This Crochet Row Gauge Secret will Change Your Life

Crochet gauge can be a pain sometime – but did you know there are a variety of tips about gauge that can really help? One of them is called the Crochet Golden Loop. In this post, I’ll show you this amazing secret that can literally change your experience with gauge!

As we get started, let me tell you a quick story…

I was a young teenager, and extremely excited. I had just opened a birthday gift from my parents and found a little pattern booklet from Joann, plus all the balls of of yarn I needed to make an amazing garment pattern included.

I had tried to make garments before by just experimenting without a pattern. Those hadn’t turned out so well. But this time – this time I had a pattern, and the EXACT yarn that it called for. What could go wrong?

Unfortunately, a lot went wrong.

I took out one of the small but beautiful skeins of Patons Grace cotton yarn. By this time I knew what crochet gauge was, and I knew I needed to meet it if I wanted this garment to fit me.

But, I found myself faced with multiple problems.

First of all, the gauge just said to do a specific number of stitches and rows “in the stitch pattern.” But it didn’t specify WHAT the stitch pattern was.

After multiple tries, I finally worked out what I *thought* was the stitch, so I started making a swatch.

I went along until it measured about 4″ by 4″. Then, I got out my ruler and measured…

The Stitch Gauge was perfect! Right on point to what the pattern said. But to my dismay, the row gauge was totally off. Like, we’re talking 2-3 rows LARGER than the pattern said it could be.

I tried all the tips that you see blogs tell you to fix it. I changed my hook size multiple times. I tried to crochet tighter. But nothing helped.

Eventually, I gave up. If I couldn’t meet row gauge, I couldn’t make the pattern. If only I had known this one important secret…

What if My Row Gauge is Off?

If you’re reading this blog post, you can probably relate to that story (and YES, it really happened!) You’re probably wondering: what can I do to fix my row gauge?

The truth is, this is a very common issue. So first of all, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone! Most crocheters have had trouble with this before, or will have trouble with it at some point.

Now, before we get to the “secret” I’m going to tell you about row gauge, we need to cover a few other questions first.

How do you find the gauge of a row?

First of all, what is row gauge anyway, and how do you find it or measure it? Basically, row gauge is found by measuring a crochet swatch vertically. Just lay out your swatch and place your ruler or measuring tape on top so that it is measuring the length of your rows.

Here’s an example of measuring crochet row gauge on a double crochet swatch. In this gauge, I have obtained 7 double crochet rows in 4″. (For lots more info on swatching and measuring gauge, read this article!)

Measuring Crochet Row Gauge

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How important is row gauge anyway?

Can I tell you something that might just be life changing? Row gauge, in some cases, actually isn’t super important!

Now, before you take that and run with it, hear me correctly – it does depend on the project and the circumstance.

Row gauge doesn’t matter as much for projects where you can easily adjust the length. For example, a lot of my crochet garment patterns are made from simple rectangles. While they all include row gauge, it’s not super important to meet it, because you can easily make the panels longer or shorter as you see fit.

However, with other patterns row gauge may be a lot more important. If a pattern includes a lot of shaping, and different sections of it are different lengths, this might be a case where you DO want to pay attention to row gauge.

So here’s my point:

Evaluate whether you can just adjust length or if you need row gauge.

All you need to do is look at a pattern and figure out if row gauge is truly important. If a garment is made from simple rectangles, there’s a good chance you will be okay if your row gauge is a little off. But if you see signs of shaping or other elements that rely on length, you WILL need this.

If you determine that row gauge IS necessary for your project and you want to know how to get it right, keep reading!


Fixing Crochet Gauge HEIGHT

As you’ve probably figured out by now, row gauge is all about the height of your rows. However, it is also about the height of your stitches, since the height of your stitches will define the height of your rows.

In order to fix crochet gauge height, there is one main thing that will help:

If your crochet row Gauge is off, use the Golden Loop!

Remember the “secret” I referred to at the beginning of this post? This is it! I call it a ‘secret’ only because most people don’t know about it. The Golden Loop Method is a method that will allow you to adjust the height of your stitches in order to get an accurate row gauge. Basically, you will learn what loop in your crochet stitch affects the height – so you can change it.

What is the Golden Loop?

The Golden Loop itself is a specific part of a crochet stitch. In order to understand it, we need to dive into the anatomy of a stitch. But put into a simple definition, the golden loop is the FIRST LOOP that you pull up whenever you make a stitch.

Take a look below!

The Golden Loop in Crochet

The Anatomy of a Crochet Stitch

Now that you’ve seen the golden loop, it is important to dive into the anatomy of that double crochet stitch a little more. This will help you understand why the golden loop affects row gauge.

In the diagram below, I’ve started my double crochet but haven’t finished yet. All I’ve done is yarn over and pull up the first loop. As you can see, there are 3 different loops on my hook right now. I have:

  1. The loop that was on my hook when I finished the previous stitch. This will become the top of my new stitch.
  2. The yarn over I put over my hook before even inserting my hook into the next stitch.
  3. The first loop I pulled up after inserting my hook (the golden loop!)
The Anatomy of a Double Crochet Stitch

How is this relevant? Well, it is important to know the makeup of these stitches so you figure out how to change your row gauge. That first loop and yarn over loop are what will form the middle of your double crochet stitch.

But the first loop (the golden loop) specifically affects the height of the stitches the MOST. The height that you pull this loop up to will affect the height of your stitch – which will in turn affect your row gauge.

Change Row Gauge Based on How You Crochet

When it comes to pulling up that first loop, did you know that people actually do it in 3 different ways? That’s right. If you can understand how you naturally pull up the golden loop (and the way others do it) you can actually learn to change your row gauge!

So let’s talk about the 3 stereotypes of people who pull up the golden loop – known as “riders,” “lifters,” and “yankers.”

(Disclaimer – I don’t know who came up with these names. It wasn’t me! But I appreciate whoever did).

Crochet Riders

We’ll start with riders because this type of crocheter seems to be the most balanced 😂 What I mean by that is they generally don’t crochet super tight or super loose. Rather, they keep the their stitches “riding” along the top of the stitches from the previous row.

For riders, the golden loop is about the same size as the working loop—not bigger and not smaller. Whereas, the next 2 types of crocheters will both go to different extremes.

Crochet Riders - golden loop method

Crochet Lifters

What is a lifter? A crochet ‘lifter’ is someone who LIFTS up the golden loop up from the work. When they begin a stitch and pull up that first loop, they lift it up higher than other crocheters.

The result is that ‘lifters’ generally have TALLER stitches. The reason being, they pull that golden loop up HIGHER. If you find that your row gauge is usually way bigger than a pattern’s recommendation, it is likely that you are a lifter!

Personally, this is what I tend toward naturally. That’s why I had so much trouble with the pattern I told you about in the beginning.

Golden loop method Crochet Lifters

Crochet Yankers

Lastly, we have to talk about ‘yankers’. As you probably can guess, yankers are the opposite of lifters. Instead of pulling their golden loop up high, they yank so that it is very tight—smaller than the other working loops on their hook.

Naturally, yankers may end up with very short stitches. If you often find yourself frustrated that your row gauge is shorter than the pattern, you are probably a yanker!

Crochet Yankers - golden loop method

So What Type of Crocheter Are You?

Are you a rider, a lifter, or a yanker? I would love to hear in the comments!

But more importantly, let’s talk about how you can use this information to fix your row gauge.

  1. Recognize your natural tendency. I think it can be relief to at least know WHY your row gauge isn’t working, right? Once you realize which type of crocheter you are, you will finally know that ‘why’.
  2. Practice crocheting all 3 ways. If you can get in the habit of making your stitches taller or shorter using the golden loop, you will be able to switch between these 3 methods when your row gauge is off!
  3. Think about whether or not you switch between these methods naturally depending on your mood. For example, maybe when you’re stressed, you tend to yank, but when you’re relaxed, you lift. This is just something to look out for!

Final Thoughts

Row gauge can be a pain. I know that from personal experience. But hopefully this post has help you understand when it is necessary and when you need to use the golden loop to fix it! If you have questions about anything, feel free to comment below so I can help.

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Happy Crocheting!

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