Compare your resulting tension to that recommended in the pattern. If your swatch has more stitches and rows, you are working too tightly and need to try a larger hook size. If your swatch has fewer stitches and rows, you are working too loosely and should try a smaller hook size.
You may need to make a couple of swatches using different hooks before you achieve the tension required for your project, but this is much better than completing the project and then realising your tension is wrong. As an example, below are three swatches, each worked in the same DK cotton yarn, with 10 treble stitches and 5 rows. The first swatch uses a 3. The second swatch uses a 4mm hook and measures approx 6cm wide by 6.
The third swatch uses a 4. These are only small differences but they have a big effect over a big project. In some circumstances, a garment pattern may ask you to increase by 20 stitches at the beginning and end of the row. You can do this by adding a chain, like your starting chain.
So complete the previous row and without fastening off, chain 20 At the end of chain, turn, and work back along it in your stitch pattern At the other end of the row, you can use the Foundation Row method to add more stitches. Or secure the working loop with a stitch marker and use another ball of yarn to work the 20 chains 03 , then work stitches into these chains 04 — this will allow you to continue the row without fastening off.
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