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This crochet tutorial will teach you how to measure and adjust the gauge correctly in case your tension is too tight or too loose. A photo and video tutorial are provided.
As a crochet designer, there is one question I get asked the most, especially when I have crocheters test my patterns. “How do I adjust my gauge? It seems off” It makes sense. Everyone has a different tension and way of holding their yarn and hook. And then on top of that, the speed also determines partially how the tension of a project looks like.
Just think about how you crochet. If we are in a hurry, our projects might look different and have looser tension than when we crochet relaxed without a timeline. On the other hand, if you learned how to crochet with thin yarn or using amigurumi patterns first, then you might have very tight tension.
Table of contents
What is a gauge in crochet?
Gauge means the number of stitches per inch and rows per inch that result from a specified yarn worked with a specified-size hook. As I mentioned earlier, 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.
But trust me, neither of them is a problem. Whether you have a tight or loose tension, you can adjust it easily to match the gauge required for a certain crochet pattern.
Most of the time, measuring gauge is extremely important when crocheting wearables, such as hats, cardigans, pants, etc. In my opinion, the gauge is not very important when it comes to scarves or blankets or even bags.
All my free crochet patterns have the gauge listed, whether it is important to you or not. But let’s freeze for a second. Although most of you probably want to know how to adjust your tension to match the suggested or required gauge, let me first teach you how to even check or measure your own gauge. Because otherwise, you won’t even know how to adjust something you don’t know whether you are off or not.
Measuring & Adjusting Crochet Gauge
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The Most Important Part of all:
How to Measure Crochet Gauge
Ok, let’s start and talk about how to actually measure gauge. It really is much easier than you might have thought, But you simply use a gauge ruler or a normal ruler and lay it flat onto your crochet project or swatch. In my example, I made a 4×4 inch swatch that fits right into my 4×4 inch gauge ruler. Here is another one of my favorite GAUGE RULERs.
Now, simply count the number of stitches for one row that fit into 4 inches, for my example. For my swatch, I lifted it up and counted the top row which is 13 single crochet stitches. Then I counted the number of rows that fit into the same length of 4 inches. I counted 15 rows.
Smaller Crochet Gauge Ruler
You can also measure a much smaller space. Below, you see me use a 1×1 inch gauge ruler. That is actually my preferred method unless I use bulky yarn or stitch patterns that do not fit into a small space like that. In my 1×1 inch square for my swatch, I counted 3 stitches in one row and 4 rows in total.
You want to make sure that you use a measurement that will result in whole numbers. There are no 2.5 stitches in 4.3 rows. That is too confusing. If you see that the stitches do not fit into a 1×1 inch square, try a 2×2 or bigger, until you have whole numbers of stitches and rows/rounds.
Now, that you know how to measure the gauge, let’s talk about how to adjust your tension to make it fit the gauge you need to match for a specific pattern.
How to Adjust Gauge in Crochet
Crochet too tight? Adjusting Gauge Easily
Let’s imagine that your tension is too tight. What should you do to get the gauge you need for a pattern. Well, there are multiple ways to do it. One way would be to loosen up your tension. But that is the hardest thing to do for most crocheters as they constantly have to think about not making it tight.
Instead, I would recommend adjusting your yarn weight and/or crochet hook size. Try changing one at a time and see which works best. First, try to use a bigger crochet hook and see if that solves your problem. If it doesn’t then use thicker yarn.
Crochet Gauge Problems – Tension too loose?
What if your tension is too loose? Well, the same rules apply as the tight tension. I would not recommend making your stitches tighter as that is too hard, especially for a larger project. You will get
Instead, use a smaller hook and/or thinner yarn. As tension and usage of crochet hooks and yarn are different, you need to simply test what works for you. Try one or the other and if it does not work, try using both, a smaller hook and thinner yarn. Remember that yarn can be different. A #4 yarn weight does not mean you always use a 5.0mm hook. Some #4 weight yarn skeins require to use a much smaller hook than you would have guessed.
I know it sounds very vague, but as every crocheter crochets differently, you simply try it out. The best tip I can give you is to make a swatch with the recommend yarn and hook that the pattern calls for and see how your gauge matches the one mentioned. If it does not match, you, now, know what to do about it.
If you had any trouble with the above photo tutorial, I highly recommend for you to check out my below video tutorial. It is very detailed and shows every step.
Need more Crochet Tips? Try these amazing ones:
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