Crochet tension, also known as gauge, refers to the number of crochet stitches and rows worked over a given measurement, usually 10x10cm/4x4in. It is determined by the size of crochet hook and the weight of the yarn you use as well as how you hold both hook and yarn together. In this article we explain why tension is important and how to check if your tension is correct for your pattern.
What Tension Do I Need For Crochet?
The tension required for a pattern is normally listed at the start, and it’s important that you make sure you match it before you launch into the first row or round. If you don’t, your finished project could be either too small or too big. Getting the correct tension might involve doing several experiments, each time changing the size of your crochet hook until you find the perfect match. Checking your tension is a normal and important part of preparing to start a crochet pattern whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced crocheter, so don’t feel you have failed if you don’t get the correct tension the first time!
How to Make a Crochet Tension Square or Swatch
Using the yarn and crochet hook specified by the pattern, make a crochet square in the same stitch being used in the pattern. As you will take your measurements from 10cm/4in, make a square that’s larger than this to allow for a margin around the edge. Fasten off the yarn and lay your tension square flat without stretching it.
How to Check Your Crochet Tension
Lay a ruler horizontally across a row of stitches and mark out 10cm/4in with pins. Then do the same vertically to mark out 10cm/4in of rows. Count the number of stitches and rows between the pins and make a note. If you have more stitches and rows than specified in the pattern, make another tension square using a larger crochet hook. If you have fewer stitches and rows than specified in the pattern, make another tension square using a smaller crochet hook. You should only start working from the pattern when you have adjusted your crochet hook size to achieve the correct tension.