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Denise Interchangeables

The Basics

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Abbreviations | Gauge and Gauge Swatches | Puncuation | Skill Levels | Standard Yarn Weight System


k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
k3tog = knit 3 stitches together
pm = place marker (spell out on first use)
p = purl
p2tog = purl 2 stitches together
p3tog = purl 3 stitches together
rnd(s) = round(s)
sk = skip
sl = slip
sm = slip marker (spell out on first use)
st(s) = stitch(es)
St st = Stockinette stitch
tbl = through back loop
wyif = with yarn in back (spell out on first use)
wyif = with yarn in front (spell out on first use)
yo = yarn over

Gauge and Gauge Swatches

Gauge is a set of measurements used to indicate how large your stitches and rows should be to achieve results similar to those achieved by the designer. These results include the size of the piece and the drape or softness of the resulting fabric. If your gauge differs significantly from the designer’s gauge your piece will be a different size, and may be stiffer or floppier than desired.

Gauge is typically given as two measurements; 1) Stitch gauge: The number of stitches in a certain number of inches, and 2) Row gauge: The number of rows in a certain number of inches. It is most common to indicate the stitch and row gauge over 4"/10cm, but it could be given over any number of inches.

To determine if you are working to the correct gauge, you can make a gauge swatch. Or, if the piece you are making is at least 4" wide to begin, you can begin making the piece, work for at least 4"/10cm and then measure your gauge over this piece.

To make a gauge swatch, use the indicated size needles, yarn, and stitch indicated in the “Gauge” section to make a small, sample piece. For example, if the gauge is: In single crochet, 12 sts and 14 rows = 4"/10cm, you want to work a piece that is at least 12 sts wide and 14 rows long. We recommend working a piece that is a bit larger than 4"/10cm. After making the small piece, lay it flat but do not stretch it. Use a ruler to measure across a row near the center of the piece and count the number of stitches in 4"/10cm. Then measure and count the number of rows in 4"/10 cm. If the number of stitches or rows is less than the number of stitches or rows given in the gauge, try again using smaller needles. If the number of stitches or rows is greater than the number of stitches or rows given in the gauge, try again using larger needles.

Important Notes:
  1. It is usually more important to achieve stitch gauge than row gauge. If you must choose, choose to achieve stitch gauge.
  2. Gauge is critical to achieve a good fit for sweaters. It is slightly less critical for hats and slippers that are designed to stretch to fit. It is even less critical for blankets, bags, toys, and scarves. If the item you are making must “fit” it is worth the time to achieve almost exactly the same gauge as the designer. If the item you are making doesn’t need to “fit”, the gauge you achieve can vary more from the designer’s gauge and still yield acceptable results.
  3. Sometimes a pattern indicates that the gauge is not critical. For such patterns, ensure that there’s not a note somewhere else indicating that you should work ‘”tightly” or ”loosely”. Such notes let you know whether the resulting fabric should be stiff (work tightly) or more flowing (work loosely).


comma ( , )
– Separates steps within an instruction.

semi-colon ( ; )
– Separates steps within an instruction. A semi-colon is used when separating larger sections within an instruction (e.g., a repetition or complex series of steps that result in completion on one advanced stitch or pattern).

parentheses ( )
– Surrounds comments that provide more detail about a step within an instruction. Examples: K2tog, yo (buttonhole made) Surrounds multiple stitches that are all to be worked into the same stitch. Examples: (k1, p1, k1) in next st. Parentheses and commas are used to separate instructions (usually the number of stitches to be worked) intended for different sizes.
Example: p3(4,5,6), bind of 3 (3, 4, 4, 5, 5) sts.

square brackets [ ]
– Surrounds steps that are to be repeated a specific number of times.
Example: [p1, k2, p3, k1] 5 times.

asterisks *, **, or ***
– Indicates where a set of repeated steps begin or end. Asterisks will be referred to in a “repeat” step.
Example: repeat from * to end of row, repeat from * to next yo, ending last repeat at **

em-dash (—)
– A lengthy dash placed at the end of an instruction. The number following the em-dash indicates the number of stitches you should have worked in that row or round.

Skill Levels

1 – Beginner
2 – Novice
3 – Intermediate

Standard Yarn Weight System

Yarn can be grouped into different weights. When substituting one yarn for another, always look for a yarn in the same weight category. There is variance within the same weight category. Swatching for gauge is the best way to check whether a yarn substitution will work well.

Yarn Weight Category Types of Yarns in Category Recommended Hook Size (Guideline only)
0 Finger, Size 10 crochet thread 1.5-2.25mm
1 Sock, fingering, baby 2.25-3.25mm
2 Sport, baby 3.25-3.75mm
3 DK (double knit), light worsted 3.75-4.5mm
4 Worsted, afghan, aran 4.5-5.5mm
5 Chunky, craft, rug 5-8mm
6 Bulky, super chunky, roving 8mm and larger