Whether you use them as dishcloths or as washcloths, knitted squares are a useful and popular project for knitters of all skill levels. Who doesn’t love a beautiful, soft hand-knit cloth to pamper their face, or a cute and sturdy cloth for that thankless chore that is kitchen cleanup?
This collection of six knitted washcloths (or dishcloths) helps you brush up on your knitting skills. Links to video tutorials help you with unfamiliar techniques.
With these patterns, knitting garter stitch was never so rewarding! Relax into the meditative rhythm of all-over knit stitches and enjoy the beauty of color.
Beginning knitters will be comfortable knitting stripes, then progress to knitting on the bias. After that, step up to the joy that is a mitered square. Garter stitch intarsia techniques take you from beginning to intermediate skills in easy steps. There’s no purling needed!
This post contains affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra. Many thanks to Trailhead Yarns, who provided the yarn for this project.
The free pattern for the easiest cloth, Team Colors, is presented below. Buy a printable downloadable pdf of all six patterns, and knit your cares away.
Use a cotton or cotton-blend fine- or light-weight yarn to make these soft and absorbent projects. The pattern calls for five colors, so this is a perfect time to try out a colorful pack of mini skeins!
You enjoy creating new designs instead of relying on other people’s patterns. Your friends want to make the items you’re designing. How do you become a crochet designer?
There’s a lot to learn, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Here are my ten best tips for becoming a crochet designer.
This post contains affiliate links.
Crochet, crochet, crochet
Crochet a lot. Crochet many different types of things: hats, scarfs, afghans, pillows, amigurumi, shawls and sweaters. Crochet items where gauge matters so that you understand how important gauge is. Crochet sweaters for women, for men, and for children so that you understand ease and fit.
Pay attention to the techniques you use and try to understand the “why” behind what you are doing. You may learn that you don’t enjoy crocheting a specific type of project or with a certain type of yarn. Or you may find new favorites!
The more you crochet and the more varied your projects are, the faster you will learn the designer skills.
Learn from Others
Study what other crochet designers have done, and see what techniques they use.
As you learn new techniques, make sure you’re learning from reputable sources. Blog posts and videos made years ago may have a lot of views. This makes them show up at the top of a list when you do a search. And they may be at the top of the list because they are useful and answer your questions.
Yet not every post or video you’ll see will be accurate. It may be that things have changed recently and new terminology has come into fashion. There may be more than one “right” way of doing something. The information given may not cover the whole story.
Take time to look at many sources for information. Learning from books, blogs, and videos will increase your knowledge. Books like Design Your Own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney can speed you on your way.
Take classes to up your skill level. Many in-person classes are on hold right now, but they are an excellent way to build your skills. Bloggers and teachers who teach at national shows such as the CGOA’s Chain Link or Stitches events are a good place to start.
And of course, there are thousands of YouTube videos to choose from. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots of crochet instruction.
Swatch, Swatch, Swatch
Swatching is the process of making a small sample of fabric using the yarn, hook, and stitch pattern(s) you’ll use in a project.
Most people think of swatching as a chore they have to do to match a pattern gauge. But swatching is much more than that! It’s a crucial tool for designers.
Swatching allows you to try out ideas before you commit to making an entire project. If you have a problem with the yarn or hook, or don’t like the stitch pattern, it’s better to find that out early on. Why wait until the middle of the project to find out you don’t like it?
Swatching allows you to get a feel for the fabric you are making. You can decide if that fabric behaves the way you want it to for your project. Play with combinations of hook, yarn and stitch pattern to get the exact fabric you want.
Crocheting is forgiving of experimentation, and that’s what swatching is all about. And yes, a good swatch also gives you important information about gauge.
While we are on the topic of experimenting, grab a stitch dictionary or three and try out different stitch patterns. Add stitch patterns to your design toolbox!
Try out a variety of patterns, hooks, yarns, and projects. This kind of play (it’s called swatching!) allows your creative juices to start flowing.
Here are some great places to start with stitch dictionaries:
Understand the Math
Designing for crochet is all about math. You are going to be using arithmetic in all your crochet designs, whether you realize it or not.
Knowing how gauge factors into everything is a start, but there is a lot more to know. You will save huge amounts of time, and lots of trial and error, if you take the time to learn the math behind the crochet.
Understanding the math ensures that your projects will turn out to be the size and proportions you intend. Don’t be scared! We are talking 4th-grade level calculations, and calculators are allowed! Learn more in my Math for Crocheters class.
Prepare a Professional Pattern
Have you ever felt discouraged trying to read a crochet pattern? An incomplete or poorly written pattern can make you throw your hook in the air with frustration!
Crocheters are more likely to trust you and want to make your patterns if they are easy to read and understand. Publishers and editors love designers who can compose well-written patterns.
Save yourself time and effort by coming up with a designing system. Develop your idea, make the project, and write the pattern in one integrated, seamless workflow.
In my online course Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop, you’ll start to create this type of workflow. You’ll develop a style guide so your patterns are consistently formatted. You’ll learn to write clear instructions. Improve the overall quality of your patterns for a more professional presentation.
Use a Tech Editor
A technical editor, or tech editor, checks your pattern between when you design it and when you publish it. They ensure that all of your math checks out and that you haven’t left out crucial instructions. A tech editor is a crucial step in presenting accurate, well-written patterns.
Think about how you’ll be taking photos. Don’t just take a picture of your project on the kitchen table with mess in the background. Use natural light whenever possible, and the best camera you have available. (Maybe you need to borrow a family member’s phone!)
Putting other items in the picture with the project to style it makes the photo more interesting and memorable, and encourages people to click on your pattern.
Many crocheters expect patterns to come as downloadable and printable PDFs, not as pamphlets from their local stores. Make sure that those who find your patterns are able to find you and any other patterns you may have. Include your email address or website on each pattern.
Promote Your Patterns on Social Media
Let your friends and family know about your pattern, and encourage them to share it. Your cousin who doesn’t crochet may have a best friend who is looking for their next pattern.
Use those beautifully-styled photos you took! Broadcast your news on all the channels you can think of: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. Consider making a promotional video for YouTube or other video platforms. Tell the world about your awesome design!
Crocheters often wonder how many foundation chains they need to result in their desired number of stitches.
It can be confusing! Sometimes you chain 4 more than the number of stitches you want, but other times you chain just one more. How do you figure out how many foundation chains you need?
I could tell you how many chains you need to get the number of stitches you want on the first row. You could look back to this blog post every time you want to know the answer (see below). That would be awesome for my website traffic, but not so great for helping you learn. I’d rather have you understand how to figure out for yourself how many foundation chains you need.
I’m using American crochet terminology in this article. If you are in the UK, refer to this conversion chart.
What’s on the first row?
The first thing you must know is how many stitches you want on the first row, and what type of stitches they are.
If you are designing your own project, you’ve worked a gauge swatch and done the math to figure out how many stitches you need. If you are following a pattern, you can follow the pattern instructions, or adapt it as needed.
The first stitch of the first row is crucial, because the number of foundation chains depends on the height of the first stitch of the row.
Crochet stitches are created below the level of the hook. When you start a new row or round, you have to bring the hook up to that new level before working the stitches on the next row.
Think of the turning chain as a ladder that carries your hook up to that next level. The taller the first stitch of the row, the more steps you need to take on your ladder to reach that height. In other words, you need more turning chains for taller stitches.
The very first turning chain is part of the foundation chain. That means you have to crochet extra chains to incorporate the turning chain.
This first turning chain is created when you insert your hook into the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (or more) chain from the hook. The skipped chains count as the turning chain.
You also need to know whether you are counting the turning chain as a stitch. In single crochet, the turning chain is usually not counted as a stitch. In half double, double, or treble crochet, the turning chain is often—but not always—counted as a stitch.
Now that you know you need one turning chain for single crochet (sc), and that turning chain is not going to count as a stitch, you can figure out how many chains you need.
Let’s say you want to end up with 10 single crochet stitches on the first row. You need one for each stitch, plus one turning chain, so you need a total of 11 chains to result in ten stitches. I think it’s easier to understand using stitch symbols.
10 sc on first row + 1 turning chain = 11 foundation chains
Foundation Chains for Half Double Crochet
The calculation for half double crochet (hdc) will depend on whether you are using the turning chain as a stitch. When it gets a bit more complicated like this, I often sketch it out on a piece of paper to remind myself how many foundation chains I need. It makes more sense to me when I see it in a visual format like a stitch diagram.
Assume we are using a chain-2 turning chain for this half double crochet. If I want 10 hdc on the first row, and I am not counting the turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 2 chains.
10 hdc on first row + 2 turning chains = 12 foundation chains
If I want 10 hdc on the first row, and I am counting the turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 1 chain.
10 hdc on first row + 1 turning chain = 11 foundation chains
Foundation Chains for Double Crochet
Double crochet is like half double crochet, in that you have to know how you are treating the turning chain, and how many chains you are using. Assume we are using a 3-chain turning chain for this double crochet.
If I want 10 dc on the first row, and I am not counting a chain-3 turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 3 chains.
10 dc on first row + 3 chains = 13 foundation chains
If I want 10 dc on the first row, and I am counting a chain-3 turning chain as a stitch, I need to add 2 chains.
10 dc on first row + 2 chains = 12 foundation chains
Can you work out for yourself how many foundation chains you would need for treble crochet?
This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small income to me if you buy something from this page, but they don’t cost you anything extra.
Now you understand the relationship of the foundation chain to turning chains, to the height of stitches, and to whether the turning chain is used as a stitch. And now you can figure out how many foundation chains you need in every situation!
Have more questions? Refer to The Crochet Answer Book. It has answers to questions like these, and all your crochet questions, in a handy format. It’s a compact reference that you can stick in your project bag and have ready at all times, even when you can’t get online.
You can hire me as a consultant or tech editor to help you with all your crochet needs. And I teach online and all around the country, as well!
My YouTube channel is full of video tutorials that offer the “why” as well as the “how” of crochet techniques. Subscribe to it now!
Still wishing you had table for a quick answer? Here it is:
Tired of that messy plastic grass in your Spring decorations? Wish you had some eco-friendly faux grass that you can use season after season? Crochet your own!
This crocheted “grass” circle can be made any size, with any yarn you have on hand. Use it to line an Easter basket or as a Spring centerpiece with your favorite flowers!
The loop stitch technique is based on single crochet. Watch the video for a tutorial on How to Crochet Loop Stitch (also known as Fur Stitch). I’ll show you three different variations, so you can choose.
This post contains affiliate links.
About the Yarn
Use any yarn you choose, with a hook in an appropriate size for your yarn. The Grass Circle pictured used one ball of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice color 172 Kelly Green (100% acrylic, 3.5 oz [100 g], 170 yd [156 m]) .
About the Construction
The mat is worked in the round from the center out in continuous, un-joined rounds. Every other round is worked using the loop stitch single crochet technique.
Instructions for the Grass Circle are given below. A print-friendly, ad-free version includes instructions and charts.
Grass Circle Mat Pattern
Size & Finished Dimensions
Can be made to any size. The sample pictured measures 14″ [35.5 cm] diameter.
Worsted weight yarn (or any size yarn desired), approximately 170 yd [156 m] to make a 14″ diameter circle
Size I-9 [5.5 mm] crochet hook, or size needed to create a nice fabric for your yarn
Rnds 1-7= 4″ [ 10 cm]
Gauge is not crucial in this pattern.
Abbreviations & Special Stitches
ch: chain Lsc (Loop single crochet): Hold working yarn so that it is coming from back to front over left index finger (right index finger for left-handed crocheters). Hold this finger approximately 1″ [2.5 cm] from the hook. Insert hook into next stitch, then move the hook clockwise (counterclockwise for left-handed crocheters) so that it comes over the front of the working yarn; yarn over with the strand of yarn that is coming from the back of the index finger; keeping index finger in place, pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook to complete a single crochet. Remove index finger from loop. rep: repeat rnd(s): round(s) sc: single crochet st(s): stitch(es)
Do not join at end of rounds.
Rnd 1: Ch 1 (does not count as a st), 6 sc in ring—6 sts. Place marker in first st to indicate beginning of rnd and move marker up as you work each rnd.
Rnd 2: 2 Lsc in first st, 2 Lsc in each st around—12
Rnd 3: Sc in first st, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next
st, 2 sc in next st] around—18 sts.
Rnd 4: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 2 sts, [2 Lsc
in next st, Lsc in next 2 sts] around—24 sts.
Rnd 5: Sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next
st, [sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—30 sts.
Rnd 6: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 4 sts, [2 Lsc
in next st, Lsc in next 4 sts] around—36 sts.
Rnd 7: Sc in first st, sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next
st, [sc in next 5 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—42 sts
Rnd 8: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 6 sts, [2 Lsc
in next st, Lsc in next 6 sts] around—48 sts.
Rnd 9: Sc in first st, sc in next 6 sts, 2 sc in next
st, [sc in next 7 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—54 sts.
Continue in this manner to increase 6 stitches every round until piece is as large as desired, ending with an odd-numbered round. Weave in ends.
For more detailed instructions for Rounds 1-23, plus a stitch chart, buy the ad-free printable pattern.
What will you use your “grass” for? Share photos on my Instagram feed, using #edieeckman!