Creating a gauge or tension square

Hi Everyone,

It’s Typsy here! Prrrrr to you all.


I thought I’d help Mimi out by doing the next post. Today I’m going to explain about tension squares and show you how to make them.

Many people are so excited about starting their new project that they skip or forget to do a tension square first. Oh O. The end result is that their new item is bigger or smaller than the pattern said it would be. You can get away with this when making cushions or rugs – but if you are making an item of clothing you want it to be the RIGHT size, right?

So this is what you do

1. Check the pattern for the gauge details

The gauge has 2 parts. First is the pattern of what stitches to do. And the second is the measurements for how big the stitches should be.

For our example we are going to do the following:

Pattern – alternating rows of hdcs (half double crochets – American system) with trs (triple crochets – American system).

This is how this pattern looks

L6 Gauge 1

And the pattern specifies

10cm/ 4 inches wide = 14 stitches, 10cm/ 4 inches high = 8.5 rows

Also important is the hook size and recommended yarn, which in this pattern is hook sized 3.5mm and 4ply cotton

2. Crochet a square

It is fairly standard that a gauge will tell you what length and width to make the square, but it is better to make the square bigger than this because edges and the first row can be misleading if your tension isn’t 100% stable… mine never is…

So for a 10cm/ 4 inch make a square that is 15- 20 cm/ 5-6 inches in size. The width is more important than the height because it can’t be easily fixed once the garment is underway. For this reason I  do a square that is 20 cm wide and 15 cm tall.

In this example I am also using a different type of yarn than the recommended cotton – still the same size (equivalent to 4ply) but a different texture.

And here is my first square.

L6 Gauge 2

3. Assess the square

Now we lay the square flat, take a tape measure and measure the width counting all the stitches within 10 cm.

L6 Gauge 3

As you can see there are 15 stitches in 10 cm, but the gauge specified only 14 stitches. This means that if I follow the pattern exactly my garment will be too small…so what do you do? The easiest thing is to change hook size. Because it is too small I will try again with a LARGER hook (4mm – the next size up)

If it had been less stitches than the gauge, that would have meant it was too big and we would try again with a SMALLER hook.

4. Crochet a second square if necessary

So this is the second square measured.


We now have it right! If we didn’t, we would make another square changing the hook size again until it was.

5. What about the height?

Ideally if you get the width right the height should fall into place too. So let’s look at the height of the second square and see how we are going…

L6 Gauge 6.JPG

Hmmmm… there are 7 rows instead of 8.5 rows. That means the pattern will be too long if you follow it exactly. But as making it smaller makes it too thin, what do you do?

If your stitches are the right width but your rows are either smaller or longer than they should be, go with the correct width. Why? Because you can always add more or less rows to make the item longer or shorter, but you can’t add extra foundation chain later to make it wider.

Most clothing patterns work in measurements rather than row numbers to get around this very problem.

I hope this has been helpful.

Meow for now,






Working in a really big round

Mee-ow to you all. It is I, Mimi. Mimi the model

Today I’m going to show you some tricks for working in a really big round. The sort of round I mean is when there are 50 or more chain stitches in the initial ring.

The first thing you need is two balls of the same color yarn.

Start by doing the foundation chain as specified in the pattern, however when it says to join the ring I want you to pause and put a safety pin in the end to stop it unraveling.

L5 Round 1


Next get the second ball of yarn and attach a ch stitch to the first of the foundation ch at the opposite end to the safety pin.

L5 Round 2L5 Round 3





Now do your turning chain for the start of the row and stitch all the stitches in the row up to the end where the safety pin is waiting.

L5 Round 4L5 Round 5




Count your stitches carefully to see that they are all there. If you have made a mistake you can undo the safety pin and add or subtract any missing stitches.

L5 Round 6

When you are satisfied, do a slip stitch from the end loop of the foundation ch into the first ch like this, making sure there are no twists in the circle you are making.

L5 Round 7L5 Round 8






Finish off the end so that the first ball of yarn is no longer attached.

Then turn the work upside down and do a slip stitch into the top turning ch on the first row worked.

L5 Round 10

You have completed Round 1, do your turning ch for Round 2 and continue on your way!

Any questions?

Crocheting Edges Together

Mee-ow, it is I, Mimi once again. Tea anyone

Today I’m going to show you how we crochet two pieces of crochet together by joining them along their edges.



Position the two pieces so that the sides you want to crochet together are one on top of the other and are ready to be joined from right to left.

If you want the finished join to show on the front like this,

L4 Joining 6

put the backs of each piece together.

If you want to put the join on the back so it doesn’t show on the front like in this granny square rug,

L4 Joining 8put the fronts together and crochet from the back of the top piece.

Once your two pieces are placed one on top of the other, you are ready to join. Whether you are attaching a new yarn to join with or continuing on with one you were already using, you should have one loop on the hook as usual.

L4 Joining 1

Insert the hook through a stitch on both the top and bottom piece (the pale orange two) and draw yarn through them like this.

L4 Joining 2

L4 Joining 3L4 Joining 4L4 Joining 5Sometimes you will have a nice row edge to insert the hook into and you can pick up the top loop of each stitch you want to crochet together and crochet them together perfectly evenly.

L4 Joining 7

But sometimes you will have side seems where the loops may not match up so precisely. Just do your best to keep it even – put one stitch in the side of each sc and 2 or 3 stitches in the side of each dc, depending on the look you want. The key is to be consistent and keep the sides matched so they  end together.

Usually when joins are being made a slip stitch is used, but you can use a single crochet or even half double crochet to make a clearly marked edge out of the join.

The edge in the granny square is a slip stitch, the edge in the striped example is a single crochet edge.

L4 Joining 8L4 Joining 6Any questions?

Decreasing at the beginning of the row


L3 Decrease 1

it is I, Mimi, once again.

We are working on a great new project that involves one way of decreasing at the beginning of the row, so I thought I’d show you that too.



As you can see here the rows are decreasing steadily in a straight line.

L3 Decrease 2

The pattern says 3dctog, but because it is the beginning of the row we start it with turning ch instead of a dc, but we only use 2 turning ch not the usual 3.

L3 Decrease 3

Then we continue as if doing 2dctog , like this:

L3 Decrease 5

L3 Decrease 4




Any questions?


Decreasing Stitches Within the Row

Mee-ow to you all. It is I, Mimi.

008Naturally since I showed you how to increase stitches yesterday, today you’ll want to know how to decrease stitches. When working within the row there are 2 ways.

The first and most often used is to crochet two (or more) stitches together and it is written in patterns as tog, eg 2dctog.

To do this we start the first stitch but we do not finish it and instead keep the last two loops on the hook like this:

L2 Decrease 1

Then we start a new stitch in the next loop along on the previous row like this:

L2 Decrease 2 When we have 3 loops on the hook we pull the yarn through to complete the job.

L2 Decrease 3

Now if you look at the stitch we have just made closely, you will see that even though there are two stitches below there is only one loop, therefor only one stitch will be crocheted in the next row.

L2 Decrease 4

So that is crocheting stitches together.

The other way to decrease is to leave out or skip (sk) a stitch entirely like this:

L2 Decrease 5

This may seem easier, but this technique is not usually used because it leaves holes.

However, in certain pattern styles, such as lace or the zig zag of Chevron where the missed stitch(es) creates a V pattern, this second decreasing stitch approach is used.

L2 Decrease 6

Any questions?

Increasing Stitches within the Row

Mimi crocheting
Mee-ow to you all. It is I, Mimi.

Today I’m going to show you how to increase stitches.

This is usually specified one of two ways in a pattern. Either inc, which is short for increase and is usually followed by a number and type of
stitch, eg inc 1 dc.

Alternatively, a pattern may specify  a number and type of stitch in the next stitch of the previous row, eg 2 dc in next st.

Both of these mean the same thing. Here is what we do.

Imagine you have a row of dcs like this.

Increase 1

And you are half way through a second line of them when the pattern tells you  “inc 1 dc” or  “2 dc in next st”.

In either case, you then make 2 stitches into the top of one stitch like this.

Increase 2

Increase 3This means that where you had one stitch in the previous row there will now be two – the original plus 1 more – in the current row.

If you are asked to increase more than 1 you just keep adding the required stitches to the same stitch in the previous row.

This same technique is also applicable if you are working in a round.

Any questions?