Crocheting Gingham Using Double Strands
Gingham is quickly becoming all the rage so I’ve taken some tips from fellow crocheters and jumped on the bandwagon. Are you interested too?!
On Friday I will be sharing a pattern for a Gingham Lovey Baby Blanket, so today I wanted to share with you how I make gingham in crochet!
Thanks to crocheters like Bethany of Whistle & Ivy and Tiffany of Daisy Farm Crafts, I have come to really love the classic look of gingham and plaid. But let me tell you, I did regard it with some apprehension at first.
My main concern was all the ends I imagined dealing with and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, I despise weaving in ends. However, my fears were immediately allayed when I saw how easy it is to carry the yarn along. It’s actually ironic, because carrying yarn has been another little crochet trick I’ve found hard to keep up with. I suppose it hearkens back to the days when I was a young crocheter, trying to carry the yarn along while working a somewhat lacy motif, the results of which were severely time-consuming and frustrating.
And yet, once I gave it a try I found carrying the yarn with basic stitches like single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet, etc, was simple and pretty satisfying. As well as a great time saver at the end without having a ton of tails to weave in.
I also was fortunate to catch Bethany’s video tutorial with tips on how to keep the yarn from tangling while working, which kept progress going smoothly. Thanks every so much, Bethany!
Here are the lovey baby blankets I made with this technique. (Update: Click the link to find the free pattern, Gingham Lovey-Size Baby Blankets!)
Though this is a simple pattern, for the sake of the tutorial I am going to work a quarter of it — kind of a miniature version.
Gingham Picture Tutorial
The best way in my opinion to work gingham is to have three shades – light, mid, and dark. But when you don’t have a mid and you want to work with two strands of yarn, you simply make your mid color by using one strand each of both light and dark.
Because we will be working with double strands of yarn, we are going to start with two balls of dark and two balls of light.
Tip: Instead of purchasing two skeins of each color, simply wind the skein into a ball and then begin to wind it into a second ball until both balls look about the same size. Then snip the yarn so that you have two balls of yarn.
Lay of the Yarn
Before starting our gingham, let me show you how I keep my yarn while working double stranded gingham.
In the picture above, the balls are laid out how I use them. The white ball at the bottom is used only when working light along with the next ball of white yarn. The middle blue and white next to it are used when working mid. Then the last blue ball of yarn is only used when working dark along with the next ball of blue yarn.
If this is confusing, just remember that the two balls in the center are the ones that will be used on every row while the bottom ball of white yarn and the top ball of blue yarn will be worked on and off.
Start with your light and make a slip knot. I like to knot the very ends of the yarn together to keep them together before starting but it really isn’t essential.
I am working 4 hdc for each color and alternating so chain 13 (which is a multiple of 4 plus 1) and sc in 2nd ch and across. I work my foundation chains loosely so that the bottom row is the same length and gauge as the last row.
Row 2 will be where you commence the gingham pattern. Chain 2 and turn, then make 4 hdc across. As you get to the last pull through of the last hdc, stop. This is where we will create our mid color, by dropping one white and joining one blue. Take the blue from the ball in the middle, not the end.
Take the white connected from the bottom ball and lay it across the stitches so that you will be working across it and carrying it along.
Now take the blue and white together and finish the hdc.
Crochet 4 more hdc across and leave the last hdc as before.
Drop the blue and pick up both whites, working over the blue, and the tail of the blue you just joined, and complete the hdc.
Continue across the row with light color.
Work the third row the same as the last to grow your color pattern or simply progress to row four.
In this row we will add our dark, which means we won’t be working the light at all, but we will be working the mid. So begin with mid by picking up the blue again and dropping the first white.
Crochet as before, working 4 hdc per color and joining the new yarn at the end of the fourth hdc.
With the second blue ball of yarn, draw a strand alongside.
Drop the white yarn and finish the hdc with both strands of blue, crocheting over the new tail along with the two white strands you are carrying.
Hdc across and then switch to your mid color again…
…and finish the row.
Continue the pattern and crochet a second row of the same color pattern as before.
For rows 6 and 7, do the same as you did for rows 2 and 3, alternating between light and mid.
Changing the Color Pattern
However many rows of each color you work depends on your pattern. For the loveys I worked three rows before switching the color pattern, creating thicker bands of blue over the white.
In the dishcloth I made for Crochet Spot, I worked 3 stitches of each color and changed the color pattern for each row, which in turn, looks more plaid than gingham.
When Tiffany designs her beautiful gingham blankets she often works the same color pattern for many rows before alternating so that the checks are larger.
It may sound a bit hard to handle at first but believe me, if you take it one step at a time, and follow along exactly, you will soon have the concept down pat and be able to crochet gingham without a second thought.
Crocheting gingham is such a lovely way to work with color because it acquaints us with hue changes and gives our brain a look at differing opacity. I have always pictured plaid and gingham as thin strips of colored, sheer material that, when laid across each other, create deeper patches and when separate remain light.
I hope this tutorial has inspired you to give it a try as I have. Though this is my first stab at gingham here on Ginger Peachy, you can find plenty of other patterns using this technique, as well as tips and how-tos, from Bethany at Whistle & Ivy, Tiffany at Daisy Farm Crafts, and numerous other crocheters.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? Are there any questions or apprehensions you may have about working gingham or plaid? Please, feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
Come back soon for a free crochet pattern using this technique!