I asked my ELK Studio Crocheter’s Group if they would be interested in a live chat on gauge. The response was overwhelming! So….if you aren’t in the group, join today! Our next topic will be “Substituting Yarn” and you won’t want to miss out! (I haven’t set a confirmed date yet!)
There were great questions and information discussed in the chat, and I felt it would be beneficial to all for me to share with everyone else! I hope you’ll learn something and see how important getting your gauge really is and stop picking up your “go-to” hook not even considering whether it’s the right one for the pattern….because it DOES matter in most cases.
I’m going to set this up sort of like we had in the chat with the question in BOLD and the answers that are mine or possibly a member of the chat will be just below it.
- What is Gauge?
- Gauge is the number of stitches and rows to a certain size which is usually measured in 4 inch increments.
- Here are some of the effects of incorrect gauge:
1. The fabric will not feel the way it should.
2. The item may not fit the way it should.
3. You may not have enough yarn or could have lots left over.
- Did you know that your gauge can change in the middle of a project? Why do you think that could happen? Here were some suggestions:
- Fatigue and Distraction
- Possible hand or neck pain
- What if the hat pattern told you to use a J hook and your “go-to” hook was an H. What would happen?
- It would turn out small
- It depends on your tension. If your tension matches the pattern writer your hat would come out too small.
- I know that gauge can be measured with any measuring tape/device. However, what would you suggest to use? I sometimes find that a measuring tape is too flimsy and I feel it doesn’t lay as flat as I’d like it to. I’ve also used sewing measuring ruler, which I like more.
- I would use a FABRIC (sewing/garment) measuring tape and not one the hubby keeps out in the barn.
How to Measure Gauge!
- Make your swatch at least 6″ x 6″ You’ll need a measuring tape and 2 pins. (The pattern will tell you how the designer reached gauge with what stitches). Usually it says 12 dc stitches = 4″. In this case you would want to make you swatch with dc stitches right?
- Measure the center of your swatch because that’s where it’s most consistent.
- If your measurement between the pins is less than the specified gauge (per stitch or per row), your crochet it too tight. Go UP in hook size
- If your measurement between the pins is more than the specified gauge (per stitch or per row), your crochet is too loose. Go DOWN in hook size.
(For the K Hook, I would use 7″ inches for my gauge)
Here are all three swatches together. Same stitch count (25 st) using a G, I, and K Hook. Can you see why you can’t have a “Go-To” hook anymore?
Suggestions to REACH Gauge!
- Sometimes you can’t match both the number of stitches and the number of rows.
- If you were using a pattern calling for dc stitches, you could alternate dc/hdc stitches each round. For example, Round 1 use dc stitches, round 2 use hdc stitches, etc.
- You can also work one row (or round) with one hook size and the next row (or round) with the other hook size.
- DON’T GIVE UP! It’s okay if you have to make a couple of swatches……(just keep telling yourself it’s worth it!)
I know it’s exciting to start a new crochet pattern, but you really need to consider checking your gauge as part of the process! I want you to know that it’s not a negative thing if your swatch doesn’t meet the gauge measurements of the designers. It doesn’t mean you are wrong, but the designer isn’t either. It’s there for you to understand how many stitches you need to meet per stitch and row in order for you to have a smile on your face once the project is complete! Start thinking of it as a positive aspect of the crochet pattern and instrumental in your success.
The 2nd project of the Christmas Present Crochet-Along will be starting August 3rd and it’s a beanie! You’ll want to pay attention to the gauge given so that your hat comes out to your specific needs! Here’s the supply list if you’ve missed it!