I use 17 stitches.

The exact same chart works for rows too, pattern states 28 rows per 4” my gauge is 36 rows per 4”

The pattern for the top of the foot states I need to knit 14 rows. If I look along the 28 row I can go across to 14, if I look down to the 36 row it converts it to 18, so I need to knit 18 rows to get the same length, no math required!

To make the chart user friendly I have rounded the numbers up and down so only full and half stitches are mentioned. Of course we cannot knit half stitches! So depending on what you are knitting, how many stitches you require for a pattern repeat or whether you need an odd or even number, you can decide whether you should round up or down.

Here is the link for the PDF chart for cm and inches, I suggest you print off the chart and highlight the relevant rows for pattern gauge and actual gauge so the other numbers are not distracting.

If you have Excel on your computer and you would like the Excel document (which is very useful as you can highlight the required rows on screen and hide the rows you don’t need) if you head over to my G+ Knit 1 Tea 1 page, you will see the link on there so you can download and save the file.

Of course you might be knitting more than 10” or 20cm, for example 25cm, so add the 20cm and 5cm column together to get the stitch count you need (which does involve a little math!)

I hope this will be of help to you, and if it is, please pass it on to your friends too!

The Elephant booties were finally finished to the right size! Aren’t they adorable!


This blog entry is my submission to the Deramores Blog Awards 2014. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. 



  • Jacqueline R. Sirois

    November 11, 2017 at 08:32

    Ms Rebecca,
    I stumbled upon your conversation chart what a blessing. Knitters everywhere are rejoicing with n your work and unselfish sharing. Any chance of finding the elephant booty pattern?

    I am most curious about your bra designs ….. are they made for standard consumption or are they more individually designed.

    Thank you most sincerely,
    Mainely Jacquie

    1. Rebecca

      April 5, 2018 at 06:34

      Hello Jacquie,
      Thank-you for your kind words, I haven’t written up the bootie pattern, so I am unable to share this. My bra designs are for the masses 😉
      Thanks again, Rebecca

  • Tonya

    June 5, 2017 at 04:51

    Thank you for sharing the guage tool this will come in handy I cant believe no one has come up with this before !

  • Reggie Ramos

    February 9, 2017 at 11:36

    What if the recommended needle size for the gauge in the pattern is different from the needle size for the gauge of the yarn you’re using?

    1. Rebecca

      March 22, 2017 at 18:27

      Hi Reggie, I’m not quite sure how to answer this one, you should knit the yarn with the needle size which gives you the fabric you want. I’m not sure if this fully answers your question though.

  • Sue Collier

    December 20, 2016 at 10:56

    You are a star! Thank you so much for sharing your charts x

  • Janet

    May 8, 2016 at 08:55

    Thank you so much! I use these calculations over and over again.

  • Connie Newbold

    December 14, 2015 at 10:29

    I can’t locate the link to download the Excel spreadsheet. Can you point me to it?

      1. Snowy

        January 9, 2017 at 04:56

        Thank you for all your hard work

        1. Rebecca

          March 22, 2017 at 18:24

          Thank-you Snowytree! 🙂

      1. Igi

        September 20, 2017 at 15:29

        Thank you very much!!

  • WheelyBad

    August 1, 2015 at 03:04


    Found this as I need to substitute a yarn as the one on this pattern no longer exists. The pdf files are a huge help, Thank you

    T xxx

    1. Rebecca

      August 30, 2015 at 22:49

      So pleased to hear T! So happy to be able to help 🙂

    2. Rebecca

      January 1, 2016 at 02:40

      So pleased to hear WheelyBad 🙂

  • Cheryl

    February 25, 2015 at 17:44

    Thank you this is extremely helpful.

    1. Rebecca

      February 26, 2015 at 22:13

      Really pleased Cheryl, thanks for leaving a lovely comment 🙂

  • Surretha

    May 11, 2014 at 18:38

    Beautiful work, Becky! Thank you for your conversion chart. I am sure that I will be using it.

    1. Rebecca

      May 11, 2014 at 19:42

      Thanks for all your lovely comments everyone, great to hear you will be using it.
      Rebecca x

  • Joan Laws

    May 10, 2014 at 22:23

    Great! I love it! Thanks for sharing.

  • Kat Hebert

    May 10, 2014 at 20:00

    Thank you!

  • Julie Jackson

    May 10, 2014 at 12:43

    They are a work of art Becky. And how you managed to make them after all the stitch re-calculating is bordering on genius! I just wish they would fit my size 6’s!! 🙂

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