In the beginning of most patterns you can find crochet gauge information - this is suggested density of your work. It is very import to get the correct density. Do not skip this step and you’ll avoid nasty surprises later. If you make crochet flower or applique - it is not very important, but if you are making a hat or a garment or even booties – it is critical! It helps you to get the intended size and fit.
The crochet gauge shows you how
many stitches (and WHAT stitches – single crochets or double crochets, for
example) and rows should be in 1 ", 2 " or 4 inches (10 cm). 4 in (10 cm) is the most popular. Make a swatch approximately 4 ½ inches by 4 ½ inches using yarn weight and crochet
hook size recommended in the pattern and count stitches and rows.
Crochet is similar to handwriting – every master have a unique style, your stitches can be tight or loose and you need to adjust them to get the density right. If you have more stitches in your swatch then stated in the gauge – you need to use one size bigger crochet hook. Make another swatch with bigger crochet hook and count the stitches and rows again. If you still have more stitches than needed – try it again with even bigger crochet hook or check your yarn weight – it can be too thin.
You might be tempted to skip this tedious process, but it is very important and it will save your time later.
Single Crochet stitches: 6 in 2 inches or 12 on 4 inches (10 cm)
Double crochet stitches: 6 in 2 inches or 12 in 4 inches (10 cm) and 3 1/4 rows in 2 inches or 6 1/2 rows in 4 inches (10 cm)
Take a white cardboard (you can use a shoebox) and cut out a square gauge frame 4 in x 4 in or 10 X 10 cm (INSIDE measurement!) like shown in the picture.
Make a swatch slightly bigger then 4” by 4” (say, 4 ½ ’’ by 4 ½ ’’) and place the frame on the swatch – and count the stitches and the rows in the window. You can use the gauge frame again and again in your next project
Stitch marker is a small hanging device to single out and mark a specific
stitch for your work. Attach it to the stitch you need to mark – such as a beginning
(end) of the row or the beginning of a repetitive pattern, and you can keep
track and count of your stitches. In other words, you mark a specific stitch
with a stitch marker. You can use one stitch marker or many of them to mark
more than one stitch, if you need so. Stitch markers are very helpful when
crocheting socks, hats, or when you work with furry or fluffy yarn where it is
difficult to see and count your stitches due to the texture and the specific of
You can buy fancy stitch markers or you can use a simple safety pin . You can also mark a stitch with a knot of contract color yarn.