"In knitting, the word gauge is used both in hand knitting and machine knitting; the latter, technical abbreviation GG, refers to "Knitting Machines" fineness size. In both cases, the term refers to the number of stitches per inch, not the size of the finished garment. In both cases, the gauge is measured by counting the number of stitches (in hand knitting) or the number of needles (on a knitting machine bed) over several inches then dividing by the number of inches in the width of the sample."
I was recently re-reading the Yarn Harlot's book Knitting Rules! (very funny) and the chapter on gauge and swatching had me thinking - she says "you have to look at what your relative gauge risk (RGR) is and decide just how seriously you're going to take gauge, swatching and their attendant hysteria with each individual project." (p82)
As someone who knits lots of accessories, I don't often see the need to swatch or worry about gauge - as long as I like the 'fabric' of my scarf or shawl I don't really care if I knit to the same gauge/tension as the pattern. My RGR is therefore low on most projects. When making clothing items, they are most likely to be for the children, and I prefer to make things a bit bigger than necessary (to allow for rapid growth) and try them on as I go (they are generally top-down, one-piece) so again, it's not something that I worry about too much. I can easily increase or decrease where necessary. Low RGR again. Perhaps I'm a lazy knitter.
Tell me, what do you like to knit and what are your personal RGR rules?