crocheting for over forty years, Lily Chin has learned a trick or two-how
to manage loose ends, create the perfect beginning chain, and speed up your
crochet just to name a few. And in her new workshop, she shares over seventy of
her best tips and tricks. She'll even teach you a new thing or two about the
simple gauge swatch.
||Designer Lily Chin
know that we should crochet a swatch before beginning a project, especially a
crochet garment. But while that swatch will give you a much better chance of
creating a garment that will fit as you intend, I have also run into instances
when my gauge swatch and the final garment did quite match. Lily offers four
tips for creating better swatch.
Your Hook Size
ever finished your gauge swatch, then been sidetracked by another project or
event in your life? I know I have. Remembering which size I used to create that
perfect gauge swatch, if I used a size other than the one specified in the
pattern, can be a futile task, and I have to begin again. But Lily has created
an ingenious and simple way to remember what hook size she used. She simply
works a series of picot stitches, corresponding to the hook size used, along
the edge of the gauge swatch. So if you use a size F hook, work five picots
along the edge of the work (B, C, D, E, F = 5).
When you are
crocheting your gauge swatch, always make it bigger than the given gauge. So if
the gauge for your project is 20 double crochet stitches and 12 rows equals 4
inches, work a gauge swatch that is at least 6 inches by 6 inches. This larger
swatch allows you to measure your four inches across an area of interior
stitches and does not include the edge stitches or turning chains that can be
messy and alter your measurements.
Work Your Gauge
Swatch Over a Couple of Evenings
We all know
that our crochet gauge can change with our moods. After a stressful day at
work, our gauge might be a little tight, but after a hot cup of tea that gauge
can tend to run a bit loose. This might be the reason why you swatch to the
exact pattern specifications but your finished garment turns out too large or
your swatching over a couple of evenings. This will more accurately replicate
your true crochet a gauge.
swatch flat on a table and measuring gauge works great for afghans and home décor
items that will lie flat when finished, but crochet garments spend most of
their time being worn vertical. Gravity can alter the gauge measurements in a
way that is not predictable when the swatch is measured flat. So try measuring
your swatch vertically. Simply hang your swatch from a wall or corkboard using
tape or pins. You can also clip clothespins to the bottom of the swatch to
emulate the weight of more fabric.
A gauge swatch
is also a great way to practice an intricate stitch pattern and determine if
you will enjoy crocheting it for an entire project. And don't toss the swatch.
One of my favorite tips from Lily is to save the swatch and wash it with your
garment. The swatch then becomes a great resource for matching yarn in case you
ever need to make repears.
I will never
look at crocheting a gauge swatch the same way again. Download or order The Crocheter's Toolbox: Lily Chin's
Techniques and Tricks for Savvy Crocheters today and add a few more tools
to your crochet toolbox.
P.S. Do you crochet gauge swatches?