What you’re made of: Does needle material really affect gauge?

I’ve heard that knitting with metal needles as opposed to wooden needles can give you a very different gauge. But I’ve never tested it out for myself – until now. For this experiment, I cast on 32 stitches of a worsted wool and acrylic blend that I have laying around the house. Then I knit a square(ish) swatch with 6mm metal ChiaoGoo needles. I did the same with a set of 6mm Clover Bamboo needles. I have to say, the results surprised me.

As you can see, (even with the curling) the swatch knit with wooden needles is much larger though it has the same number of stitches. When I measured the gauge, I found that the wooden swatch was a full 1.5 stitches larger per 4 inch square and a full row larger per 4 inches.

I had heard that sometimes people knit looser with wooden needles, but I didn’t expect it to be this pronounced. I have always considered myself a tight knitter, but maybe it’s just because I love my ChiaoGoo interchangeable needle set, and they’re metal! What kind of needles to you prefer? Do you always stick with the same material, or do you mix it up?

Published by knotfancyknitter

I love knitting, books, dogs, and kids - not necessarily in that order. Thanks for stopping by!

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