On the YarnCraft podcast, our bi-weekly audio show, we cover topics from common questions to tips on gift ideas. In YarnCraft episode #15, we devoted the episode to answering questions sent in by listeners like you! My co-host Liz and I were joined by Jackie Smyth, technical editor here at Lion Brand, who helped us answer the following questions:
- Why is my project is too big/too small?
- Why don't my stitch patterns look like the photo?
- Why doesn't my edging, crochet block, etc lie flat?
- Why didn't I have enough yarn/why did I have lots of leftover yarn?
- Why doesn't my crochet/knit fabric look like the photo?
The answer to ALL of these questions is often gauge. Gauge will affect the size of your pattern; it will affect the way your fabric looks; wrong gauge can cause your fabric to misbehave and curl.
So what is gauge? Gauge is the term that is used to define the proper tension you should work your piece in order to make sure that your piece's dimensions will match up to those specified in a pattern. It's usually given as stitches by rows versus the measurement that they should create (say 18 sts by 24 rows over 4 by 4 inches).
To make a gauge swatch, knit or crochet a piece that's at least 4 inches by 4 inches in the stitch specified by the gauge section of the pattern. Then compare your stitches and rows to the number specified by the pattern to make 4 inches in both directions. The key here is that you do NOT have to adjust how tightly you knit or crochet.
If you have too few stitches and rows, use a smaller hook/smaller needles and remake your swatch. If it's correct, then you should use this new hook/needle size. If you have too many stitches/rows, go up a hook/needle size and remake your swatch. Again, if it's now correct, then use this new needle/hook size. If it's still too many stitches, adjust your needle/hook size again. For a more in-depth guide on gauge, visit our website for knit gauge and crochet gauge instructions.
For more tips, ideas, and inspiration from individual podcast episodes, visit the YarnCraft Podcast Blog.