I don't know about you, but I find counting the stitches while holding a ruler against a gauge swatch all rather difficult and annoying... like I needed a disincentive!
I recently came up with this 'reverse method' which is working much better for me, so I thought I'd share :
Firstly, knit your gauge swatch as per your pattern (come on, you know you should!)
Secondly, wash and block it (ditto!). It doesn't take long! Honest!
Thirdly, read your pattern for how many stitches you're aiming for in the gauge swatch (eg 22 stitches : 4" or 18 stitches : 10cm, or whatever).
Fourthly (is that even a word?), count that number of stitches, and place pins to mark the stitch count. Make a note of this number if you're forgetful like me (what was your name again, sorry?)
Fifthly (pretty sure that isn't a word), get out your ruler, and measure the distance between the two marker pins.
Sixthly (now that's a bugger to say), you can see very easily now if you're on gauge!
As an example :
If the number of stitches you're aiming for (say 22 in 10 cm) measures up as less than 10 cm, then you need to use slightly bigger needles (you've got too many stitches in the 10 cm / 4").
If the 22 stitches measure up as more than 10 cm, your gauge is too loose, and you need to use slightly smaller needles (you've got too few stitches in the 10 cm/ 4").
While it mightn't come across well in words, I do find it easier to 'read' my gauge using this method (ie knowing the number of stitches, and seeing what it measures, rather than knowing the measure, and counting the stitches). I hope you find it helpful too.
Our model today was Bendigo Rustic 12ply, wearing Red Tweed. Styling by Jejune. Pins by Haberdashery Heaven. Towel by Ye Olde Linen Cupboarde.