Crochet Gauge Basics – What is gauge and how to meet the pattern gauge?

Learn the crochet gauge basics as a first step in your garment-making journey. Crochet gauge or crochet tension is a crucial step when crocheting garments that fit well.

You have decided to crochet your first crochet sweater. Where do you start? What do you do?

Or have you crocheted your first garment only to realize it is too small or too big? Do you wish someone has told you about meeting gauge before you started?

You kept hearing about matching the gauge before you started but thought “How important can it be?”…

As you might have found out already – it is very important!

Well, you have come to the right place to learn the basics when it comes to crochet garments!

I have designed a Crochet Gauge Basics 101 Course where I will explain to you what it is and how to match the pattern gauge!


crochet gauge mini course

Crochet Gauge Course Overview

Here are the basic topics I will talk about in the Crochet Gauge Basics 101 Course and teach you all there is to know about this crucial skill to master:

What is the gauge in crochet?

A Crochet gauge is the number of stitches within a row and the number of rows within a given area.

Very often crochet gauge looks something like this in pattern: 16 dc x 12 rows = 4 x 4 inch

crochet gauge

Why does crochet gauge matter?

Meeting the pattern designer’s tension when crocheting a garment is crucial!

If you do not match the gauge set by the pattern designer, your item will not come out like the original the designer has crocheted.

So, for well-fitting and beautiful crochet garments, you much meet the gauge set out in the pattern.

Below is my popular Stunning Free Women’s Crochet Pullover Pattern – Spicy Sweater.

Crochet Gauge Basics 101 Course

You were excited to make your first crochet sweater only to get overwhelmed by trying to understand the gauge

You struggled to match the pattern gauge and thought “this will do”…

You think you worked it out and started making your sweater…

Only to realise it is not going according to plan and your sweater is way too big or too small

You are not alone!

But I have something to help you!

crochet gauge course1

How big should a crochet gauge swatch be?

The basic gauge is very often measured over 4 x 4 inches or 10 x 10 cm.

However, that does not mean that you should only crochet your swatch to that size. Your overall swatch should be at least 6 x 6 inches or 15 x 15 cm.

crochet gauge swatch too small
crochet gauge swatch big enough

Measuring Tools

I have recently shared a quick reel on Instagram regarding crochet tension (which is another term for gauge).

In this video I have advised against measuring your tension swatches with a tape measure. Learn why in the Crochet Gauge Basics 101 Course .

flexible tape measure

I recommend using gauge measures made from hard materials like wood or plastic.

square gauge measure
hard plastic crochet gauge measure

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How does crochet hook size affect gauge?

A Crochet hook affects the tension greatly.

The size of the hook you use determines the size of the stitches. Naturally, the larger hook you use, the bigger the stitch, and vice versa.

It is safe to say that you can achieve different gauge even if you use the same size of hook.

different types of hooks affect crochet gauge

How to adjust crochet gauge?

When you first decide to start crocheting a garment, there are 7 basic steps you need to do in order to start the gauge matching process right!

In the best-case scenario, your gauge matches the one stated in the pattern. In this case, you can carry on and make your sweater or cardigan.

However, this does not happen very often and more times than not, you will have to adjust your gauge to match the pattern designer.

Adjusting Stitch Gauge

As an example, let’s say that the pattern tension is set at 16 stitches in 4 inches.

You have crocheted your swatch, measured your gauge, and achieved 12 stitches in 4 inches. It means you can fit FEWER stitches in 4 inches than the original gauge.

On the other hand, if you can fit 18 sts in 4 inches, it means you can fit MORE stitches in 4 inches than the original gauge.

Learn what to do in both cases and how to match the pattern gauge inside Crochet Gauge Basics 101 Course .

Adjusting Row Gauge

As an example, let’s say the pattern gauge says you need 12 rows in 4 inches.

If you counted 14 rows in 4 inches, it means your rows are NOT TALL ENOUGH.

On the other hand, if you counted 10 rows, it means your rows are TOO TALL.

Either way, you will need to adjust the row gauge to match the original pattern. Learn how to do this with a hook or the golden loop inside the Crochet Gauge Basics 101 Course .

golden loop in crochet

Can I use a different yarn weight than the one the pattern calls for?

The simple answer is yes, you can.

However, here comes the big fat BUT! Learn more inside the Crochet Gauge Basics 101 Course .

How do you know what gauge to crochet?

The gauge of a crochet pattern is set by the original pattern designer. It normally states how many stitches and how many rows or rounds you can fit within a stated area.

For the best results, you need to count the amount over a larger area like 4 x 4 inch /10 x 10 cm.

Does gauge matter in crochet?

Yes! In order to reproduce the pattern to the stated dimensions, you need to meet the gauge set by the original pattern designer.

Final thoughts…

I hope you enjoyed this crochet gauge article. If you think your crafty friends will like it too, why not share it with them?

Firstly, you can share a direct link to this pattern on your social media. 

Do not forget to pin this tutorial to your favorite Pinterest Board so you can easily find it later too.

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You will also become one of my VIPs and receive exclusive discount codes on newly released patterns that I do not share anywhere else! 

So, my crochet newsletter is THE place to be! Sign up below today for a free PDF delivered straight to your inbox right after you sign up!

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About Veronika Cromwell

Hi, I’m Veronika! I design modern and wearable crochet garments, accessories and homewares. Grab your hook and find your next project!

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