Assess the pattern
Starting a new project without properly gauging can be a disaster. It is very easy to do, especially when that item is a wearable. Don’t forget to ask yourself some common clothing questions that you may want to be thinking about. Will it fit? Does it wear properly? Is one sleeve longer than the other? With gauging, you can avoid these mid-project headaches and properly size your work. Not gauging your work is like walking on the wild side of fiber arts. We are not going to be so free-spirited on this Crochet Along. We are going to gauge our stitches for the Paton tri-color slouchy hat.
The tri-color slouchy hat pattern calls for Paton’s Classic Wool DK Super Wash yarn. When gauging this wool yarn 1 inch =5 1/2 stitches or 22 stitches for 4 inches according to manufacturers specifications. They sized the pattern in rounds of 64, 72, and 80 stitches so we would like to try to stay sized within those parameters. If you are using this pattern as written and the Paton Classic Wool DK Super Wash, then you are just going to check your gauge by making sure your stitches match theirs. If you are going to be following us by using our new Mary Maxim Maximum Value yarn or using a different yarn, keep reading to learn how to gauge your project.
Customizing for the wearer
In this post, we are going to honor a few requests and show how we are going to size the pattern for an adult. Also, since we just released a new yarn (Maximum Value) and the colors really work well with this pattern, we are going to gauge to that yarn. You will be following this process to gauge for whichever yarn you choose to use on this Crochet Along.
Here is a picture of our double crochet swatch where we used Sally Bates Knit Check. We are going to swatch and check both single and double crochet. So here is the basic rule:
The larger the yarn, the larger the stitch = the fewer stitches per inch.
Start by crocheting in double crochet a swatch that is at least 4 inches by 4 inches. Then take your gauge and line it up so it is square with your right angle and count the stitches per inch. With our Maximum Value yarn, which is slightly larger than Paton’s yarn, we chose to use a larger hook (H-5.0 mm) so we could get a nice round 4 stitches per inch. It helps with the symmetry of this pattern. Do this with your single crochet as well. It will help you keep your tension consistent.
The average adult hat is about 21-22 inches in circumference depending on head size. To make sure the hat doesn’t slide around
on the wearer’s head, we can make it slightly smaller. So if we know that we can get 4 stitches per inch and we need a hat that is about 20 inches around, then that means we need 80 stitches per round. In addition, the pattern on this hat repeats colors in groups of 8. 8 also divides nicely into 80 stitches so it works for our pattern.
If you are looking for a hat that is larger or smaller than what is measured in this pattern then the most important thing is to make sure your stitches are divisible by 8. It is best to adjust the size of your wearable by changing the needle or hook size. You can also change your size by subtracting stitches in groups of 8 or changing the size of your yarn. Anytime you start a project and when you adjust a pattern to suit your needs, swatch your yarn and gauge your stitch. Gauging is so
important in achieving well-crafted handiwork.
These are just general rules to craft by. The most important thing is to be happy with your work and proud of what you accomplish. Next week on our Crochet Along we will be planning our first rounds, stay tuned!