Have you tried to crochet something and even though you followed the pattern, it looked different from what you expected? There’s a good chance that your crochet tension (or gauge) is different from that used in the pattern. The good news is that it’s a simple concept to understand, and it can be fixed!
What is crochet tension or crochet gauge?
Crochet tension is how loose or tight the crochet stitches are.
We each crochet differently which means that we each have a unique crochet tension. Our individual tension can vary depending on our confidence and mood, and it’s not unusual for your tension to get looser as you relax into making a project.
Crochet tension and gauge are both the same thing – they are different names used by the UK and US crochet terminologies.
Why does crochet tension or gauge matter?
If your crochet tension is tighter than the design this means the holes are smaller and the fabric is stiffer and not as soft. This can be fixed by using a larger crochet hook to make the holes bigger, and the fabric more flowing and softer. Your finished object will be smaller than the design and will use less yarn.
If your crochet tension is looser than the design this means that the holes are bigger and the fabric is looser. This can be fixed by using a smaller crochet hook to make the holes smaller. Your finished object will be larger than the design and will use more yarn.
For example – the Bliss Blanket (olive green blanket below) is made with a 15.75mm hook and is a stiffer fabric, whereas the Warm Heart Blanket (natural blanket below) is made with the same yarn and the 25mm hook (bigger hook and bigger holes) and it feels flowing and soft.
How can I fix my crochet tension or gauge?
The easiest way to do this is to try a larger or small crochet hook and see how the crocheted fabric changes.
Alternatively, all good crochet patterns give a measurement of the number of stitches and rows in a given size. You can measure your crocheting and compare this to the pattern:
- If you have more stitches or rows – then your tension is tighter and you can fix it by using a larger crochet hook.
- If you have less stitches or rows – then your tension is looser and you can fix it by using a smaller crochet hook.
Do you need help with your tension?
In Blanket School we explore crochet tension and crochet gauge and we have 2 Q&A Webinars each week where you can get one-on-one help with your crocheting. Find out more about Blanket School here.
I hope this helps!
With love, Lynda.