More Needle Gauges (3)

Many of these gauges are relatively modern. The organisation is not always completely logical as there are so many different ways the gauges could be grouped together. 

This board has my two favourite gauges. I love them because they are so wrong. Can you spot them?

Part of the reason I originally started collecting gauges was that they are not always as reliable as you might hope. As a mathematician, I want things to be precise. As a knitter, I want things to work out properly. Needle gauges, whether they are accurate or not, can only give you a size for the needles. They do not automatically help create the right size stitches to make a garment come out at the correct size.

Six of these are alike. Only the colours are different. I believe they are French. They have metric sizes from 1.5 mm to 9 mm on one side, and corresponding English sizes on the other, leaving unmarked holes where there is no English equivalent. They are like giant paperclips so you could use them to mark your place on the pattern.

The centre gauge says HD-100 Made in Taiwan. It has English sizes 00 to 14.

These are my favourites! How can anything designed for measuring ‘accurately’ be so wrong?

They are called M-P Knitting Needle Gauge Glove and Sock Measure.

If you only had one of these you would probably believe all that it was telling you. It is obvious in the photo that they are not the same length. They claim to be 12″ long. One is about 11½”, the other is slightly over 12″. They are in three sections and can be folded. This is not the cause of the discrepancy.

Trying to match the holes shows that those in the white one are smaller than those in the brown though the numbers are the same. If you move them along one place the holes match. Size 1 on the white measure is size 2 on the brown.

This kind of inaccuracy is not unusual but it is much more obvious in this case because these both come from the same manufacturer. The only sure-fire way of knowing the actual size of a needle is to use calipers. This is not just a problem with old gauges and needles. You will probably find that if you check your expensive new needles with calipers they are not what they say they are.

These five gauges are exactly alike in size and shape but not as similar as they might appear. Four are plastic, one metal.

  • Clover (in packet with Oriental writing). The holes are named as No. and mm. The millimetre sizes do not correspond to sizes used on Western gauges. They begin with 2.1, 2.4, 2.7. The only whole number sizes are 3, 6, 7 and 8 (which is the hole the gauge is hanging from). The other numbers go from 0 to 15.
  • Tailorform. Knitting Gauge – Jauge a Tricoter Made in Canada No 699. This is some form of lightweight metal alloy. On the front the holes are numbered in metric (2 mm to 10 mm), on the back they are American (0 to 15) and Canadian (000 to 14). It has 150 mm rulers on both sides of the front and 6 inch rulers on the back.
  • Unnamed. There are 19 holes marked as Metric (2 mm to 10 mm) and Imperial (000 to 14). On the back it has a 12 cm ruler and a 5 inch ruler.
  • Unnamed. 17 holes which are Metric and Imperial but there are no labels to say so. 12 cm and 5 inch rulers on the back.
  • Lion Brand Yarns. 19 holes. On the front the holes are labelled as Metric and US sizes. On the back they are only labelled as US. The start and end sizes are the same as the previous gauges but it includes 2.5 mm and 3.5 mm.

These ten gauges are basically alike. Eight are plastic, two are metal. One is unusual as it has Braille markings. They all have 19 holes.

  • Milward. Henry Milward & Sons, Studley, Warwickshire, England B80 7AS. Sizes given as mm. There are also numbers for Imperial sizes but it does not say so. The back has nothing but a barcode.
  • As above but with Braille markings. The Imperial sizes have raised dots on the front. US sizes are on the back, with Braille.
  • Called Inox on one side, Prym on the other. From Germany. Metric sizes on the front. On the back the sizes are US and BWG. Imperial sizes were originally defined by the Birmingham Wire Gauge. This later became the Standard Wire Gauge (SWG) but has rarely been labelled as such on gauges. It is now also known as the British Wire Gauge (BWG).
  • Inox on one side, Rump & Prym on the other. Otherwise very similar to previous gauge.
  • Wendy Wools. Very similar to first gauge but it has nothing on the back.
  • Milward (metal). Front says metric and mm. On the back it has Imperial numbers but does not say what they are. In addition to the usual Knitting Pin Gauge, which also appears in French and German on most of these gauges, this one also has Dutch.
  • Milward. Similar to Wendy Wools, with the same red printing, but named in English, French and German.
  • Named as Inox on both sides. US and BWG on one side, mm on the other.
  • Similar to Milward metal. Named as Prym on both sides.
  • Winfield (metal). Metric and Imperial. This does not seem to have been very well made as the numbers are wearing off.

These are all from US. Most are metal.

  • Marcia Lynn. The holes are U.S. Standard Sizes and are marked with numbers for needle sizes (1 to 16) and letters for crochet hook sizes (B to N). Stitch’n Needle 5 in 1 Gauge – Stitches to the inch gauge – Rows to the inch gauge – Knitting needle and crochet hook gauge – 6-inch ruler. It also has detailed instructions for checking your stitch gauge.
  • Susan Bates “Knit-Check”. Very similar to previous gauge. Needle Gauge Stitch Measure Ruler. World’s finest knitting needles. ‘Checking your stitch gauge’ is identical to above.
  • Susan Bates. Identical to Marcia Lynn apart from colour, company name and address.
  • Susan Bates (rectangle). Has all the same information as previous gauge. Only the shape is different.
  • The Boye Needle Company (plastic). US sizes (1 to 15). Knitting Gauge 6″ Ruler 2″ Stitch Measure. It also has detailed instructions to check your gauge.
  • Boye Count 10 Plus. US sizes (0 to 17). It has a slider that ‘calculates’ the number of stitches per inch. The only instruction is Set points at 10 stitches.
  • Boye. World’s Standard of Quality Knitting Pins and Crochet Hooks. The Boye Needle Company New York Chicago San Francisco. Holes 0 to 10½. 3 inch ruler.
  • Two Sears, different only in colour. Original US Standard Knitting Needle Gauge. Sears Roebuck and Co. Made in USA. Holes 0 to 15. 6 inch ruler and Two inch stitch Measure.
  • Two Lacis, different only in colour. They are made from very thin, flexible, plastic. Berkeley, CA (This is the first gauge I have with a website mentioned). Knitting Needle & Crochet Hook Gauge. These have the largest range of sizes that I have ever seen. There are 28 holes. They are for needles and hooks so have letters and numbers in the US sizes. They are also in Metric. The metric sizes are from 0.5 to 20 mm.
  • Unnamed. Knitting Needle Gauge. This is made from discoloured clear plastic. I don’t know how old it is, or where it originated, but it is like the very old clear plastic that used to turn a strange shade of brown.
    It looks almost as though it might have been attached to something else, with two rounded corners at the top and a slightly rough, straight, bottom edge. Holes are, presumably, UK 1 to 17.
  • Inox. US and BWG (000 to 14) on one side, Metric on the other. Very similar to the Inox gauges above, apart from the shape.
  • Unnamed. This is plastic made to resemble bone, with transfers of flowers that are beginning to wear off. The only printing is for the hole sizes, which are rather unusual. The smallest is ½, then they go up to 10 in whole numbers, with 11 above the flowers.
  • Perlac. Sizes 2 – 10 (Metric). 20 cm ruler.
  • Ariel Atan. 11 holes (Metric), sizes 2 to 9.
  • Good Shepherd Fingering Yarns. This is made of the same material, and has the same numbers, as the gauge with the flowers.


  1. Ute Mader says:

    Thank you for this all-encompassing description of needle gauges. I find it amazing and amusing how an ordinary little tool can fascinate so many people, makers and users alike.

    • Pat Ashforth says:

      Writing about them has given me the urge to go out looking for more – but I don’t really want to find more because, despite having a big house, we don’t have space.

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