Crochet Gauge What Why How A Step by Step Guide

Crochet Gauge – A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn all about crochet gauge including how to make a swatch and adjust your gauge to ensure your project’s the right size. Crochet gauge chart included!

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What is Crochet Gauge?

The gauge of your work is the number of stitches and rows in a designated area. For example, if the gauge stated on a pattern is 4″ x 4″ = 12 single crochet stitches and 15 rows, what this means is that within 4″ measured horizontally, you should have 12 single crochet stitches and within 4″ measured vertically, you should have 15 rows.

Crochet gauge

Crochet hook sizes and yarn weight play a major role in determining the gauge.

Notes: instead of 4″ x 4″, some patterns may just say: 4″ but that still means to measure 4″ x 4″. Also, gauge is not always measured within a 4″ x 4″ area. And, gauge is not always measured with single crochet stitches. The pattern will state how the gauge is to be measured and indicate what stitches to measure.

Crochet Gauge A Step-by-Step Guide

Why Measure and Check Crochet Gauge?

When a pattern calls for a specific crochet hook size and specific yarn, what this means is that the designer used that hook size and that yarn to complete the design.

Each of us crochets differently. Some of us crochet quite loosely while others crochet very tightly. How loose and tight we crochet is called tension. You could follow the exact same pattern using the exact same hook size and yarn as the designer and have your finished work be a completely different size. This is because your stitches may be looser or tighter than the designer’s stitches.

Your tension, your crochet hook sizes and yarn weight will determining the gauge. To help ensure your design turns out to be the same size as what’s intended, it is recommended that you always make a gauge swatch and check your gauge. Gauge is especially important for items that need to to be a certain size such as hats, clothing, tissue box covers, etc. For scarves and blankets, the exact size is not as important and you can skip this step if you wish.

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Crochet Gauge Swatch

The goal of checking the gauge is to see if your stitches, using the yarn you selected and hook size, match the designers.

Crochet gauge swatch

We do this first, before starting a project, to save you from making your project too big or too small (like when my perfect newborn baby hat was way too small for my newborn baby!)

All you need to do is make a little sample of the pattern, which it called a swatch. Then count how many stitches and rows are in that swatch. Then check to see if those numbers matches the pattern. If it matches, great! If it doesn’t continue reading below on how to fix it.

How to Read the Pattern Gauge

Under the “Gauge” section of the pattern, it will indicate the number of stitches (and which stitch/stitches) and rows in a specific area.

Example 1: 4″ x 4″ = 13 sc (single crochet stitches) and 14 rows

How to measure and check crochet gauge

What this means: there should be 13 single crochet stitches within a 4 inch area, measured horizontally.

How to measure and check crochet gauge

It also means that when you measure the swatch vertically, there should be 14 rows within a 4 inch area.

Here’s another example:

Example 2: 4” x 4” = 10 sts (counting both sc and dc sts) and 11 rows made as a flat swatch. Pattern for gauge swatch: ch 17. Row 1: In the second ch from hook, sc. In the next ch, dc. *In the next ch, sc. In the next ch, dc.* Repeat from * to * across. Row 2: Ch 1 and turn. In the first st, sc. In the next st, dc. *In the next st, sc. In the next st, dc.* Repeat from * to * across. Row 3 and on: Repeat Row 2 until your swatch is 6” high. 

In this second example, there should be 10 stitches (counting both single crochet and double crochet stitches) within a 4 inch area, measured horizontally. And, there should be 11 rows within a 4 inch area, measured vertically.

How to Measure and Check Crochet Gauge

To check your gauge, use the recommended hook size from the pattern and make a sample of the area with a few more stitches than what is indicated under the gauge. That is because the start and end of the work can be different sizes so we always want to measure only the stitches in the middle.

1. Make a Gauge Swatch

In the first example above (4″ x 4″ = 13 sc and 14 rows), I would recommend making a swatch with 17 stitches.

To make a swatch with this number of stitches:

  • Chain 18.
  • Row 1: In the 2nd chain from hook, sc. Sc in each stitch across (17 sc).
  • Row 2: In the 1st st (the st attached to ch), sc. Sc in each st across. (17 sc).
  • Repeat Row 2 until your swatch is more than what is stated in the pattern gauge. In this example, the pattern gauge is 14 rows so make 16 rows in total.

If the pattern for the gauge is provided, follow those instructions.

Measure the Stitches and Rows

Then get out a measuring tape or Gauge Ruler. Measuring in the middle of your swatch (not end ends), count the number of stitches within 4″ measured horizontally and the number of rows within 4″ measured vertically.

Sometimes patterns will use a different area (not 4″ x 4″) so look at the area it wants you to measure and follow the same steps.

Note about half stitches and rows: half stitches and rows count too! We always round up so if there is half or more of the stitch or row included in the area you are measuring, count that as a stitch or row. If there’s less than half of the stitch or row, don’t count it.

3. Check your gauge

Now compare the number of rows and stitches from your swatch to what’s listed in the pattern. Does it match? If it matches, great! You can now start the pattern.

If you’re gauge doesn’t match, here’s how to fix it:

If you have MORE stitches and/or rows than what the pattern gauge states, your finished item will be too small and might not fit (plus you’ll have lots of leftover yarn). Redo your swatch with a LARGER hook.

If you have LESS stitches and/or rows than what the pattern gauge states, your finished item will be too big and you might not have enough yarn. Redo your swatch with a SMALLER hook.

Crochet Gauge Chart

For each yarn weight there is a recommended gauge. Note that these are subjective and based on the most common gauge for each size yarn. The gauges listed in this chart are only guidelines from the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System. You’ll also notice the gauge stated only has the number of stitches in an 4″ area, not the number of rows.

Yarn SizeYarn TypesHook SizesGauge
Size 0 – LaceFingering or 10-count crochet threadB/1 (2.25 mm) or Steel Hooks4″ = 32-42 dc
Size 1 – FineSock, Fingering, BabyB/1 (2.25 mm) to E/4 (3.5 mm)4″ = 21-32 sc
Size 2 – Super FineSport, BabyE/4 (3.5 mm) to 7 (4.5 mm)4″ = 16-20 sc
Size 3 – LightDouble knit (dk), Light worstedG/6 (4.00 mm) to I/9 (5.5 mm)4″ = 12-17 sc
Size 4 – MediumWorsted, Afghan, AranH/8 (5 mm) to K/10.5 (6.5 mm)4″ = 11-14 sc
Size 5 – BulkyChunky, Craft, RugK/10.5 (6.5 mm) to M/13 (9 mm)4″ = 8-11 sc
Size 6 – Super BulkySuper Chunky, RovingM/13 (9 mm) to Q (15 mm)4″ = 7-9 sc
Size 7 – JumboUltra, RovingQ (15 mm) or larger4″ = 6 sc or less

I hope this helps you make the perfect fitting crochet item.

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