Gauge, commonly abbreviated as "GG", is one of the most important terms in the sweater knitting world. Gauge is a unit, measuring the number of needles in one inch width of the machine needle bed. Typical range of gauge on flatbed knitting machines is from 3GG to 14GG. At 3GG, there are three needle hooks per inch on the needle bed, thus creating a more coarse look sweater. And at 14GG, there are 14 needle hooks per inch on the needle bed, creating a finer looking sweater. Gauge is one of the main components that defines the thickness and look of a sweater.
Typically, the thicker the sweater gets the lower the gauge number. Therefore, 3GG machines is more often used in the winter time to knit chunkier sweaters and 12GG is used year round to knit cover up cardigans that can be worn in all seasons. Anything higher than 16GG creates a style that would feel more like a knit product (such as Tee's) rather than sweaters to the consumers.
To determine what gauge of machine to use, below chart is handy. Although keep in mind, multiple plies of yarns can be twisted together to knit so that finer count yarns can be used on lower gauge machines as well.
Typical Gauge Range and Recommended Yarn Count
*Note: 1 Nm = 1000 meters of yarns in 1 kilogram
Sweaters in Different Gauges
3 GG Sweater
7 GG Sweater