Color Pooling 103: Crocheting Wider Projects in Argyle
If you’re like me, you’ve crocheted argyle and zigzag scarves and wonder what else can be done with this print besides scarves. (Unless someone asks me specifically for an argyle scarf, I’m not sure I want to crochet one again for a very, very long time!) Though I don’t want to make any more scarves, I do enjoy crocheting the argyle pattern—I just wonder what else could be made. (This is mostly a challenge to myself. Challenge accepted!)
There are pictures of some pretty impressive blankets made with the argyle pattern floating around the Internet. A few are made from several scarves sewn together. Others are continuously crocheted—like a super wide scarf with multiple Xs of the argyle pattern repeating both vertically and horizontally. Today we’ll look at the second type, and I’ll give you the ins and outs of making a wide argyle project that’s continuously crocheted.
First, you need a solid understanding of how to make the argyle pattern. If you’ve never crocheted it, make a few swatches following the Color Pooling 101 blog. You may also want to check out Color Pooling 102 to learn about the zigzag, which is half the argyle pattern.
Once you’ve mastered the argyle pattern, making wider projects with multiple Xs will be relatively easy. (I say “relatively easy” because it depends on how hard you found making one X!) First I’ll give the simple answer to making wider projects, then elaborate on what that means with an example.
In a nutshell, wider projects use the same principles as the argyle and zigzag. Figure out how many crisscrosses (Xs) you want widthwise, and crochet through the entire color sequence that many times. Then you can crochet the argyle pattern for as long as you want until you reach the desired height. For instance, I wanted to make a market bag with the argyle on the bottom. I could get the right circumference with three Xs. That meant I needed to crochet through three color sequences of my variegated yarn. (Three times might not work for every variegated yarn. It depends on how long the color sequences are on each yarn. It might take two or four color sequences to get the right size for a market bag.)
Consider the variegated yarn I used, with the four colors of pink, blue, green, and orange in an ABCD color sequence. To get started, I made a long chain. (I’ll talk about how to figure out how many chain stitches are needed in a minute.) Then I crocheted the moss stitch through the color sequence three times (ABCD, ABCD, ABCD). As in the argyle scarf, I pulled out the last single crochet and chain one, turned my work, and crocheted the moss stitch back across. On Row 3, I could tell that my colors were shifting one stitch as they should. Each color should start one stitch later than it did two rows below. (This rule also works if they start one stitch before, but then every color needs to start one stitch earlier.) I made sure to adjust my tension so the color would shift one stitch for each color on every row until I reached the desired height.
As much as I hate to swatch—and that’s a job right up there with changing dirty diapers—a swatch can actually save a lot of time (and prevent much hair pulling, swearing, and broken dishes). Make a little swatch, perhaps crocheting through each color two to three times. Make a note of how many stitches you get per color. (When doing the moss stitch, I just note how many single crochets I get.)
Make sure you get that many stitches in rows one and two for each color. Then all the rest of the rows should be fairly easy to do. How do I know this? Learning through experience. Being the (self-proclaimed) expert that I am, I didn’t make a swatch the first time I made my market bag and had to rip out my project several times. Because I only did three color sequences, it wasn’t a crisis, but if I was attempting a blanket, I would not want to rip out all the way back to the first row to try to get the stitches to shift.
Use your swatch to count how many stitches it takes to get through the entire color sequence. Multiply that by the number of times you plan to crochet through the color sequence, and that’s your starting chain. I like to make a few more chains just to be safe. They can always be pulled out afterward by weaving the tail through them.
PLAYING WITH MULTIPLES
You can make projects as wide as you’d like, keeping in mind that the number of color sequences should be multiplied by whole or half numbers. For instance, you can use the color sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. times or 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, etc. times. If you use a whole number like 2, your project will be two Xs wide and you’ll crochet through the color sequence twice (minus one moss stitch). For every time you crochet through the entire color sequence in Row 1, that’s how many Xs will crisscross over the width of your project.
You can also crochet through an entire color sequence plus half the sequence (minus one moss stitch). This is the same as crocheting an argyle X and a zigzag pattern next to it. Crocheting through 2.5 color sequences will be like making two Xs and a zigzag. Remember, you’re crocheting through half the length of the yarn, not necessarily half the colors. Pull out the yarn from the skein and measure how long it takes to get through one sequence. You will crochet through half that length if you are doing a half sequence. That may fall where a color changes or in the middle of a color. You need the other half of the color sequence on the next row.
You can use any stitch you want. Single crochet or moss stitch (single crochet and chain one) are the most common, but you can do half double crochets or double crochets.
You will only pull out one stitch (or one single crochet and chain one for the moss stitch) at the end of Row 1. You do not pull out a stitch for each color sequence. You want the entire project to shift one stitch, so you only pull out the last stitch from Row 1. Each color should shift one stitch over because of that. If you were to pull out one stitch for each color sequence, the color would shift over that many stitches. For instance, if you crocheted through the sequence three times to get three Xs, and pulled out three stitches, the color would shift three stitches over on every other row. This will result in a more squat X, or it may not make any crisscross shapes.
ON YOUR OWN
Dream big. What can you make with multiple argyle crisscrosses? People are making blankets, ponchos, sweaters, pillows, messenger bags, and more. I made a market bag with the argyle just on the bottom, but it would look absolutely stunning all in argyle!
Want to make a market bag of your own? Below are some general instructions. Variegated yarns vary in stitch count, so this is just a rough outline.
Yarn: Red Heart with Love, Fruit Punch and Hot Pink, 1 skein each
Hook: H / 8 / 5.00 mm
Make the argyle portion first. I crocheted through the color sequence three times (120 stitches in the moss stitch) for 22 rows, and then sewed the sides together.
In Hot Pink, I did one round of single crochet, and then crocheted the mesh (*chain 5, skip 4, single crochet* repeat) for about 18 rounds.
The handle is all single crochet (120 stitches) for four rounds, then two chain sections each 18 stitches long for the handles. I finished the handle with five more rounds of single crochet.
I did the base in Hot Pink in the moss stitch so it would match the sides. It’s 40 stitches wide for 30 rows. I used slip stitches on the inside to crochet the base to the bag. Make sure to center the bottom to the handle hold. Ask me why this is important!
What beautiful argyle project will you dream up?