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All About Gauge

March 15, 2008

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Gauge is one of the most important things in crochet.  Gauge is the key to ensuring that a piece is worked the same way that the designer of the pattern did.

Not every crocheter uses the same tension when holding the yarn and hook.  Some crochet tightly. This means that they are able to get more stitches in an inch than someone that crochets loosely. 

Every pattern has a gauge at the top of it.  You must work a gauge swatch to ensure that you are working at the same thread tension as the pattern designer.  If you do not work a gauge swatch, your finished measurements might not equal those in the pattern.  This can be especially troublesome if you are making a garment.  The size of a garment needs to meet the pattern specifications to ensure fit. 

A pattern will usually say how big of a gauge swatch to work.  A great deal are 4 inches square.  An example would be:

12 sc and 13 rows = 4 ins

That means working 13 rows of 12 single crochet will equal a 4 inch square.

If you work the gauge swatch, and it does not equal the gauge specified there are a few things you can do.  If your swatch is smaller, you can try going up a size or two in your hook.  This will make the stitches larger. You can also try loosening up your tension on the yarn.  This will allow the stitches to become larger.  It is important to remember to push your yarn loop all the way onto the crochet hook.  It may be small if it is not reaching the full size of the hook.

If your swatch is too large, go down a size or two in hook.  You can also tighten your tension on the yarn.

 As you crochet more and more, you will learn if you are consistently a tight, loose, or dead on crocheter.  This will help speed up the swatch process, but remember that not all pattern designers are the same.  This means it is still important to work a gauge swatch in certain circumstances. 

Tension is not the only thing that affects gauge.  Yarn weight also affects it.  The smaller or larger the weight of your yarn will determine the size of hook needed to meet the gauge requirements of the pattern or project. 

I hope this has helped all of you that are new to crochet learn a little bit about gauge.  It is a really important part of learning to crochet correctly. 

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