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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I don't have time for that.

You just found the most adorable pattern, and bought it.
Flipping it open, a quick glance,
Okay great,
Yarn, Check,
Hook, Check,
Pattern, Check,
Sitting in your favorite chair, hooking your heart out in less than ten minutes, right?

Yup, guilty, done it.  I guess it is okay, if it is an Afghan, or perhaps a potholder, but what if that is a Skirt Pattern, and the yarn is a Silk Blend? Still Okay?  What do you do when, 35 rounds into it, you discover that it is too snug.  Are you on the designers Facebook Page ripping them a new one?
It is very likely that you will be ripping out those 35 rounds.

If, in the case of an elastic waist skirt, you measure the waist, to determine size, you will never be able to get it on over your hips. But lets say you read that part of the pattern, and did measure the right body part, It is still too snug. it just won't go on, no matter how you wiggle your hiney and hop up and down.  It is likely that you did not confirm gauge before getting started.

I am stunned to hear from people that they don't know how, or do not bother.  It can make or break you.  The one that blows me away are the people who truly believe it takes too long.

How long did it take to make those 35 rounds, and rip them out, and then remake them?

Lets Make a gauge swatch, It will only take a few minutes, and you will have the experience. You will see exactly why it matters. I am willing to bet, my gauge will not be the same as yours. But I wrote the pattern, and you want it to fit.

Chain 27, using an I hook, and Red Heart Super Saver. DC in the 3rd chain from the hook, and in each ch across. *Ch2, and turn. DC Across Row.*  Repeat * to* for a total of 12 rows.

Now lets grab a tape, and count.

The overall measurements do not matter, but just to set the stage, this swatch is 7 inches tall, and 8 and 1/2 inches wide.

We will be counting the stitches in a 4 inch square, inside the swatch.

I always choose an inch mark inside, in this case, the 10, so we will count the stitches to 14 to get our 4 inches.
You can count that there are 12 DC in my 4 inches.

Now we will be counting the rows, again beginning at the 10 inch line, to the 14.
You will see there are 7 and 1/2 rows.
The gauge of this swatch is 12 DC X 7 1/2 rows = 4 inches  What is the gauge of your swatch.

Now lets assume you are crocheting one of my patterns.  Will your item be the same size as mine?

You used the same size hook, and the same yarn. What is different?  Our tension. the amount of pressure we use when forming the stitches themselves.  Are you right, or am I?  Well, neither, or both, but I wrote the pattern using my gauge and tension. If you want to copy it, you will have to find the hook size that allows your stitches to be the same size as mine.

Taking a few minutes to create the gauge swatch, and measuring a four inch square, inside the swatch will save you a significant amount of work.
Using the interior of the swatch is going to give you accurate "how you work" numbers. Starting chains, and turning chains are almost always different form your "just do it" work.

When  checking your gauge against a pattern, look for the gauge listed in the pattern. Let's say it is 12 DC X 7 1/2 rows = 4 inches with an I hook, and Red Heart Super Saver.

You would start to create your swatch with a chain of 20. (12 stitches, + 6 +2 for the turning chain)
You would make your swatch at least 10 rows tall, so that there is a row above, and one below the rows you would expect to have in your swatch.

I hope this makes sense to you, and that you will find the time well spent the next time you pull out a pattern that has been waiting for you. Whether it is one of mine, or one you find elsewhere in the industry, check your gauge, because I can tell you, I don't have time to rip out 35 rounds.

Until Next time,