WHAT IS GAUGE?
Gauge is the term used to define the tension you need to obtain in order for your crochet piece to come out to the correct size (in the UK Gauge is called Tension).
DOES GAUGE MATTER?
Not always. If you are making something that doesn’t need to ‘fit’, such as a blanket, a dish cloth or pot holder for instance, as long as you are happy with the drape and density of your crochet and a slight variation in size is accepted, then there is no need to do a gauge test.
However, the same cannot be said for fitted garments, where gauge really does matter. If you are following a crochet or knitting pattern, where the gauge has been stated, then it is important to do a gauge swatch before you start your fitted garment.
The reason for this is that no two people have the same crochet tension (this is normal), it is unlikely that your tension is going to be the same as the pattern designer, so this is why you need to match, so that your crochet piece will come out to the correct size.
HOW GAUGE IS MEASURED
For patterns made with individual pieces such as a Granny square blanket, the size of the individual Granny square may be given as a gauge. But generally, gauge is measured by the size of the crochet stitches, both height and width.
HOW TO MAKE A GAUGE SWATCH
To make up a Gauge swatch you need to use the same yarn thickness and crochet hook size called for by the crochet pattern designer.
Crochet enough chains to make a 6” square, even though you will be measuring over 4”. The gauge swatch should be larger than the area you will be measuring so that you are able to measure the interior stitches. Generally it is common practice to measure over 4”, but some patterns call for gauge over 1” or 2” as the yarn may be very fine so there is no need to crochet 4”.
Here I am using a super bulky weight yarn with a size N/15 (10mm) crochet hook.
The Gauge swatches above show that I have 6 stitches and 5 rows to 4”.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR GAUGE DOES NOT MATCH?
No problem :-) You need to make another swatch.
IF YOU HAVE MORE STITCHES TO 4”.
If you have more stitches to 4” than the pattern states, it means that your tension is tighter than that of the pattern designer’s, so you will need to use a larger hook size. If you are still getting more stitches, then you need to go up a hook size again until you match the designers tension as close as possible.
IF YOU HAVE LESS STITCHES TO 4”.
If you have less stitches to 4” than the pattern states, it means that your tension is looser than that of the pattern designer’s, so you will need to use a smaller hook size. If you are still getting less stitches then you need, go down a hook size again until you match the designers tension as close as possible.
So a few minutes of your time working up a gauge swatch can help you achieve the correct size, save disappointment and hours of unpicking and remaking.
I hope you have found my ‘How to’ measure your Crochet Gauge tutorial helpful. :-)
Good luck and Happy crocheting!
Perhaps you would like to try the Nordic Sparkle Hat Crochet Pattern
You may also like to see:
How to crochet a straight Granny Square HERE
How to make a Slipknot HERE
How to make a Chain stitch (Ch) (st) HERE
How to make a Slip stitch (Sl st) HERE
How to make a Treble crochet stitch (Tr) (USA Double crochet (Dc) HERE
I have used UK crochet terminology for this tutorial (For conversion to USA see HERE)
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Lots of love Kerry x