Gauge and Knitting Needle Material

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I’m a little bit obsessed right now with my knitting gauge and all of the things that affect it.

I’ve experimented with twist direction and style of knitting. I’m developing arthritis in my hands and know I need to work on different ways to tension my yarn, but I’m leaving that for last. It seems like a hard thing to change.

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My latest gauge experiment was with needle material. I knit a swatch with Lykke Driftwood, needles (they are made of birch) and Chiagoo stainless steel needles.

I knew they would be different, but I was surprised how much. I knit a 25 stitch swatch with both needles using Swan's Island All American Worsted. The ballband calls for a gauge of 4.5 stitches nd sugget a needles size of US 7/4.5 mm.

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Since I know I am a loose knitter, I used a US 4/ 3.5mm for both swatches.

My swatch with the Lykke needles comes in at 4.5 stitches to the inch , and my swatch with the Chiagoo is closer to 4 stitches to the inch.

The Chiagoo swatch is on the left and the Lykke swatch is on the right.

A half a stitch to the inch is a lot of difference. I didn’t even need to measure to know that they would be different. I could see it and feel it in the swatches.

Do you choose needles material to compensate for gauge?