Why is the GAUGE so important?

Gauge is a measurement that helps you keep your crochet stitches consistent. It gives the number of stitches and rows in a given measurement that you should get with the recommended yarn weight and hook size. A gauge swatch is one of the very first things you make before you begin a project.

If you are substituting a yarns make sure that the new yarn has the same weight and can accommodate the same gauge. The manufacturer's gauge on the yarn label can help you in such cases - just compare the gauge on the label with the one listed in the pattern. Pay attention that in order to achieve different tension, sometimes the designers use different hook size from the recommended one. If the size measurement of your stitches and your rows do not match that on the pattern, the piece you crochet will not end up the intended size.

How to check the gauge?

To check the gauge you will need yarn and hook as recommended in the pattern. Usually the gauge is made with single crochet stitches. Make a foundation chain with the length of the recommended gauge (the gauge measurement is usually taken over a 5-10cm/2-4inches square) plus 1 chain that will be counted as the first stitch of the second row. Continue crocheting rows of single crochet stitches (or the stitch recommended in the gauge) until the high of the piece measures the gauge size. Measure the peace on flat surface with a ruler or a tape measure.

To obtain the gauge you have to make exactly the same number of stitches as the designer advised you to and the finished piece to be with the exact measurements as specified in the pattern. If you are going to crochet with yarn and hook in different sizes than recommended, use bigger or smaller hook or yarn with bigger or smaller yarn weight. You can do the same if the pattern you like doesn't come in the size you need - use hook with bigger or smaller size or different yarn weight. Below you can see some examples how the hook size and the yarn weight affect the final crochet piece.

I usually first chose the yarn (color, weight, material...) depending on what I am going to crochet and than decide which hook size to use. On the picture below you can see the difference in size and tension for three gauge pieces made with one and the same yarn (DK yarn weight) but with different hook sizes (from the left to the right: 2mm/-, 4mm/G, 6mm/J).

Gauge by Pingo - The Pink Penguin

For better understanding how the yarn weight and the hook size affect the measurement of the final piece, I've prepared one additional example for you. On the next picture you can see how the gauge looks when crocheted with one and the same hook (size 5mm/H) but with different yarn weight (from the left to the right: Fingering, DK and Bulky).

Gauge by Pingo - The Pink Penguin

If it is your first time using this yarn and you are going to crochet your project in different colours, I strongly recommend to make the gauge in two colours and wash it before you start your project. It would be an unpleasant surprise to see that after washing your finished blanket or vest, the coulours mixed. Many yarns will behave differently after being washed, so it would be also useful to measure the gauge once more after you wash it and dry it. You may consider changing the yarn if after gauge measurements before and after you washed it differ.

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