When you are starting a crochet pattern, you’ll want to make a gauge swatch. This allows you to see how your crochet hook size works with the yarn you have chosen for your project. Patterns come with a suggested gauge to match so that the pattern fits correctly. This is done by measuring your stitches per inch, also known as your gauge. The best way to start is to make sure that your gauge swatch is large enough, at least 5 inches square.
You’ll want to make your swatch with the recommended hook size for your yarn, which you can easily find on your yarn’s ball band. If your gauge is too big (or too few sts per inch), you’ll want to go down a hook size, but if your gauge is too tight (too many stitches per inch), you’ll want to go up a hook size.
To measure gauge, you will need a measuring tool, such as a sewing gauge ruler. You will also need something to mark your starting point on the fabric, such as a pin.
Block your swatch before you measure to get the most accuracy. Usually this will just be a bit of steam from your iron (with a towel between the swatch and the iron!), but if you are working with a lace stitch, it is worth taking the time to get it wet and pin it out to get accurate measurements.
Place your pin at the beginning of the first stitch you are going to count, and another at the 4 inch mark. 4 inches is a good amount to count to start with, because you will be less likely to try and cheat by forcing the sts to fit into the one inch space. Divide the total by 4 for your stitch gauge.
For example, if you are getting counting 12 sts over 4 inches, you divide 12 by 4 to get 3 sts per inch.
Don’t forget to measure both your row and stitch gauges by measuring horizontally and vertically. Make sure you make your gauge swatches over 4 in square for an accurate
A good tip is to measure at the top, the middle, and the bottom of your swatch, and average out those three measurements.
Top measurement = 11.5 sts over 4 inches, +
Middle measurement = 12 over 4 inches, +
Bottom measurement = 12.5 over 4 inches
Add these three numbers together = 36.
Divide that number by three to get the average.
In this case:
36/3 = 12 sts over 4 inches,
12/4 = 3 sts per inch.