I used to be a loose knitter, but I adjusted how I hold my yarn and now I almost always get gauge for commercial patterns. I am a thrower rather than a picker and I pass the working yarn over my index finger, under the middle finger, over the ring finger and loop it once around the pinkie. I have found, however, that I almost never match the gauge of independent designers. At this point I don't even bother trying. I look at the weight of the yarn and the finished item and pick a needle size that I think is appropriate. When I look at the specifications for the pattern and compare my needle choice with the designers I can get a sense of whether or not they are a tight or loose knitter. If I have never knit with the yarn before I will do a gauge swatch, just to see how it knits up, but I don't fully believe the results of gauge swatches. I use them to get me started with a pattern and make the initial adjustments that I need, but they can't tell the entire story, so I check my gauge after I have knit some portion of the garment, and then if I am happy with the fabric I fine tune my adjustments. If I don't like the fabric, I will ravel, change the needle size and begin again. Thankfully, lace knitting has taught me to enjoy the process of knitting, and not just the end product, so I can rip out and begin again without anger or frustration.
Pattern: Koi Rama by Kitman Figueroa
Yarn: The Unique Sheep Tinsel Toes in Pisces
Needles: US 8 (5.0 mm), US 6 (4.0 mm), US 4 (3.5 mm)