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Learn to crochet

Here's just the help you need when trying to decipher crochet diagrams and written instructions, as well as detailed instructions for constructing of these topics have links to other relevant topics, too—so be sure to explore!

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  • Ultimate Guide to Hairpin Lace Crochet

    Hairpin lace is a beautiful variation on crochet, in which you combine a standard crochet hook with a certain type of loom to create lacy, openwork designs. Once you've seen hairpin lace, you will always immediately recognize it, because it has a very unique appearance that never fails to catch the eye.

    Hairpin Lace Tools

    hairpin_lace_tools

    Most crochet techniques don't require the purchase of any special tools, but hairpin lace is a little bit different. You will be able to use the crochet hooks that you already have, but you will also have to get your hands on a hairpin lace loom. You can purchase an adjustable hairpin lace loom, which basically looks like two vertical dowels held together by two horizontal dowels (sometimes called cross bars) that each have holes across them. You can place the vertical dowels into different holes in the horizontal pieces to change the width between the verticals; this is what makes it adjustable. A typical hairpin lace loom is about one foot long and can be adjusted to various widths between 1" and 4".

    hairpin_lace_tools_2

    Fun fact: Back in the Victorian era, before hairpin lace looms, this technique was done on women's U-shaped hairpins, and that is where the name comes from. According to Stitch Story, hairpin lace may have been invented by Katherine of Aragon and was also once known as Kat Stitch. Over time it has also been called French Ground, Wire Ground and Six Pointed Star Ground Stitch. Cami at Crochet Spot says it may also have been called Turkish firkete, Staple Work, and Fork Work. 

    Understanding Hairpin Lace Crochet

    crochet_hairpin_lace

    Once you get a feel for what a hairpin lace loom is all about, it will help you to understand what this whole technique is all about. You are going to be crocheting around the two vertical dowels, with the space between them determining the width of your hairpin lace stitches. This creates very long open horizontal stitches, held together by a ribbing in the center, which you create with your crochet hook (making chain and single crochet stitches). Don't worry if this doesn't all make sense, yet. We are just laying the groundwork to help you understand it all but next we will look at the exact steps hairpin lace crochet work.

    Here are a few other things to know about hairpin lace before we begin:

    • You work with a crochet hook and a loom, and you will be removing the crochet hook from the work at times, slipping it out of the loop, moving it to the back of the work and re-inserting it.
    • You will be rotating the hairpin lace loom towards you throughout the process. (This is why you have to remove the crochet hook, otherwise it gets tangled in the turning process.)
    • Hairpin lace is worked in strips; the strips are joined together to create bigger projects.

    Finally, a note about gauge. Crochet designers use different guides to gauge in hairpin lace. Some will simply refer to the width of the strips, such as 2", which will generally work out fine assuming that you set your hairpin loom correctly. However, others will refer to gauge based on a vertical length. In hairpin lace, you use single crochet stitches at the center of each loop (which you'll learn how to do momentarily) so a pattern might say that the gauge is x sc = y in; (for example, 10 single crochet stitches = 4" vertically). If you are working with wearables where gauge matters, be sure to pay attention to the designer's way of describing it.

    How to Crochet Hairpin Lace

    Before you begin, you're going to need to get your hairpin loom ready. Set it to the proper width, which should be stated in the crochet pattern that you are using. Now, you need to get your yarn onto the loom. Remove one of the horizontal bars. Attach a slip loop to the left vertical bar. You should make this a loose loop, measuring approximately 1/2 the width of the loom; so if you have your adjustable loom set at 4" then your loop will be 2". Replace the horizontal bar once you've attached this loop to your left vertical bar. You're ready to go. Note: These are instructions from right-handed crocheters. You'll simply reverse it for left-handed crochet, putting your loop on the right vertical dowel, instead of the left and reversing the instructions below similarly.

    hairpin_lace_slip_knot

    Basic Hairpin Lace Instructions

    hairpin lace instructions

    Instructions from Woman's Hairpin Lace Shawl free crochet pattern

    Here are the step-by-step instructions to crochet hairpin lace. (Note that the steps here are numbered differently than the above graphic. Step one in the graphic correlates to the "before you begin" section above.

    1. Bring the yarn around the right side of the loom, across the back.
    hairpin_lace_1

    2. Insert your hook into the loop, and pull up until your slip knot has moved to the center, between the two vertical bars (Note that this is where your slip knot should clearly be half the width of the loom; you can adjust it now if necessary.)

    3. Yarn over. Draw through loop. Chain one. hairpin_lace_2

    4. Remove your crochet hook from the loop. Re-insert your crochet hook into the loop from the back. Note: you can also keep the hook in the work, passing the hook to the back through the loom. This is easier to do once you've practiced the other method and get a solid understanding of how this stitch works. The point is that the hook has to be behind the loom now.

    hairpin_lace_4

    5. Rotate the loom from right to left (towards you), bringing the yarn around the back of the loom as you turn.

    6. Chain one.

    hairpin_lace_3

    7. Single crochet in front loop, just left of the center stitches.

    hairpin_lace_sc_1

    (The point here is that you are crocheting your sc into the loop, not into the previous sc), so you will insert your hook to the left of the center stitches inside the loop, yarn over and pull through both loops on hook.

    Here is another look at all of the steps:

    hairpin lace steps 1-2 hairpin lace steps 3-4 hairpin lace steps 5-6

    Instructions from Waverly Place Throw free crochet pattern

    Finishing Hairpin Lace Strips

    crochet_hairpin_lace

    At this point, you've created your first hairpin lace loop. After that, it's just a matter of repeating the process until you have as many loops as you need on your loom (repeating steps 4-7). Let's summarize: Each time you will remove the hook from the work, moving it to the back of the loom to re-insert it, then you will turn the loom right-to-left. This means that you will always be creating new loops on the right-hand vertical (but it will alternate sides and grow accordingly from side-to-side because you turn the loom each time). After the turn, you complete the chain one and single crochet, remove the hook and begin again. Once you get the hang of it, this is a really easy, soothing, repetitive motion ... and that's almost all there is to Hairpin Lace!

    However, before you complete your project, you will need to finish the hairpin lace strips. Your hairpin lace loops are held together in the center by the single crochet stitches that you used to make them, but they are going to be pretty floppy so finished strips typically have an edging all the way around them that holds those loops together. The edging will vary from project to project, based on the designer's specifications. Typically it involves joining several loops together with single crochet or other basic crochet stitches. For example, you might single crochet the loops together in batches of three, with chain stitches between each batch to maintain the correct length of the strip. Your pattern will provide specifics.

    When you get more advanced in the art of hairpin lace, you will learn that there are different ways that you can position the loops as you join them. In standard joining, you'll just join them as they are, but you can also make twisted loops with single and double twists in them, creating some really neat effects. Stitch Diva has some good photos of the different options. hairpin_lace_guide

    Guide line yarn to hold the loops together before removing them from loom

    Note: Some patterns will tell you to leave the loops on the loom, removing each set only as you stitch them together. Others will have you remove them all off of the loom first, then stitch them together. Some will even have you remove all of them but not before running a long length of yarn (called a guide line) through them (on each side) to keep them in order and untangled. You can play around with different options to see which works best for you.

    Learn better by video? Kristin Omdahl has a hairpin lace crochet video tutorial to help you get started.

    Crochet Hairpin Lace Tips

    hairpin_lace_off_loom

    Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you continue to work with hairpin lace:

    • Each loop has a left and right side, so there should always be the same number of loops on the left as there are on the right. (If a pattern says that you should make 200 loops, that means 200 full loops so 200 on the right, 200 on the left - unless otherwise specified.)
    • You will want to count your loops frequently, especially as a beginner, to make sure that you're on track, because it is easy to get lost and have less on one side than the other. If you are working a project with a lot of loops, you can use a stitch counter to mark off ever ten or twenty so that you can easily count them.
    • You usually want to avoid joining yarn in the middle of a strip. These loops are very open and lacy so it's just not that easy to hide your ends (unless you know how to do an invisible join). When possible, begin strips with a new ball of yarn or enough yardage to complete the entire strip.
    • If you are working long strips of hairpin lace, your loom will probably fill up with loops. That's okay; just slide all of them except the last three or four (by removing the bottom horizontal cross bar, sliding them off and replacing the bar). Then just continue working.
    • What if you want to work in the round? In hairpin lace, there's no "in the round" per se; you still just work your regular strips of hairpin lace. The "round" is all in how you do the joining, creating a circular or tube shape per the instructions of the pattern.

    Hairpin Lace Crochet Patterns

    hairpin lace shawl WR1650

    Woman's Hairpin Lace Shawl

    LW2200 Hairpin Lace Flowers Scarf

    Hairpin Lace Flowers Scarf

    hairpin lace vest LW3311

    Hairpin Lace Vest

    hairpin lace throw LW2736

    Waverly Place Throw

    by Kathryn Vercillo

  • How to Crochet a Foundation Chain

    Almost all crochet begins with a foundation chain, which is a series of chain stitches beginning with a slip knot. You then work the first row of other stitches into the chain to start making crochet fabric. The foundation chain is also called a base chain or starting chain.

    To work a foundation chain, start by making slip knot and then chaining as many stitches as the pattern calls for.

    Next, start working stitches into the chain. You can use single crochets, half double crochets, double crochets, or any combination the pattern tells you to use.

    When working into the starting chain, you may work under one or two strands of chain loops as shown in the illustration. Either of these methods forms an even, firm bottom edge.

    Some people like to work into the "bump" on the back of the chain. This forms an even, stretchy bottom edge that is ideal for garments. It also produces an edge that looks more similar to the final edge of your project, making it useful for projects where both ends are exposed, such as scarves.

    Whichever method of working into the foundation you choose, be consistent. Work all the pieces of a project in the same manner.

    Below: LW4779 Easy Shadows Cowl Crochet Pattern

  • How to Crochet Clusters

    by Kathryn Vercillo

    Crochet cluster stitch is very similar to bobble stitch in that you will crochet a series of stitches, one after the other, leaving the last loop of each unfinished until the very end, when you will secure it all closed to create a single stitch. The difference is that bobble stitches are all worked into the same stitch whereas cluster stitches are worked into individual, usually subsequent stitches. Be sure to read the instructions carefully to see how and where the hook should be inserted for each "leg" of the cluster. The "legs" can be worked over adjacent stitches, or stitches can be skipped in between the "legs". Here is how to work a 5 dc cluster stitch:

    Double crochet into the stitch where you are going to start your cluster BUT leave the final loop on the hook. The steps to do this are: Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull through (three loops on hook), yarn over and pull through 2 of the loops. Note that to complete the double crochet you would yarn over again and pull through the last two loops, but you are skipping that step here.

    Repeat the sequence into each of the next four stitches.

    Yarn over and pull through all five stitches.

    Note: in many of the other stitch variations, there is now the option to chain one to further secure the stitch closed. This is almost never used in cluster stitch but check your pattern instructions to be sure.

    Once you work a cluster stitch, you may notice that it seems familiar. That's because clusters are used for decreasing. A 2 dc cluster is the exact same thing as a standard double crochet decrease, also called double crochet 2 together or dc2tog. A cluster may, therefore, sometimes be abbreviated as "cluster stitch" but may be abbreviated "dc5tog" (or however many stitches you are working together). Cluster stitches are used for the decreasing in Chevron Crochet.

    Clusters can be worked in single crochet, half double crochetdouble crochettreble crochet, or longer stitches. Here are some more examples:

    Cluster made of 5 sc

    Cluster made of 5 dtr

    Double Woven Throw uses a 2 hdc cluster

    Cluster Stitch Wrap is a great example of how a designer might have different names for the stitch than you're used to. This pattern uses dc2tog and dc3tog, which are clusters. It also has what is called a cluster, but all of the stitches are worked in the same space so it's really a bobble!

    Any combination of stitches may be joined into a cluster by leaving the last loop of each stitch on the hook until they are worked off together at the end. Working stitches together in this way can also be a method of decreasing.

    Three Double Crochet Cluster

    (Work over adjacent number of stitches specified in instruction.)

    1. Work a double crochet into each of the next three stitches, holding the last loop of each double crochet on the hook.

    2. Yarn over and pull the yarn through all four loops on the hook.

    Below: LW4887 Flower Cloche Free Crochet Pattern

  • How to Crochet Bobbles

    by Kathryn Vercillo

    Bobble crochet stitch is similar to popcorn stitch in that you work all of the stitches into the same loop and secure them at the top. However, the stitches will not be fully complete as you work, and you will join them at the end without removing your hook from the work (in contrast to what would be done in popcorn stitch). Below are photographs and some illustrations for how to work a 5 dc bobble stitch.

    Double crochet into the stitch where you are going to make your popcorn BUT leave the final loop on the hook. The steps to do this are: Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull through (three loops on hook), yarn over and pull through 2 of the loops. Note that to complete the double crochet you would yarn over again and pull through the last two loops, but you are skipping that step here.

    Repeat the previous step four more times so that you have five not-quite-complete dc stitches worked into the same stitch. There will be six loops on the hook.

    Yarn over and pull through all six loops. This closes your bobble crochet stitch.

    Optional: Chain one. This step is used to secure the top of the bobble closed. Not all patterns call for this so be sure to check your instructions.

    Bobbles can be worked in single crochet, double crochettreble crochet, or longer stitches. Here are more examples:

    Bobble made with 5 dtr

    Dottie Throw uses a 3 sc bobble

    Below: LW4183 Just Like Mom Cowl Crochet Pattern

  • How to Increase in Crochet

    To increase the width of a basic crochet fabric, 2 or more stitches have to be worked into 1 stitch at the point specified in the project instructions.

    Single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, and longer stitches are all increased in the same manner.

    There is no specific abbreviation for a crochet increase. Patterns will usually give instructions similar to "2 sc in the next sc", to indicate you will work two single crochet stitches in the next single crochet stitch, and thereby increase.

    Single Crochet Increase

    1. Work a single crochet into the specified stitch.

    2. Work a second single crochet into the same stitch.

    Double Crochet Increase

    Work a double crochet increase in the same way you work a single crochet increase.

    Below: LW4811 Daisy Garden Blanket Crochet Pattern

  • How to Crochet in Front or Back Loops

    The project instructions will specify if you are to work into the front or back loop of the stitch in the row below. Unless otherwise stated, always work under two strands of the top of the stitch in the row below.

    Below: LW5046 Charming Camo Cowl Free Crochet Pattern

  • How to Make Crochet Fabric

    To make a flat crocheted fabric worked in rows, you must begin with a starting chain. The length of the starting chain is the number of stitches needed for the first row of fabric plus the number of chains needed to get to the correct height of the first stitch used in the first row.

    When working in rows, right-handers work from right to left and left-handers work from left to right, turning the work at the end of each row.

    One or more chains are worked at the beginning of each row (or joined round) to bring the hook up to the height of the first stitch in the row. The number of chains used for turning (called a turning chain in patterns) will depend upon the height of the stitch they are to match.

    single crochet = 1 chain

    half double crochet = 2 chains

    double crochet = 3 chains

    treble crochet = 4 chains

    When working half double crochet or other longer stitches, the turning chain usually counts as the first stitch (the project instructions will let you know if the turning chains are not considered a stitch). When one chain is worked at the beginning of a row starting with a single crochet stitch, it is usually for height only and is made in addition to the first stitch.

    Below: LW4773 Cabled Hat with Pompom Free Crochet Pattern

  • How to Measure Crochet Gauge

    Gauge is the number of stitches and rows per inch (or centimeter) in a pattern. If the gauge does not match the gauge given in a pattern, the item you're making will not end up the correct size.

    A gauge swatch is a small sample of your pattern that you make before starting the main item. It allows you to measure the gauge, so you can make sure that you will not run out of yarn and the finished item will be the size you want it to be. Not matching gauge isn't as important for something like a dishcloth or a bag, but for garments and accessories the wrong gauge could mean the finished item is too small to put on or fit for giant.

    How to Crochet a Gauge Swatch

    When crocheting a gauge swatch, always work with the same yarn you're using for the main item. Chain enough stitches for your swatch to be 5-6 inches [12.5-15.25 cm] across, and crochet enough rows to make a square. Work in the same pattern that the gauge calls for. If different gauges are given for different stitch patterns, make sure you make a swatch for each stitch pattern. If no pattern is given for the gauge, work in whatever the main stitch for the item is. If the pattern calls for multiple sizes of hooks, use the size mentioned in the gauge.

    Sometimes the gauge is given in pattern repeats. For example, for a ripple pattern, the gauge may say that from one point to another point of the ripple is 5" [12.5 cm].

    For patterns made of individual pieces, the gauge might be given as the size of a finished piece. For example, a throw made of squares might give the gauge as the finished size of a square.

    Other times, instead of a gauge, there may just be a note that the gauge is not important for the project. If you're making a Scrubby dishcloth for example, it doesn't matter if the finished item is exactly the correct size, or uses slightly more of the ball of Scrubby.

    How to Measure a Gauge Swatch

    After completing your gauge swatch, place it on a flat, hard surface with good lighting. Use a ruler or gauge measuring device like the Susan Bates® Knit-Chek or Susan Bates® Gauge Grabbers to count the number of rows and stitches in the number of inches given in the pattern gauge. The best practice is to count over 4", but some gauges call for 2" or 1", especially if the yarn is very thin. The gauge swatch should be larger than the area you need to measure, so you can just use the interior stitches to measure your gauge. Remember, half-stitches count too!

    What if my gauge doesn’t match the pattern gauge?

    Unless you crochet with the exact same tension as the designer, your gauge won’t exactly match up with the pattern gauge using the same yarn and hook or needle size. This is normal! To make your gauge match, choose a different hook size.

    If you have more stitches and rows per inch than the pattern calls for, use a larger size hook.

    If you have fewer stitches and rows per inch than the pattern calls for, use a smaller size hook.

    Example: Love-to-Wear Sweater

    Love-to-Wear Sweater Free Crochet Pattern LW4903

    For this sweater, the gauge is 15 dc = 4” [10 cm] and 12 rows = 4” [10 cm] in single crochet and double crochet pattern. Consider size Medium, which has a finished bust measurement of 40”. If you have 14 stitches in 4” [10 cm], instead of the 15 called for by the pattern, you will end up with a finished sweater with a bust measurement of almost 43” – much too big! Conversely, if you have 16 stitches in 4” [10 cm], you will have a finished sweater measuring 37 1/2” – way too tight!

    Uses for Gauge Swatch

    Treat your gauge swatch the way you would treat your finished item: block it and wash it to make sure you know how to take care of your work when it is complete. You may find that wants to stretch some when washed, for example, and you must carefully lay it flat to dry.

    When you’ve finished your item and don’t need the gauge swatch anymore, recycle it! Combine it with other swatches to make pillows, bags, afghans….whatever you can envision! Make sure you only use it in projects with similar yarns, so the care instructions will be the same throughout all parts of the project.

  • How to Fasten Off Crochet

    To fasten off the yarn permanently, cut the yarn leaving an 8" end (longer if you need to sew pieces together). Pull the end of the yarn through the loop on the hook and pull gently to tighten.

    Below: LW3276 By the Sea Throw Crochet Pattern

  • How to Crochet Popcorns

    by Kathryn Vercillo

    Once you learn the basic crochet shell stitch, you are well on your way to being able to make popcorn stitches. The process starts the same: you crochet all of the stitches into the same stitch. The difference is that you will join them at the top. Here's how it's done, using the 5 dc popcorn stitch as an example. If you prefer illustrations to photographs, the last two steps of this sequence also have illustrations of the same steps.

    Double crochet into the stitch where you are going to make your popcorn.

    4 more dc into the same stitch. Note that at this stage you have created a 5 dc shell stitch.

    Now, remove the hook from the working loop that is at the top of the last double crochet stitch.

    Re-insert the hook from front to back into the top of the first double crochet in the group.

    Pick up the working loop that you left on the 5th double crochet stitch.

    Pull it through the top of the 1st double crochet stitch to close the entire group.

    Optional: Chain one. This step is used to secure the top of the popcorn closed. Not all patterns call for this so be sure to check your instructions.

    Popcorns can be worked in single crochet, half double crochetdouble crochettreble crochet, or longer stitches. Here are a couple of examples:

    Popcorn made with 6 hdc

    Popcorn made with 3 dtr stitches

    The Popcorn Square in the Checkerboard Textures Throw uses 4 dc

    The Aran Hearts Throw uses a popcorn of 4 sc

    Below: LW2998 Forever Flowers Crochet Pattern

  • How to Finish a Crochet Project

    After you fasten off, you will want to finish your crochet project to create a polished appearance. The time and care it takes to knit a project will be wasted if the finishing is sloopy; good finishing is the difference between "homemade" and "hand-made". Finishing methods depend largely on the end purpose of the project (pillow, afghan, garment) and the yarn you use to create the piece.

    Almost all crochet projects will require the ends of the yarn to be woven in securely so the project will not come undone. There are multiple methods depending on the project type and the yarn used.

    Depending on the yarn, you may need to block your work. Unless otherwise instructed in the pattern, you should always weave in your ends before you block, and block before you assemble the finished item. Blocking is less necessary with man-made fibers than with natural fibers.

    Projects that were made in pieces will need to be assembled. For example, you may attach the sleeves on a sweater or add a a flower applique to a hat. While the assembly can be done as you make the project on some patterns, on others you will need to attach the pieces together at the end either through sewing or crocheting them together.

    Other finishing steps that may be taken include adding borders, adding buttons or ties, or working embroidery on the piece.

    Below: LW4616 April Showers Throw Free Crochet Pattern

  • How to Assemble Crochet Projects

    There are multiple ways to attach crocheted pieces together. You may need to attach pieces of a sweater, for example, or attach blocks together to make a throw.

    The three common ways to attach crochet pieces are sewn seams, crocheted seams, and Join-As-You-Go techniques. You can go to the Ultimte Guide to Join-As-You-Go Crochet to learn more about those techniques.

    Assembling a project has two components: placing the pieces together so they are correctly lined up, and attaching them. Patterns may give instructions on the suggested way to attach pieces together, but often will not give detailed notes on lining them up.

    If you are attaching pieces that are the same size and stitch count, you can line up the stitches so they are in pairs, and then attach each stitch to its paired stitch. If you are attaching pieces that are slightly different, such as a flat piece and a curved piece, or the end of a piece to the side of another piece, you may want to pin the pieces together before you start so they line up neatly. Pinning pieces is also recommended for larger pieces. Pinning helps keep on side from being stretched out or the seam from being uneven.

    Regular sewing pins often will not work with crocheted pieces, since the yarn is too thick and the existing spaces are too big. Instead, use Knit Klips or Stitchpins (locking stitch markers).

    A pattern may call for a particular method of attaching pieces together, or it may just say to attach them or to sew them. Use whichever method you are comfortable with and that gives you a seam you are happy with. You may want the seam to be invisible, or you may decide you like it as a design feature and want it to be obvious. Using the same color yarn as the project is made in will help the seam to be invisible. Generally projects are sewn together using the same yarn they were made with. If a yarn is very bulky or textured, use a finer, smooth yarn in a matching color to attach them.

    In this video Marly Bird shows you three ways to sew crochet seams with variations of crochet mattress stitch.

    Another way to seam crochet is to whipstitch pieces together. This technique is especially suited for attaching the ends of two pieces together. Place the pieces edge to edge with the wrong sides facing up, and go from one side to the other side repeatedly, always in the same direction. Working in the front loop of one side and the back loop of the other side, as shown in the picture, will help make the seam more invisible.

    Another common method is to crochet the pieces together, either with a slip stitch seam or with a single crochet

    Below: LW4629 Squared Side Throw Free Crochet Pattern

  • A Quick Guide to Color Pooling

    by Janice Ogata and Margaret Eckman

    Have you ever truly wanted to feel like a magician with your crochet hooks? Well now you can! Get ready to amaze your friends, and family when you play with variegated yarn. Red Heart Super Saver comes in a vast array of colors to try out this technique. Color pooling (also called yarn pooling) has taken the internet by storm! There are videos, a group on Facebook completely dedicated to it, and it seems everyone is trying it. So jump on this bandwagon, get out your favorite multicolored yarn, and give it a try.

    Getting Started

    Crochet Planned Pooling Tutorial with Marly Bird



    10 Secrets to Perfect Planned Pooling Crochet

    Finishing the Unused Foundation Chain from Crochet Planned Pooling

    How to Create Crochet Planned Pooling Charts

     

    Here's what you will need:

    • Multicolored yarn without super-short repeats -- view below for suggested yarns
    • A crochet hook that works with the yarn -- 4mm/US G-6, 4.5mm/US 7, 5mm/US H-8, 5.5mm/US I-9 are common sizes that work with worsted weight yarn
    • A darning needle
    • Some scissors
    The yarn you use should change color after several inches, have consistent lengths of colors, and have a consistent color repeat. When it changes color too quickly, if the colors are very different lengths, or the colors repeat in a random order, the pooling doesn't happen. When you use Super Saver, choose a multicolor that doesn't have "print" in its name, as those yarns change color very quickly. Look on the outside of the skein to see if each individual color is about the same length as the other colors; it doesn't need to be identical, but close to the same length.

    Here you can see the color 784 Bonbon Print on the left, the color 3944 Macaw in the middle, and the color 3955 Wildflower on the right. Since Bonbon Print changes color every stitch, you can't get the pooling effect. Since Macaw has a random color repeat and the colors are different lengths, pooling doesn't happen. Wildflower pools because it has several inches of each color, each color is about the same length as the color next to it, and has a consistent color repeat.

    The magic happens when you use a multiple of 2 and the moss stitch (also called the linen stitch). Here's where the fun begins! Since each person is unique and crochets with a different tension, you'll have to play with your hooks and yarn to get a pattern to emerge. Don't give up! These samples took me 4 days and many attempts, but you can see there are patterns within the colors. For all the samples I used a size H hook.

    This is such a neat technique that you'll want to go out and buy all the variegated yarn you can find, just to discover the patterns. Have fun, and remember all you have to do is use a multiple of 2 for your chain, and play with your tension, and hooks, and make the magic happen!

    The basic pattern is the same for all of the swatches, but the number of the starting chain changes. You will need to experiment to find the hook size and starting chain that gives you the yarn pooling pattern plus a fabric you are happy with.

    Basic Pattern

    How to Crochet Moss Stitch

    Notes

    • Always chain an even number, or the moss stitch will not work properly.
    • You will make two chains at the end of each row instead of one chain. One of the two chains is a turning chain as normal and does not count as a stitch, while the other chain counts as the first stitch.
    • Start with a 5mm/US H-8 or a 5.5mm/US I-9 hook and adjust as necessary for the pooling to happen. Keep in mind what you're using your project for, and along with the color make sure your fabric isn't too stiff or loose for the intended purpose.
    • If your project requires multiple skeins, make sure you use the same dye lot.

    Chain an even number.
    Row 1: Single crochet (sc) into the 4th chain from hook, *chain (ch) 1, skip one ch, sc into the next ch. Repeat from * across.
    Row 2: Ch 2 to turn. Sc into the first ch space, ch 1, skip one sc, sc into the next ch space. Repeat from * across.
    Repeat Row 2 until the piece is as long as you would like.

    Each of the following swatches are made in Super Saver.

    928 Earth and Sky 979 Mistletoe 972 Pink Camo

    Advanced Patterns

    Planned pooling can be done with other stitches as well!

    Marly Bird features instructions on her site on Granny Stitch Planned Pooling Crochet, written by Rocky from RockinLola.

    To design your own larger planned pooling project, or to work a project such as the Planned Pooling Argyle Throw or Blanket, you'll need to have multiple instances of the color sequence in one row. Brenda-Leigh explains how to manage this with her article Multiple Sequence Planned Pooling Crochet on Marly's website.

    Patterns

    Jump Into Color Pooling Free Lookbook

    Jump Into Color Pooling Free Lookbook

    Patterns featured in the book include:
    Planned Pooling Argyle Poncho
    Planned Pooling Scarf
    Planned Pooling Argyle Throw or Blanket
    Planned Pooling Pullover
    Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers
    Planned Pooling Argyle Hat
    Planned Pooling Argyle Cowl
    Planned Pooling Argyle Pillow
    Planned Pooling Argyle Table Runner

    Additional Resources and Colors

    Here are some additional resources on color pooling. These are not a definitive list, but some other pages that might be useful to you.
    Glamour 4 You post
    ELK Studio post about color pooling in the round
    Naztazia's planned pooling blanket and scarf, with written pattern and video
    Marly Bird's Facebook Live video
    Planned Pooling with Crochet Facebook group
    Planned Color Pooling Pinterest board

    Here are some of our colors that often work for planned pooling. You will have to experiment with the yarn to find what works; just because a yarn is on this list does not automatically mean you will be able to have it pool the way you want to.

    E300 Super Saver

    • 301 Mirage
    • 392 Wedgewood
    • 3934 Day Glow
    • 3943 Americana
    • 3947 Bright Mix
    • 3949 Reef
    • 3952 Icelandic
    • 3955 Wildflower
    • 3957 Neon Stripes
    • 3958 Antique
    • 3985 Sunrise
    • 906 Heartfelt
    • 928 Earth & Sky
    • 932 Zebra
    • 938 Stars & Stripes
    • 940 Plum Pudding
    • 950 Mexicana
    • 961 Woodsy
    • 972 Pink Camo
    • 979 Mistletoe
    • 981 Fall
    • 984 Shaded Dusk
    • 988 Platoon
    • 995 Ocean
    • 996 French Country
    E400 With Love
    • 1816 Waterlily
    • 1933 Echo
    • 1934 Autumn
    • 1937 Deep Blues
    • 1938 Beachy
    • 1942 Plum Jam
    • 1944 Fruit Punch
    • 1948 Lavender Ivy
    • 1957 Lemon Drop
    • 1968 Delightful

  • How to Read Crochet Diagrams

    Diagrams are read exactly as the crochet is worked. Each stitch is represented by a symbol that has been drawn to resemble its crocheted equivalent. The position of the symbol shows where the stitch should be placed and worked.

    Stitch symbols are drawn and laid out as realistically as possible, but there are times when they have to be distorted for the sake of clarity. For example, stitches may look extra long to show clearly where they are to be placed, but you should not try to match the chart by making elongated stitches. Crochet each stitch as you normally would.

    The number of strokes crossing the stems of stitches longer than a half double crochet represents the number of times the yarn is wrapped over the hook before the hook is inserted into the work.

    Right Side and Wrong Side Rows

    Where the work is turned after each row, only alternate rows are worked with the right side of the work facing. These "right side rows" are printed in black on stitch diagrams and read from right to left. Wrong side rows are printed in a different color (usually blue) and read from left to right. Row numbers are shown at the side of the diagrams at the beginning of the row.

    Patterns worked in rounds have right side rows facing on every round—alternate rounds are printed in blue and black.

    Diagram source: Craft Yarn Council's www.YarnStandards.com

    Download the Sidewalk Shawl pattern to see a written pattern and its matching diagram, then use the video below if you need any help understanding it.

    Below: LW4705 Sidewalk Shawl Free Crochet Pattern

  • How to Read a Crochet Pattern

    Before picking up the hook and yarn, sit down and read through the pattern you will be using. Patterns are written in a language of their own, and this will help you become familiar with special stitches and abbreviations. Although not all publications use the same abbreviations, the terminology will become familiar with a read-through.

    In the middle of the PDF is the photo of the project, the name of the pattern, and a short description of the pattern. The information starts in the column to the left of the photo, skips over the photo, and continues in the column to the right of the photo.

    In the top of the left-hand column, there will be a number identifying the pattern. You can search for these numbers on the website to find patterns, or reference them if you contact Consumer Services with a question.

    Under the pattern number is a bar telling the skill level of the project, following a standardized system. Next follows the type of pattern, such as knitting or crochet, and then the designer.

    After the introductionary information is the list of the supplies you will need to make the pattern. These supplies include the yarn line, colors used in to make the project in the picture, and amount of each color, as well as the hook size or sizes and any other materials you will need. You can always change the color used in a pattern to another color that works better for you or your recipient.

    After the supplies section will be the gauge. You can read our guide to learn more about what gauge is and how to find it. Sometimes the section just says that gauge is not important. Craft projects will not list a gauge, because it does not apply.

    Next will be the size of the project. Occasionally the size depends entirely on how you make it, such as for many craft projects, and so will be left off. Projects that have only a single size, such as a throw or a scarf, will just list the dimensions of the finished item. If a project can have multiple sizes and multiple measurements, they will all be listed in order.

    If a pattern has multiple sizes, there will be a note with the measurements that tell you how the instructions are written. For example, for the Cabled Hat with Pompom, there is a note by the instructions that says "Directions are for size Small; changes for sizes Medium and Large are in parentheses." When you look next to the note, you will see that the sizing is listed as "Hat measures 18 (20, 22)” [45.5 (51, 56) cm] circumference at brim." In this case, the small fits a head that is 18" or 45.5 cm around, the medium fits a head that is 20" or 51 cm around, and the large fits a head that is 22" or 56 cm around.

    The note next to the measurements also applies to the written pattern itself. The pattern has sections for just one size, such as "Size Small only". Towards the end of the pattern, there are notes to "sc in next 5 (6, 7) sts". This means you will work single crochets in the next 5 stitches if you are making a size small, the next 6 stitches if you are making a size meduim, and the next 7 stitches if you are making the size large.

    In Red Heart patterns, the common abbreviations used in a particular pattern are listed at the end of that pattern. Less-common abbreviations are explained at the top of the pattern, before you get started making the project. Special stitches are also explained at the top of the pattern, such as a stitch pattern used in the project. Read our guide to learn more about pattern repeats and multiples.

    Below: LW4699 Seaside Pillow Free Crochet Pattern