Thoughts on the importance of gauge (tension) in my Tunisian crochet patterns

June 22, 2022. I’m quite honored to have been selected to be one of 24 designers who participated in the 2022 Tunisian Blanket CAL, hosted by Arunima Goel of This CAL began on January 5, 2022, and continued through the end of 2022.

For this CAL, participating designers were asked to submit a pattern for a square made with a 8.0 mm Tunisian crochet hook and worsted weight (#4 medium) yarn. The guideline for the desired gauge for each pattern submitted was 16 stitches and 12 rows in 4″ (10 cm) of Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS).

However, with my particular tension, using a 8.0 mm Tunisian hook and #4 weight yarn, my gauge is 13 stitches and 13 rows in 4″ (10 cm) of Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS). My tension is obviously different than that of many other crocheters.

In order to achieve the 16 stitches in 4″ (10 cm) requested for the CAL, I’ve had to go down to a 5.0 mm hook and one of the thinner #4 yarns. See what I mean in the photo below.

Each square above has 20 rows and 20 stitches and is worked in Caron Simply Soft #4 medium weight yarn.

The square on left measures 5.75″ x 5.75″, is made with 5.0 mm hook, for a gauge of 16 stitches x 16 rows in 4″ (10 cm) of Tunisian Simple Stitch

The square on right measures 7″ x 7″, is made with 8.0 mm hook, for a gauge of 13 stitches x 13 rows in 4″ (10 cm) of Tunisian Simple Stitch.

Several of my recent designs (such as the Striped, Mitered Coasters below) have required an equal number of stitches and rows, which is somewhat unusual for Tunisian crochet. Most people naturally work Tunisian stitches that are taller than they are wide.

I’ve practiced very diligently over the past few years to achieve a gauge that will produce a perfect square, with an equal number of stitches and rows. The reason for this is so that a border can be added on all sides and that the squares can be joined together along any side of the squares.

Because my design for the 2022 Tunisian Blanket CAL is a perfect square, with an equal number of stitches and rows, it has proven to be a challenge to design a pattern that will fit into the CAL’s suggested gauge.

“Sturdy & True Square” – Buffalo Check (Gingham) 12″ (30.5 cm) Tunisian Crochet Afghan Block
Crochet Pattern in US Terms by Cheryl Dee Floyd

Click to see full pattern on my blog.

I have watched video tutorials on Tunisian crochet and have noted that many crocheters use large hooks and very tight tension, some even using mild force to insert the hook or to pull the yarn through.

In years past, I had much tighter tension, as well. However, as I’ve gotten older and my hands have lost their youthful vigor, I’ve learned that I can crochet more comfortably with a smaller hook and a much looser tension.

I hope the participants in the CAL are adventurous enough to be willing to try using a smaller hook and to make an adjustment to your customary technique. Please consider taking the time to make practice swatches that enable you to achieve success with my patterns.

Here’s a link to my video for the Simple Tunisian Coaster that provides the theory and instructions for achieving a perfect square in Tunisian Simple Stitch by simply adjusting one’s tension.

Simple Tunisian Coaster. Written pattern available in my Etsy shop. Free video tutorial on my YouTube channel.

Please give this a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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