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Please someone help me! How do you figure out the right hook, yarn weight and tension to make your project the correct size. I know you are supposed to go up or down in hook size depending on your tension. That does not always work. How do I figure in yarn weight and ply with hook size. My stuff always comes out to big.


follow your pattern for what they want as gauge and how you are to swatch. then here are some tips. sorry for the length.

first. swatch in the same way you crochet. this sounds dumb but I mean don't take special care with the swatch then zip through the project or vice versa.

second. stick with the same weight as specified in the pattern until you get a feel for how you crochet with that weight and hook size. if your pattern is written for sock weight yarn don't decide to use sport or worsted weight. you will need some serious math to fix this.

third. work a big enough swatch. 5 x 5 inches should be the minimum. perhaps 30 stitches by 30 rows if single crochet or whatever stitch you are supposed to use for the swatch. obviously if you are getting something you know is way too big or small don't go the whole way. it won't change that much. then in the center of the swatch (where your possibly wonky edges won't affect your counting, we all get them from time to time) count the number of stitches and rows including partials over 4 inches. I find that using a clear quilter's square ruler (clear plastic with lines every 1/2 inch going both ways, solid on the inch and dotted on the half) placed over the swatch gives me a very good count. I have my master teacher, Dixie, to thank for this bit of wisdom.

fourth: it is more important to get the number of stitches right rather than the number of rows if you are working from top (neck to waist for a sweater) to bottom or bottom to top. if you are working from side to side (sleeve to sleeve) then you need the row count to match. You can always add or subtract rows from a top to bottom project to make the project fit the intended recipient. example: you get the 4 stitches to the inch but your rows are 5 instead of 6 to the inch, you will find that you have a project that is too long if you count the number of rows rather than inches. conversely if you get 7 rows to the inch and you need 6, your project will be too short if you count the rows rather than inches.

fifth and probably the most important: swatch with each yarn and hook and keep them. perhaps invest in one of those small photo albums with pockets. swatch with one yarn and 4 or 5 different hook sizes. again in the 5 x 5 inch size or 30 stitches and enough rows to make it a square. count the stitches and rows per inch and put the swatch and a note of yarn, hook size and gauge gotten in the pocket. use this for a reference. use one yarn to start with in each size you usually use. this can be a lot of work, but it can be worth it. while doing this, make sure you are working the stitches correctly. make sure they go up the shaft and out of the throat of the hook, not doing so can make the stitch too small. make sure they don't go so far up that they go over the grip (the flattened oval where most people put they fingers) that can stretch the loops to be too big. make sure you tension your yarn a bit. I personally weave it under my pinky, over my ring finger, under the middle finger and over the index. Most others can't do this or don't like it and have to find a way that works for them.

sixth: take a note of your emotional state. some people have gauge affected by their feelings or physical state. are you relaxed? you might crochet in a relaxed and loose manner. are you angry or stressed? you could be tightening up your hands and pulling your yarn tight thus making what you thought was going to fit you now fits a Barbie doll.

I hope this helps.