Importance of Gauge with Crochet
One of the most important steps in crocheting a project is taking a few moments to check the gauge section in a pattern. The gauge determines how many stitches per inch & how many rows per inch. Most gauges are written for a 4″ swatch wide and tall.
Since everyone crochets differently some loosely, some tightly, some in-between—the measurements of individual work can vary greatly when using the same-size hook and yarn. It is important to make sure you achieve the gauge specified in the pattern. While some designers will state in afghan patterns & similar projects that “gauge is not important” but they list the dimensions anyways, still try to create a swatch. It can save you yarn.
When creating clothing items, gauge it is particularly crucial to check your gauge. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time on a sweater only to have it be way too big or too small.
Hook sizes given in instructions are merely guides and should never be used without making a 4-inch-square sample swatch to check gauge. Make the sample gauge swatch using the size hook, and the yarn and stitch specified in the pattern. If you have more stitches per inch than specified, try again using a larger-size hook. If you have fewer stitches per inch than specified, try again using a smaller-size hook. Do not hesitate to change to a larger- or smaller-size hook, if necessary, to achieve gauge.
If you have the correct number of stitches per inch, but cannot achieve the row gauge, adjust the height of your stitches. This means that after inserting the hook to begin a new stitch, draw up a little more yarn if your stitches are not tall enough—this makes the first loop slightly higher; or draw up less yarn if your stitches are too tall. Practice will help you achieve the correct height.