Ever make a hat that would only fit a giant or a sweater so tight that it would only fit a kid? If you are like me, sometimes the items made by the designers are so much cuter than mine because they knit or crochet tighter or looser than I. Sometimes this can be resolved by using larger or smaller needles and hooks to get the correct gauge. Sometimes that won’t make a difference. But not all is lost!
Tip #1: Check the gauge.
If the size will matter, make a practice swatch, or check your *gauge after you’ve started the project. It’s better to tear it out at the beginning than to finish a project you can’t give to the intended receiver! Please don’t complain to/about the designer/project if you didn’t make adjustments to match the gauge!
Sometimes projects have several parts that have to be sewn together. For some reason the underbelly of the dragons I made never matched the main part of the dragon. Because it’s a long time-intensive piece, I would hold it up to the main part to increase and decrease rows as necessary. Keep the vital parts of the project handy and compare often if you want to avoid tearing out your work (and your hair!)
Tip #3: Read reviews about the pattern.
Some patterns are listed on websites or forums that allow users to post comments. Ravelry is a great forum for seeing what others thought about a pattern. It shows the projects others have made from the project and what they thought about the pattern directions and results. A quick visual of the finished projects gives you an idea of how the pattern may generally be expected to turn out. They often show modifications people made which can inspire you as you work as well.
*Gauge is the measurement of stitches and rows. To get the size of object the pattern indicates your stitches should be the same size as the designers. If a gauge is included it will indicate how many stitches equals a certain number of inches or centimeters. It should also say how many rows equals a certain number of inches or centimeters.