Tag Archives: graphghan

+1 Anyone?

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com +1 AnyoneI get asked a lot of interesting questions about crochet and today a really great one came my way that I thought would be perfect to share right here on the blog!

HodgePodge Fan Writes:

I’m trying my first graphghan and I am a little confused as to how to begin. My foundation chain calls for 150 stitches. I am supposed to put +1 for the turning chain which makes 151. Right?

Well, Row 1 is the same exact stitches…shouldn’t it be 1 less…150 and not 151? Your help would be greatly appreciated!

That’s a great question because foundation chains and + amounts confuse a lot of crocheters. When creating something with so many chains, it is so important to get right because you don’t want to have to frog that much yarn.

Here is the skinny on + amounts in foundation chains.

Sometimes a pattern will tell you that the skipped chain(s) count as whatever stitch you are working for row 1. Most of the times, the skipped chains are there because they take the place of a stitch in the pattern and are important for the multiple to work correctly. For example:

Chain 20

Row 1: DC in 4th chain from hook (skipped chains count as dc)…

In this pattern, you would include the skipped 3 chains in the foundation as a dc stitch when you get back to this end in row 2 of your pattern. Generally, the pattern will tell you to work into the turning chain (this is the + amount of your foundation or the 3 skipped chains)

When you are working a graphghan, the skipped chain does not count. Most patterns won’t really tell you that but generally what this means is that you will not be crocheting into it on the way back in row 2. Adding a +1 means you will end with the exact number of stitches you need. In the case of the question above, that means 150 sc.

If you were to leave out that critical +1 when crocheting the foundation chain of 150 sts, when you get to the end you would have 149 sc. (Not including the skipped chain.) Your graphghan would be off by one stitch. That’s not a huge deal if your edges are all a solid color but if your pattern takes the design all the way out to the edge, something is going to go awry!

If you’d like to include the skipped chain (meaning you will crochet into it when you finish row 2) then you will have 150 sts but you might also end up with a pinched foundation that throws your corners off as your blanket grows. It might not be noticeable at first but you’ll see it as you get 10+ rows in.

If you’d like to see what I mean (but on a smaller scale) you can try two test swatches in a solid color. Here is how:

Test One: +1 Included:

With any hook and worsted yarn:

Ch 10 +1

Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook (skipped ch does not count as a st), sc in each ch to end, ch1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 2-4: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, ch 1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 5: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, Finish off. (10 sc)

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com +1 Anyone

Test Two: +1 Not Included:

With the same hook and yarn:

Ch 10

Row 1: Sc in sc in 2nd ch from hook (skipped ch does count as a st), sc in each ch to end, ch1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 2: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, sc in beginning turning chain, ch 1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 3-4: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, ch 1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 5: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, Finish off. (10 sc)

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com +1 Anyone

Notice how both photos show exactly 10 sc over 5 rows but that the second–without that tricky +1 chain–has a weird corner. That will come back to haunt you later when it’s time for a border and depending on how tightly you crochet, it could pull your entire blanket out of line and make you wish you hadn’t started at all!

So, to recap, add a +1 to all of your graphghan patterns and do not treat the skipped chain as a stitch! Practice the technique over a smaller swatch just to make sure you’ve got it down and if you have used this technique I’d love to see your finished projects over on the HodgePodge Crochet facebook page!


Union Jack Pillow Graph

hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Union Jack Pillow Graph

I don’t think there can be any denying that I LOVE all things UK. So with the new season of Doctor Who in full swing, my very American house was crying out for something to show that love in style. I decided what that something needed to be was the oddly specific Union Jack…in pillow form…(as seen decorating John Watson’s favorite chair in Sherlock.)

hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Union Jack Pillow Graph

But I wanted mine to be slightly larger than the original Sherlock version and decided the best way to go about tackling my recreation in yarn would be with a graph! Mine, at this point, is still a WiP but I promise to update when I’m all done to show you all what it looks like finished!

hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Union Jack Pillow Graph

This project is small enough for the newer graphghan crocheter and is a little more challenging than a two colored graph.

If you’re interested in creating your own Union Jack Pillow, all you have to do is download a copy, grab some yarn and a hook, and get busy!

Click the link below for your free copy of the Union Jack Pillow Graph 

HodgePodge Crochet Union Jack Graph

If you create a pillow of your own I’d love to see pics! Head on over to HodgePodge on Facebook to show off your stuff!

Crocheter’s Spotlight: Open Skye Creations

Another BLOG takeover!!! This time, I’d like to introduce my very good friend April! She runs the amazing shop, Open Skye Creations and is a master at all things graphghan. I asked (okay… I BEGGED) for her to explain her process and break it down for the rest of us–and she said YES!!


From This

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Crocheters Spotlight: Open Skye Creations

To This!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Crocheters Spotlight: Open Skye Creations

I get tons of questions on a regular basis about my graphs. About how to take a graph and turn it into a blanket or a pillow or a scarf. Let me tell you- it isn’t as hard as you think! Crochet by Numbers is complicated and can take a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, creating a graphghan can take months to complete. It all depends on your skill level, speed, and time capabilities to spend on working on it. But if you can single crochet and color change you can definitely do it! I’ve put this post together to give you some of my favorite hints and guidelines to completing your own! And if you’re a seasoned pro- you can see how I do mine.

Single Crochet, Half-double, Tunisian- it doesn’t really matter. The tips are still the same and hopefully the hints I provide will make sense to you!

To start it off- These are the MUST HAVES to completing a graphghan.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Crocheters Spotlight: Open Skye Creations

First you have the hook. I recommend an “I” hook and medium tension while working up a graph. Second you have the graph itself; I always print mine out on multiple pages and tape them together so I don’t go blind while trying to read it. Third I have BOBBINS! I can’t stress enough how much time and energy these puppies have saved me. They help prevent and reduce tangling (nothing you do can eliminate it 100%) and they just make it easier to hold on to.  Fourth I have a pen, piece of paper, and a highlighter- note I put them as one item because they’re writing utensils and writing utensils are very important in any crochet project.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Crocheters Spotlight: Open Skye Creations

And then you have the yarn itself. Every graph I sell I include a yarn usage estimator. Keep in mind that not all graphs will have this so make sure you always round up. Having the same lot and dye number is extremely important when working on any crochet project- but especially when you’re working up a graph. The last thing you want is a picture ruined by two conflicting shades of black or red. The picture above shows the lot and dye information in case you don’t know where to look for it. It is always on the yarn label itself!

Now here is where things change a little bit. I write out every line of a graph that I’m doing. BEFORE I WORK IT UP. This has multiple purposes. When you write it out, you get a feel for just how much work there is going to be. It also helps tell you how many bobbins you are going to need. Every time you do a color change, you should be changing your bobbins (By changing bobbins every time you prevent having a different color running through the color you’re currently working on and keeps the picture looking clean). It also lets you determine which direction you’re working on the graph.

When working on a graph I work from the bottom up. When I do my initial chain +1 (you always sc in the second chain from the hook when you’re working- like the chain 1 and turn scenario) I then work the next row from Right to left. That is my row 1. My row 2 is done from left to right, row 3 from right to left and so on. When you have the rows written out you can use an arrow or other measure to tell you which way to work it up. Now- if you are working it up in Tunisian stitch you are working it up reading from right to left on every row.

These are the most common things I encounter when working up a graph, and the questions that people ask when they get me one on one.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Crocheters Spotlight: Open Skye Creations https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Crocheters Spotlight: Open Skye Creations





People always post nice clean photos of their WIPS (work in progresses) but this is hardly the case. They are actually messy- but no one wants to admit that they have a tangled mess of yarn. Don’t worry- its normal! The picture on the left is a graph I worked on that was easy to keep clean and untangled. Note- the bobbins that are nice and orderly at the top!! The piece on the right is NOT clean. And it was done by someone who has done graphs for a long time. Don’t worry about the mess!! You can always fix it later.

I get asked a lot how I recommend doing color changes. The best way I can describe it is this. In the LAST SC of the first color you push your hook under the top two strands of yarn and yarn over with the first color; pull back through. Yarn over WITH THE NEW COLOR and complete the stitch. The videos I have a link to below should help with it if you need to see the walkthrough. It creates a complete stitch with the first color while allowing you to start your new stitches with the second color. *HELPFUL HINT* I always gently tug on the first color that I dropped to help reduce gaps and keep it from being too (loose) for lack of a better word. Don’t worry if you tug it a little too tight, it won’t mess up as long as you remember that stitch when coming back on the next row.

When you’re working a row and bring up the yarn from the previous row, if there is a long strand, crochet over it like you would crochet over your ends when doing a color change in a hat or an amigurumi. I have videos on my youtube page that explain it simply (and in a setting you’ll all know- my lap sitting on my plaid oversized chair!) http://www.youtube.com/user/canavanapril <- that’s my channel. Feel free to watch the videos and subscribe!

I know this sounds really bad, and tedious- and really a question that people wouldn’t think to ask- but here it is anyways. At the end of EVERY ROW you chain 1 and turn. If you don’t do this then you’ll end up with different row counts.

Find April at: www.openskyecreations.com or on facebook at: www.facebook.com/openskyecreations

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Crocheters Spotlight: Open Skye Creations

Favorite Pinterest Finds: Winter

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ Favorite Pinterest Finds: Winter

My last Pinterest blog post was WAY back in June, and I think it’s high time we do another one!!

This time, the theme is winter because I love the season, the cold, and all the crafty goodness that comes when people are cooped up inside!!

The Shining – USA, 1980. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd.

The Shining – USA, 1980. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd.

Okay…maybe this is an example of a little TOO much of a good thing but then again, who knows what might have happened in this story if ole’ Jack here had Pinterest to keep him busy!

Let’s get to the good stuff!

1. Magic with Hook and Needles is the place you want to be if you need to learn how to make a crocheted earflap lining. She explains things in layman’s terms (which I appreciate more than she can ever know because I’m 100% sewing illiterate!)

2. Moms Love Of Crochet has the most ADORABLE Snowman for those of you out there adventurous enough to tackle graphghans!

3. If you aren’t that adventurous (like me!) The Crochet Crowd has you covered with a classic chevron beauty  that anyone would love to cuddle up under on a cold winter’s night.

Christmas Crochet Wave Afghan

4. Wintertime always brings with it chapped lips, so why not tote your lip balm around in something super cute! Kristy Ashmore has just what you need with this free Chapstick / Lip Balm Holder over in Ravelry.

© Kristy Ashmore

5. If you are in the mood for something to play with, head on over to Black Sheep Wools for the cutest family of winter-bound ami dolls you’ve ever seen!

Winter Dolls , Baby Mo ( Small Sized Turquoise Doll, Measures Approx 12 cms tall) ~ Free PDF Pattern

6. I love to grab a shawl to throw over my shoulders when the weather turns nippy and one that has some style and texture just makes my whole day. Wendy Easton‘s Triangular Shawl in Crosshatch Stitch checks all those boxes! Not only is this one a free Ravelry download but she also has a YouTube tutorial explaining how she works it!

7. Free-Crochet.com is home to probably my favorite winter must have: slipper boots! These can be done in any color and are warm, stylish, and did I mention warm?? You have to make a free account to download this pattern but it’s worth it!

Slipper Boots

8. If you REALLY want a pair of slipper boots (and those are a teeny bit intimidating), these alternatives by Denisse Esparza might be right up your alley!


If you have a favorite winter pattern, PLEASE SHARE IT in the comments area below!! I’m always looking for cool new things to add to my pin collection!

Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

Crochet graphghans are AMAZING to look at but they can be very intimidating to jump into–especially if you really aren’t confident with color changing OR if you haven’t ever attempted cross-stitching.

But it really isn’t very hard once you get the hang of it and the only supplies you will need are ones you probably already have on hand; some yarn, a hook, and a few basic skills!

To get started, I recommend that you pull up your favorite search engine and type in: ‘free simple cross stitch patterns for children’. You should have at least a hundred free sites to choose from and endless possibilities!

One of my favorites is DLTK’S Crafts for Kids. They offer what you need as a beginner—simple patterns that are perfect for practicing this project.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy


Once you find one that you like, you can choose to print it out in black and white or in color. Here I’ve chosen to print Blue Flower but you can choose anything you feel comfortable working with. Keep in mind that the simpler the design and the less color changes you have, the easier it will be to crochet.

Now comes the fun part! For this project you can use any size hook you are most comfortable with. For me, that’s an H/5mm. After you’ve selected your hook, it’s time to get your colors together! Use an acrylic yarn that’s worsted weight because it’s the simplest to work with. If you want to change your colors from the ones that are recommended, make sure to note which new color corresponds to the correct symbol so you don’t accidentally get them mixed up while crocheting!

Next, it’s time to look at your graph and figure out how many bobbins you will need to load. Bobbins are super simple to make from scrap stuff you have around the house–so don’t panic if you don’t have any!

In order to make one, all you need is a small amount of scrap cardboard or flat plastic. You could even get away with making them out of cardstock but you want to make sure whatever you use is sturdy enough to take having yarn wound around it without buckling on you.

If you’ve ever done cross-stitch work, then you should be familiar with what a bobbin looks like. Instructables.com has a great mini tutorial to show you how to make your own in a few simple steps!

Once you have yours finished, it’s time to load them up with yarn and get started. For my project I’ve loaded two large white and one smaller white for the border, two large pink for the flower, and one large yellow for the center of the flower. You will probably have different colors than me and if you are working another graph you may have more or less bobbins than me.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

After your bobbins are loaded (don’t worry about how much yarn you’ve loaded onto each because you can always add in more yarn later if you need it,) it’s time to plan your strategy!

The way you attack any graph is to look at the boxes. Each box represents ONE single crochet. You can also crochet your graph from any side as long as you are consistent.

Looking at the chart I’ve selected, I’ve decided to work from the bottom up to the top. Doing it that way, I see that I need to start with white and chain 30 +1. (There are 30 boxes across and I need to add in one more chain for when I turn.)

Quick tip here: use a pencil to keep track of your rows as you go!! It makes things much simpler and is invaluable if you have to get up in the middle of your project. I number the row I start with at the beginning and place an X at the end of it to show that I’ve completed it.

For row 2 I see that I need to single crochet 9 in white, 3 in pink, 6 in white, 3 in pink, and 9 in white. This is where my preloaded bobbins will come in handy!

Begin with a sc in the 2nd chain from the hook. Single crochet in the next 8 chains. When you get to your LAST white (or whatever color you have chosen to use here) single crochet–do not finish it. Work that single crochet as follows: Put your hook through the chain and pull up a loop. Attach the next color to your hook and pull through all loops on hook. Color change complete.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

Continue across the row this way, attaching new bobbins of color where needed. When you get to the end of your row it should look something like this (if you chose to use the same graph as I did.)

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

To continue your graph you would simply chain one and begin your next row. Looking at the next row on my graph, I see that I need to crochet 7 in white, so I will crochet the first 7 making sure that I don’t complete the last single crochet. You will notice in this row that when this color ends and the next one begins there is a little bit of a stretch. DON’T PANIC!! Once you get those two loops on your hook it’s time to do a little cheating!!

Most people who work graphghan blankets will do a LOT of cutting and rejoining–and that always ends in lots of tails (and tears after weaving them all in!!) But I’m lazy by nature and I say there isn’t any need to do so much work as long as you are careful and follow my lead here.

Whenever you need to join your next color in a chart, a good rule of thumb is to take into account the amount of space between the change. If it’s more than 5 or 6 spaces, add in a new bobbin. OR, if you need to add in a lot of another color, add in a new bobbin.

However, if you find yourself in a situation like this—where you have a bobbin attached already and there is a gap of say 3 or 4 stitches, simply trail your yarn in backward. How do you do that??? I’ll show you!

After you get your last single crochet set up, simply bring in your new color the same way you did when you set up your last row! Keeping things relatively LOOSE (so you avoid nasty puckers) join your new color by bringing it across the front of your work. Pull through to join. It’s that simple.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

Now the trick to hiding your ‘trail tail’ is to crochet over it and no one will ever be the wiser that it’s there! In order to crochet over your tail, make sure you are putting your hook under the tail AND both loops for the entire length of the tail. Doing it that way will ensure a cute (and neat) finished project.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

Also, keep an eye on that tension. New crocheters tend to pull either too tightly, forcing all of the stitches to move out of alignment at the joins, or too loosely—and that creates horrible gaps at the join!! You don’t want either so you may have to practice a few times to get it down. Don’t give up though!!

After you finish a few more rows, you might notice that some of your bobbins are no longer needed. In order to make your life simpler, snip those off, leaving a long tail to weave in later, and set them aside.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

Continue on this way, adding in new color and crocheting over your tails when you have to, all the way up your graph!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

Once your graph is complete, the only thing left is to weave in your tails! Since you should have been leaving relatively long tails when cutting your bobbins loose, you can use the extra length to close any oddball gaps in your joins that you may have.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com Tapestry Crochet Made Easy

That’s all there is to creating a beautiful tapestry crochet piece and it works the same with ANY graph at all. After you have some simple projects under your belt, scale it up and create a beautiful graphghan! Larger projects will take longer, but they all follow the same steps outlined above!

If you’d like to share your finished project, come find me on facebook!