If making a gauge swatch before a project puts you in a panic…don’t worry, gauge is your friend! It will help you make all your crochet projects the right size!
Simply put…a gauge swatch is a square you crochet, so that you can measure your stitches, that’s it!
You might have seen a gauge requirement listed on patterns…this is very important! Every Crocheter has their own style, and yarn tension. A gauge swatch lets you check if your stitches match up to the pattern’s gauge. If not, then you can correct it by going up or down a needle/hook size.
Different needle/hook sizes & yarn will give you smaller or bigger stitches = giving you a different stitch count depending on what you are using.
Did you ever make a knit or crochet project, only to find out that it was too small…or way too big?!
Making a gauge swatch will prevent this, and never again will you have to “frog“(rip out) a project and start over!
I would love to show you just how easy making one can be! You can watch the video below, or see the step by step photo tutorial as well. Like the crochet hook used in the tutorial? Get one of your own custom hooks here!
Step 1: How to Start, and What You'll Need
To make a crochet gauge swatch, check to see what the pattern you are reading requires for gauge. If your crochet pattern requires Super Bulky weight yarn & the gauge reads: 6 1/2 stitches = 4 inches on US P hook in double crochet… Then you want to start by using a US P crochet hook & super bulky yarn, and crochet your swatch in double crochet stitch. This will give you a starting point to begin measuring.
You'll need a measuring tape and 2 pins to start.
Begin by making enough chains to make at least a 6″ x 6″ square or bigger. You don’t want to make it too small, because you won’t have enough space to get an accurate measurement. Work enough rows until it is at least 6″ tall from foundation chain. Cast off & get ready to measure!
Step 2: We'll Start by Measuring Rows
Find the outer edge of your stitch. This is where you will start measuring.
Step 3: Hold the Beginning Measurement of Your Ruler at the Edge of the Outer Stitch
Step 4: Place Your Pin at the Edge of the Stitch and the Beginning Mark of Your Ruler
Step 5: Holding Your Ruler in Place, Put Another Pin at the 4″ Measurement
Step 6: Remove Your Ruler and Count How Many Stitches (double Crochets), You Have Between the Pins
(6 1/2 stitches = 4 inches on US P crochet hook in double crochet)
Step 7: Now, Let’s Measure Crochets Rows:
Find the top of the first stitch (row), you want to begin measuring by and line up your ruler with the stitch.
Step 8: Place the Beginning Mark of Your Ruler at the Top of the Stitch (row), and Place a Pin to Mark It
Step 9: Holding Your Ruler, Place Another Pin at the 4″ Mark
Step 10: Now, Remove Your Ruler and Count How Many Stitches You Have Between the Pins
(4 rows = 4 inches on US P crochet hook in double crochet)
Step 11: What Do I Do If My Gauge Doesn't Match My Pattern?!
Not to worry! If you got more stitches than what the pattern’s gauge called for…that means your yarn tension is tighter than what is necessary. Go to a larger size needle/hook and make another swatch. Check your gauge again, and if you still get more stitches, keep going up in needle/hook size until the swatch you make reads as close as possible to the gauge required.
If you get less stitches…then your yarn tension is looser than the pattern’s required gauge. Go to a smaller needle/hook size and make another swatch. Measure your swatch again, and if you are still getting less stitches, keep going down a needle/hook size until your swatch measures as closely as possible to the gauge required.
I hope this helps makes sense of what a gauge swatch is and why it is used! And, don’t worry about having to spend time making one…they go by quickly when watching your favorite series!
Happy Gauge Making!