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What is a Crochet Guage and Why is it Important?

This month on my blog here, I have been going over lots of the basics of crochet, and this post right here will be no exception. Today I’ll be writing about the importance of crochet gauge in your projects!

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What is Crochet Gauge?

Basically what guage does is measure how big your stitches are. Guage is measured in stitches and rows. So not only does the height of your stitches matter but so do the width of your stitches.

Why does Guage matter?

Guage is very important, especially when following a pattern. Not all crocheters crochet the same. Some of us crochet tighter than others, some will crochet looser than others. Which can be a problem when following a pattern.

For example, let’s say you are crocheting a hat. The hat is supposed to be 18″ wide to fit an adult head, and the pattern calls for a G size hook. So then let’s say you crochet your stitches tighter than the person making the pattern, if you were to use a size G hook and crochet as you normally would, your hat would end up smaller because you didn’t match your guage properly.

What effects crochet guage?

Crochet guage is figured out by a combination of things. It depends on how tightly or loosely you crochet, the size of your crochet hook and the thickness of the yarn.

The problems with not checking the guage

Your garment or accessory won’t fit

As mentioned above, if you’re following a pattern to make any type of clothing (i.e, hat, sweater, shawl, socks) And you don’t check to see if your guage matches the person who made the pattern, your project will likely come out to be the wrong size.

You could run out of, or have leftover yarn

If you buy a crochet kit that comes with a certain amount of yarn, or you buy the exact amount a pattern recommends, you could run into issues.

If you crochet with a larger guage than the pattern calls for, you will run out of yarn. But if you crochet with a smaller guage than the pattern recommends, you’ll have more leftover yarn than you needed.

Some people may think having more yarn than you thought you needed is a good thing- and it can be- but you could be wasting yarn if you have an awkward amount left- as in not enough left to do another project with. And that’s a waste of perfectly good yarn. Or you could end up with too much yarn that you can’t return, which I guess would be an okay think- but you get my point!

Your project may not look like the picture!

You may think this isn’t exactly a problem, and it isn’t all of the time. For example, if you are doing a blanket and you didn’t check your guage, it may be okay if the blanket didn’t end up to be the same size. But if you were planning on it fitting a queen size bed and it only fits a full size, or you wanted it for a child’s bed and it fits on a California King size, you could run into problems! Now, while it is unlikely your gauge will be that far off, you never really know with these things!

But let’s say you were making this pattern that I sell on Etsy for a snowman ornament. The pattern is 6″ tall by 2″ wide. If you didn’t use the same hook as me, you could end up with a totally different size.

How do I know what my crochet guage is? Can I check it?

Yes! And here are a few ways you can do it!

Start the project and measure your work

One way is to simply start the project you want, for example, gloves and measure the guage or test to see if the garment fits you after a few rounds. (The guage will be specified with the pattern most likely!) With this method though, be prepared to frog it if it doesn’t fit!

Crochet a guage swatch before starting

This is usually the best option because you can check the guage and adjust accordingly before you start the project, so you don’t have to rip it all out.

Find the gauge measurement in your pattern. (The standard gauge is usually 4″ by 4″, but it varies.)

Chain the number of stitches that the gauge calls for, plus an extra 5 or 6 stitches, using the hook the pattern calls for. For example, if the gauge is 7 stitches per inch, chain 13 stitches. This will give you a nice big swatch to measure. Then crochet back and forth on the chain, using the stitches in the pattern you’re following, (For example, if the pattern is using single crochet and double crochet) until you have a swatch that is 5″ – 6″ tall, to give you a large swatch to measure. You can fasten off if you want, or you can rip it out once you’ve figured out your guage. You won’t really need it after that.

How do I measure my guage?

Measure the stitches

First, measure the number of stitches. Place your ruler across the center of the swatch, horizontally, and count the number of stitches that fit into 4 inches. That is your stitch gauge. Like this

How to match your crochet guage

Measure the rows

Now place your ruler across the center of the swatch, but vertically. Count the number of rows that fit into 4″ That is you row guage. Like this

How to match your crochet guage

If your guage matches what the pattern calls for, good for you! You can start working on the project now!

What if my guage doesn’t match?

What to do if you have MORE stitches per 4 inches

You crochet tighter than the pattern calls for! Your project will end up smaller, and you’ll have leftover yarn. Which sounds like a good thing (it may be) but you also won’t fit into the hat or sweater!

How to fix this? Try using a larger hook. It will spread out the stitches and make them bigger. Create your guage swatch again and see if you match now! If not, adjust accordingly!

What to do if you have LESS stitches per 4 inches

You crochet larger than the person making the pattern! Your project will end up bigger and you may run out of yarn if you’ve bought the exact amount!

How to fix this? Try using a smaller crochet hook. You don’t have to adjust the way you crochet, just the hook size! Create your guage swatch again and see if you match now! If not, adjust accordingly!

Hopefully, this helped in figuring out what crochet guage is and everything that goes with it! I know it can be confusing at first, I know I was totally lost! But after some practice, you’ll be able to figure out guage just fine!

Want to learn a little bit more about crochet? Check out some of these other posts I’ve done for crochet beginners!

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