Using smaller needles in a pattern than the pattern calls for

I have not been knitting for very long but have found that I really enjoy it. I made an afghan last year and loved the pattern and size of the afghan but did not like the size of the needles used as the afghan fell apart kind of easily. I just knitted a baby blanket as a gift and really liked the needle size and how the blanket turned out.

My question: when casting on stitches with a smaller needle size, how many additional stitches should be cast on to acquire the same length as in the pattern? I don't think a baby sized blanket for an adult is the right size.

My pattern requires size 17 needles and to cast on 143 stitches for a width of 47 inches.

I want to use size 11 needles and would like to know how many additional stitches to cast on for the 47 inch width or more?

The gauge is 9 stitches and 12 rows = 4 inches.

Here is the pattern for the first row:
K3, P2, *M1, K3, P2, slip 1, P2 tog, PSSO, P2, K3, M1, P2, repeat from * across to last 3 sts, K3.

I am confused. What do you recommend. Thank you for your help.


To work it out you use the recommended tension of the needles you wish to use.

Divide the total width required by the tension measurement (in your example above that would be 4) and multiply that number by the number of stitches in your tension (9).

Then you work out how many stitches are in your repeating pattern, in this case it seems to be multiples of 15 plus 8. So you adjust the number of stitches you have calculated up or down to be a multiple of 15 plus 8.

I have to admit though I am having trouble working out your number for you. If 143 stitches is 47 inches on size 17 needles the tension would be 12 stitches for every four inches and you seem to be saying that your tension with size 11 needles is only 9, which seems wrong to me.

I suggest that you recheck the tension using the yarn you intend to make the blanket out of using the size 11 needles and then do the calculations.

These are not the real numbers, but I will give you an example to help you through the process:

Lets assume that your new tension is say 16 stitches per 4 inches.

So you divide your width by the width of your gauge (in this case 4 inches)

47 / 4 = 11.75

Then multiply that number by the number of stitches

11.75 x 16 = 188

To work out the total number of stitches needed for your pattern (multiple of 15 plus 8 in this case), divide that number by the number of stitches in your repeating pattern:

188 / 15 = 12.53

Then multiply 15 * 12 = 180 and add 8 stitches = 188.

Comments for Using smaller needles in a pattern than the pattern calls for

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

knit a swatch
by: Anonymous

For me, the best way to determine how many stitches are needed when using a different yarn or needle size, is to knit a 3-4 inch swatch in the stitch pattern given. Lay the swatch on a flat surface and With a ruler or measuring tape measure how many stitches you get per inch. Then, multiply that number by the width of the project, in your case, by 47.
I hope this helps. Good luck!


by: Deb

You are going to need to knit a tension square to work it out. I can't tell you the correct number as I don't know what your tension is like.

Cast on a multiple of 11 sts (there is an 11 stitch repeat in your pattern stitch) and knit two or three inches. Lay your knitting our on a flat surface and use a tape measure to mark an inch of knitting. Count the stitches and multiply that number by thirty.

You will have to do some minor adjustments to that number to make sure that the total is a multiple of 11, so divide your total (sts per inch x 30) by 11. Round that number down to a whole number and multiply by 11. If that number is more than 6 less than your original number your final number would be your total (sts per inch x 30) by 11 plus 1 times 11.

Smaller size needle for baby blanket
by: Diane

Original pattern
Cast on 110 st on 6mm needles (24" wide)
*K2tog, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, YO, K2tog, K2tog*

How many stitches do I need to add on 4.25mm
and a desired width of 30"
I a using Bernat baby soft

Thanking you in advance for your help.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Answered Knitting Questions.

Couldn't Find What You Were Looking for?

Try searching the site using the search box below:

Custom Search

Solo Build It!

Recent Articles

  1. Shetland Knitting and Shetland Knitters

    Feb 07, 21 07:44 AM

    Shetland knitting and the women in the Shetland Isle who create Shetland lace are among the best knitters in the world.

    Read More

  2. Fixing Knitting Mistakes

    Jan 28, 21 02:35 AM

    When you are learning how to knit, you are going to make a few mistakes. It might not make you happy but fixing knitting mistakes is par for the course.

    Read More

  3. Shetland Lace Knitting

    Dec 11, 19 07:03 PM

    Shetland Lace Knitting is a particular style of knitting that developed in the Shetland Islands and was one of the main exports of the Island early in the last century.

    Read More

Subscribe Here: