It should be a 4 letter word. I tried hitting it several times with 3 different needles recently. Which made me wonder if my yarn wasn't DK, and sportweight? Or am I just knitting too tight. Or...

When I started knitting, I broke all the rules. I didn't know what WPI (wraps per inch) or gauge was. As my knitting became finer-and spinning too I realized I had to learn. I'm very stubborn sometimes when learning something new. I'm used to making things work, and thinking outside the box. Gauge means I need to conform. Sometimes, right? It's also connected to math, which is not something I love.

So, I sucked it up, and with #5 needles I achieved 24 sts per 4"
With #6 needles I got 24 sts per 4" (wtf, right?)
With #7 needles, and here I was thinking I'm golden-I got 23.5 sts per 4"

The pattern calls for 18 sts per 4" yes, it's on #7 needles. I am trying to make smaller yarn do bigger things. I might sally forth, knitting a smaller size. Wing it and see? Knitting For Dummies says it's foolhardy to ignore gauge. Maybe.