Lately it seems graphed crochet projects are all the rage. There is the popular “graphghan” generally worked in single crochet, the corner to corner items worked in block stitch, the embossed designs worked in alternating front and back post stitches, and one of my favorites, tapestry crochet. There are probably others that I haven’t mentioned too!
How to Read a Graph
Many find the idea of a graph intimidating but really, if you take it step by step, it’s quite easy.
There are a few things that are common to all graphs.
- Each square represents a stitch, or in the case of a corner to corner each square represents one set of stitches known as a block stitch.
- Graphs are worked from the bottom up and right to left. I guess if you are left handed this would be reversed.
- Work color or stitch changes as indicated by the graph. Each graph will have a legend with either a symbol or color to indicate where you will make your color or stitch changes.
Working color changes in a graph:
I usually work color changes in the last part of the stitch before the new color.
However, when working color changes in a graph with post stitches, I find the color change is less conspicuous if you make the change after the last stitch of the old color is complete and pull the tail of the old color tightly so that it practically disappears into the new color.
There are many ways to work with the colors in a graph. You may work your stitches over the color(s) not in use and then pick each color up as needed (this is common for tapestry crochet) or you may introduce the color(s) to each section as needed. For larger designs I find it useful to work with bobbins to introduce the color(s). These are simply small amounts of yarn wrapped around a piece of cardboard that you use as you get to that section and then drop until you get back there. However, for small graphs, I simply fasten off the contrasting color at each color change and weave in the ends.
There are two ways to work a graphed chart – in rows and in the round:
Rows: When working in rows, you will turn at the end of each row, odd numbered rows are read from right to left and even numbered rows are read from left to right. For smaller graphs, it’s pretty easy to keep track, but for larger graphs, it may be helpful to mark the front side of your work with a stitch marker so that you can easily see when you are on an odd numbered row.
If you’d like to give your graph reading skills a test drive, check out my Halloween Graph Headband. It’s a quick project that will let you practice all these skills!
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