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Crochet Tip: How to Check Your Gauge and Why it's Important


Have you ever wondered why your crochet project isn't measuring up to the dimensions it should be? Have you ever made a slipper, top, or hat and the final product came out way too big or way too small?

If this has happened to you, you need to check your gauge!

What is gauge?

So I'm telling you that it's important to check your gauge, but you may be asking - what the heck is gauge? 

To give it to your straight - it's basically a measurement of your stitches. 

In a pattern, gauge is typically written something like this:

4" x 4" = 12 stitches x 8 rows in DC

That means when measuring a 4 inch by 4 inch square of your work/stitches in double crochets, there are 12 stitches across and 8 rows up and down.

*Typically it's 4"x4", but not always. 

How to Check Gauge

In order to check your gauge, you will have to make a 'gauge swatch'. It's another step in making your item, but it may be totally worth it if you're making something like a hat or top where measurements are crucial. 

Start with the recommended hook size and yarn weight in the pattern you are following and start chaining until you have about 6" (or two inches larger than what the gauge lists).  The gauge in the pattern should tell you what stitch. Make about 6" (or two inches more of what the gauge lists) worth of rows.


Now you have a small square to measure/check your gauge. You will need a ruler or measuring tape for this part. 

Simply, lay down your ruler/measuring tape and count the stitches across over a span of 4" (or the length of the gauge in the pattern). Do the same vertically for the rows. You will now have your gauge.



*You may want to measure from 2" - 5" as the first inch may not always be accurate on a measuring tape.

Looking at the photos above, the gauge would be 13 stitches x 7 rows in double crochet.

Next, you will compare that to the gauge in the pattern. If they match, you're all set!

If the number of stitches/rows are less than the gauge in the pattern, that means you have a tighter tension than the designer of the pattern and you will need to go up a hook size (or two, or three) in order to obtain the same gauge. Make another swatch with the next hook size up and check gauge again. Depending on your gauge, you may need to do this multiple times until your gauge matches.

If the number of stitches/rows are more than the gauge in the pattern, the means you have a looser tension than the designer of the pattern and you will need to go down a hook size (or two, or three) in order to obtain the same gauge. Make another swatch with the next hook size down and check gauge again. Depending on your gauge, you may need to do this multiple times until your gauge matches.

*Tips - Jot down the yarn weight, hook, and your gauge so you can use it for future reference for other patterns.

Also, if you find that you have the same gauge as a designer, take note of that as you most likely can get away with following that same designer's other patterns without checking your gauge.

It would also be a good idea to take note that a certain designer has a looser/tighter tension so you know that you will most likely have to go up/down a hook size when following that particular designer's patterns.

Why it's Important to Check Your Gauge

Confession: For the longest time, I never checked my gauge. Should I have? Yes, probably. I made tons of hats using patterns and sold them without checking my gauge.  I never had any complaints, but I was actually commended on the hats having some room for the kids so they could wear it another year.

Basically, I was making my hats a bit larger than they should have been. Win win for the kids and the parents getting more bang for their buck, but not a win if you're an adult and you'd like your hat to fit perfectly and not loosey goosey.

So that is the #1 reason you need to check your gauge. You may be making items too large or too small. It dwindles down to your tension - if you crochet loose (like me) your items may end up larger and if you crochet tightly, your items may end up smaller.

With that being said, it all depends on the pattern and who designed the pattern. If the designer of the pattern has a similar tension to yours, no worries. Likewise, if the designer has a very different tension than yours, your item most likely will not come out being the same dimensions. Make sense?

It's super important to check your gauge when making a garment/top because measurements determine if the garment will fit you correctly or not.

Something like a blanket or scarf may not be detrimental to check your gauge, but it wouldn't hurt if you'd like the exact dimensions that pattern designer obtained.


Now that you know how to check your gauge, don't be afraid to take the extra step to do so! It may save you lots of frogging in the future.

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