Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for September 4th, 2008


Crochet-Along: Gauge, Sizing, and Hooks!

September 4th, 2008

Pin It

The response to this crochet-along has knocked me over…. I’m thrilled by all the enthusiasm! And thank you so much for helping each other out too.

First things first, time to address the subject of a lot of questions: the gauge, sizing, and hook suggested in the pattern. It does seem that there has been a typo regarding the gauge and what hook to use.

In order to make this entry as useful as possible I’ve decided to simplify the issue and not talk too much about all the different measurements from my many gauge experiments. (You can view some of my swatches and notes in the Flickr group.) Because this is a blanket and not a fitted sweater, we have room to navigate around this typo and take advantage of the situation even. It’s true, gauge is usually very important because it gives you the information you need to get the same sizing and drape as the finished product you see in the pattern.

The best thing I’ve seen come out of the confusion over the gauge is how many of you decided to follow your gut and choose the hook and gauge that best suits you. I think this is fantastic! You see, I need a lightweight blanket because I live in a warm climate and someone in a colder climate needs something thicker. So I’ll use a larger hook and she’ll use a smaller one and we’ll each crochet the fabric that fits our own needs. I think that is the best thing any of our blankets can have in common, that each individual blanket is “just right” for the person it will keep cozy.

Yes, folks, I’m all moved and excited about this potential army of blankets that each fills just the right needs for the right recipient. But we might like to take care of a few details so each of us can best plan out these “just right” blankets. See, going off-road with a pattern is far easier if you have a plan.

Follow this breakdown to plan out your blanket:

1. Find what makes the crocheted fabric you like best: Starting with Block 1, the single crochet block, swatch some rows with different hooks until you get the result that feels best for you.

My notes:
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice
Hook: P (that’s right! I’m actually getting a nice puffy and airy fabric with mine)

2. Work up one of each block pattern. This gives you a chance to get to know each pattern and see how well they match up to each other. You’ll likely make some decisions at this point as to any changes you want to make. It is important that Blocks 1, 2, and 3 each come out to the same width and height. You can make alterations to the number of stitches in a row to increase or decrease width or change the number of rows to fix any problems with height.

Take notes, here are mine:

Honestly my attention span for a specific block wanes at a point, so I’ve decided to cut my row count short and I have square blocks as a result. I am sticking with the number of stitches in a given row (Block 1 has 26 and 2 &3 have 25). You may have noticed Block 1 has an extra stitch. I’ve noticed that this extra stitch helps make the denser single crochet block a better fit when matching it up to the other two, they have a bit more stretch in them.

My notes:
Block 1 : 25 rows compared to 33 in the pattern
Block 2 : 17 rows compared to 19 in the pattern
Block 3 : 17 rows compared to 19 in the pattern

3. Take some notes on sizing and gauge:

My notes:
Block 1 : 2 single crochet = 1”, 8 single crochet = 4”
8 rows = 4”
Block 2 : 2 double crochet = 1”, 8 double crochet = 4”
6 rows = 4”
Block 3 : 1 cluster = 1”, 4 clusters = 4”
8 rows = 6”

Each of my Blocks is a stretchy, airy 12” x 12″. That’s right, they are huge! (One of my cats thinks I’ve made her a bunch of little cushy square beds.) Finding the sweet spot for my attention span as well as the size and shape I want has made working up the blocks much more satisfying. You also might wish to take the finished size of your blanket into consideration when deciding on the number of stitches and rows to use in your blocks.

4. How big is my blanket going to be?

Given that I have such big blocks, I may reduce the number of blocks I’ll use. If I don’t my blanket will be 5 feet by 6 feet! Now that I think about it, that does sound mighty cozy…

So take a look at the blanket diagram in the pattern. The blanket is 5 blocks wide and 6 blocks tall.

Estimating the size of your blanket:
Width of a block ____ inches x 6 blocks wide = ____ inches wide (this is excluding any borders you might choose to add).

Height of a block ____ inches x 5 blocks tall = ____ inches tall.

If you want your blanket to be a different size, you can choose to add to the height or the width of the blanket with some more blocks.

5. How much yarn will I need?

My lazy method: I’ve assigned a skein of yarn to each block. I marked the label with “Block 1”, “Block 2”, “Block 3”. When I’ve used up a skein I’ll have an approximate idea as to how many of each type of block I’ll get out of a skein. I can then estimate how many more skeins to get.

The smarter method (I haven’t done this myself for this project yet, but here’s what you can do): Unravel a row or two of yarn and measure how much yarn was used. Then multiply by number of rows in your block and you’ve got a total for a block:

Estimating Yarn Needed:
Block 1: 1 row = _____ inches/ feet of yarn
Block 2 : 2 rows (1 row of dc and 1of sc) = _____ inches/ feet of yarn
Block 3: 2 rows (1 row of cluster and 1 of sc) = _____ inches/ feet of yarn

There’s still more to talk about, I know! I hope concentrating on this gauge issue has helped sort out any concerns, but most importantly I hope you all feel inspired to crochet the blanket that is “just right” for you!