I never get gauge. Ever. I’m just one of those knitters.
Before anyone says gauge swatching is for wusses, let me declare I only gauge swatch for fitted garments. Mostly because if I’m going to spend that much time knitting the garment, it better fit me. So, ahead of the Ravellenic Games, I need to swatch (considered “training”).
The pattern calls for US 5 needles. Given I’m a loosy-goosy knitter, I started swatching on US 4. Nope, way off gauge and the fabric was floppy. So then I dropped to US 2 needles. The resulting fabric was appropriately dense but did I get gauge? Not even close.
Hint #2: Wash, dry and block your swatch. Even if I’m not going to do much blocking of the finished product I still wash and lay it out flat. As you can see in the notes above my gauge changed. PS – washing you swatch will also tell you if your yarn will bleed.
So now for some knitting math to translate my swatch on US 2s into a different size of the pattern. Then modify the pattern for the collar and button band. Before Friday. Plenty of time, right?