I’m sure you have heard about Gauge or Tension (UK Terms) and maybe you have no idea what it is and what it is for.
I will tell you about it, I just want you to know how important it is that you always make your gauge swatch before starting a new project.
¿What is Gauge?
Gauge or Tension is the number of stitches per inch and rows/round per inch that result from a specified yarn worked with a specific hook.
We make it to know if our gauge matches the tension needed for a pattern we are going to make or to create our projects and know how many stitches and rounds/rows we need.
How to make Gauge?
To make your gauge swatch you need a crochet hook and yarn.
Usually, the patterns you get will give you instructions on how to make it, which hooks to use, the recommended yarn, and the stitches you should use to make your swatch.
They will also tell you if you need to work it flat or in rounds depending on the garment to be made.
In this case, you will make a square of approximately 4 x 4 inches, so that it is large enough to be able to take measurements that are reliable.
If you are going to design something or create something without a pattern, you will make a swatch with the yarn you want to use in your project and a hook that you think will go well with your yarn and its weight.
Make a 6 x 6 inch square, using the stitch you would like to use in your new project.
In both cases, you can change the hook as many times as you need to obtain gauge.
If you are making a gauge swatch to make a pattern from someone else, and you don’t get the same gauge, you change the hook until you get it right.
And if you are designing something and when working with the chosen hook the result does not have the texture or drape you want, you can also change the hook and make as many swatches as you need until you get the fabric you want.
How to measure Gauge?
When you have your swatch ready, it is time to take the measurements.
The measurements are taken in the central 4 inches of the swatch, so that the result is more accurate.
To measure you need to place the swatch on a flat and hard surface, such as a table, and you will use a ruler to measure it, but also a rigid one.
You can use some markers or pins to mark the 4 inches and be able to count stitches and rows/rounds better.
Now you should measure how many stitches of your gauge swatch fit in 4 in and how many rows/rounds fit in 4 in.
Here you have some videos that will help you measure gauge
How to understand the GAUGE/TENSION section in a pattern in Spanish?
In Spanish they call Gauge/Tension as Muestra de Tensión
This is the name that appears on the pattern in the gauge section.
When you have it done you have to take the measurements and they are given in 10 x 10 cm. It would be the equivalent of 4 in, but they measure it in centimeters.
And for the rows or rounds and number of stitches, these are the words used:
rows: hileras o filas
rounds: vueltas o rondas