The Tool You Never Knew You Needed: Stitch Gaugecomments (2) April 17th, 2008
I’ve walked by stitch gauges at the yarn shop for years and never realized that I needed one. After all, the version I ended up buying is called a Knit Check, so I thought they were for knitters. Plus, I already had a ruler, and until recently, I hardly ever made gauge swatches.
I finally picked up one of these tools when I took a knitting class a few months ago when I finally realized that sometimes it really is easiest to make a gauge swatch first instead of frogging hours of work.
But here’s how I use the stitch gauge as a crocheter. There’s a nifty set of holes on the diagonal of this gauge that measures specific millimeter circumferences. If I’m using an unidentified hook (or one with a handle cushion slipped over the hook size), I can easily stick my hook in the holes to figure out which size it is. This also helps when you’re using different brands of hook—believe it or not, there are still some that don’t conform to “standard” sizes. Be sure to insert your hook past the throat (the place where the yarn catches on the tip of the hook) to get an accurate read.
And the best part of owning a needle gauge: the straightforward conversion of millimeters to knitting-needle and crochet-hook sizes. Some yarn labels only recommend gauges for knitting needles, and I don’t always have enough room in my brain to know that a size 9 knitting needle equals a size I hook. At a glance, the needle gauge informs me of these conversions, and it’s small enough to keep in my purse.
And then, of course, there’s the handy ruler and window for measuring your stitches row by row--super helpful if you design your own patterns. Trust me, this tool is worth the couple of bucks it costs.