What is gauge & it’s importance?:
Have you ever wondered what a crochet gauge swatch was? Well, this article will help you understand what gauge is and how a gauge swatch is helpful when working on a crochet project.
You may see the word ‘gauge’ in many of the patterns that you crochet but do you really know and understand what it is??
Gauge is a very important tool to use when you need to achieve the correct fit or size of a pattern.
There is no worse feeling of defeat than crocheting something that ends up not fitting properly.
It is much easier to take the few minutes and work up a crochet gauge swatch before you start the project than get halfway through and you realize that the fit is way off.
How to understand gauge:
Gauge is the number of stitches and number of rows in a certain measurement. Gauge is typically measured in 4 inches/10 centimeters. The pattern you are working on will state what stitch was used to achieve gauge as well as the measurement of it.
Let’s look at an example below.
Example: Glacial Peak V Scarf Pattern
Yarn: Weight #3 Lion Brand Mandala
Hook: US Size (I/9) 5.5 mm
Gauge: 14 sc x 15 rows = 4″/10cm
If you were to use the same exact yarn and hook size for this pattern, the gauge should be 14 sc x 15 rows per 4 inches.
But, that will not always be the case. Many crocheters have different tension when they crochet. The way someone holds their hook, the way they hold the yarn or even the brand/type of hook can all affect tension.
So, what if your gauge is different?? Or what if you want to substitute yarn?? This is why a gauge swatch is important for achieving a correct fit/size.
If your gauge is different than what is stated:
- When you have fewer stitches and rows than what is stated in gauge then work another swatch in a smaller hook size
- When you have more stitches and rows than what is stated in gauge then work another swatch in a larger hook size
A crochet gauge swatch can also be helpful if you want to substitute a different size yarn for a project. If a crochet pattern calls for a weight #4 yarn but you have a weight #3 you can check gauge by making a gauge swatch.
Regular Gauge Swatch Example:
The example above stated that 14 sc and 15 rows will equal 4 inches/10 centimeters using an I hook and weight #3 yarn.
- To create a gauge swatch you will use the same hook size and yarn called for.
- Then chain more than the number of stitches stated – chain approximately 18 for this example.
- Then work a few extra rows than what is stated.
- When finished, measure 4 inches and count how many rows and stitches are within those 4 inches. If your gauge is off then adjust the hook size by using the rules above.
Cheat Gauge Swatch Example:
Now, onto a little trick… with this gauge swatch example you do not need to work up an entire square.
Using the same example of the Glacial Peak V scarf;
- Chain more than the number of stitches stated.
- Now, only work half the number of rows called for – work up 8 full rows for this example.
- On the next row only work half way across the row and then turn – work 8 stitches across, stop and turn.
- Begin working the rest of the rows and a few extra than what gauge calls for.
- Then measure 4 inches and count how many rows and stitches are within those 4 inches. If your gauge is off then adjust the hook size by using the rules above.
I hope this gauge swatch article was very helpful to you and will save you some heartache with poorly fitted crochet items.
You can view free patterns on my blog HERE.
~~ FREE GUIDE! ~~
I created a FREE 2 Page Guide to Gauge where you can have all of this gauge information in 1 place and refer to it easier.
Click HERE to get your FREE copy of Guide to Gauge!