Friday, August 1, 2014

How to: Design Your Own Ripple Pattern


  When it comes to ripple patterns, there are three types of crocheters: The ones who understand it completely, the ones who don't get it at all, and the ones who can follow a pattern, but don't understand what makes it work. Regardless of what category you belong to, this tutorial will have you crocheting a ripple pattern in no time. Beginners can learn from the start, or advanced crocheters may use the examples for inspiration in their own designs.

  You can easily follow this tutorial and continue repeating the pattern to make a scarf. Increase the multiples and play with variations in this pattern to create your own baby blanket, afghan, or maybe just a shawl or wrap.


This tutorial will:

  • Cover the basics of ripples and how they work.
  • Teach you the simple mathematics needed to create your own designs.
  • Provide a simple ripple pattern and some variations.


The Basics:
What makes it work?
  A ripple pattern results in a series of peaks and valleys in the fabric you are crocheting. The peaks are created when the number of stitches are increased. Valleys develop from crocheting stitches together or skipping to decrease. The combination of stitches in each increase, decrease, and in between determine the height and shape of the ripple.

  Ripple patterns are made in many ways. Shells, fans, clusters, V-stitches, and so much more often combine to make elegant, bold, or relaxing designs.



  The "trick" with any basic ripple pattern is keeping the number of stitches the same in each row, and to make the stitches in the proper places. This is where the pattern form and mathematics in this tutorial will be used to create simple, uniform ripples. In your own designs, you can combine different sets of multiples in the same piece of work to make interesting or wacky patterns.

  To keep the number of stitches correct, you must make a decrease for every stitch you have increased. Although that seems simple enough, the next row won't work if you only use increases and decreases. Some extra stitches are needed to make the transition between peaks and valleys, or you just get a crazy mess! These "transition", or single stitches are what determine the depth of the ripple.

  For the examples I will be using a size 7/1.65 MM steel hook and # 10 thread, for better photos. If you have a project in mind, you may want to practice with the materials it calls for. Otherwise, grab whatever yarn and hook you are comfortable with, and let's get started!

Abbreviations:
Chain - ch
Skip - sk
Stitch(es) - st(s)
Double crochet - dc
Double crochet 3 together - dc3tog

The Formula:
A pattern you can adjust!
  The pattern we will be using for this tutorial is a combination of 3 double crochet shells (increase), regular double crochet, and double crocheting 3 together (decrease). For ease of instruction, we will stick to that number. At the end of the tutorial I will provide examples for other variations. If you have not learned how to double crochet 3 together (dc3tog), I will provide instructions along the way to modify the pattern with a few skipped stitches.

  We will be increasing by two (2) for each shell, and decreasing by 2 for each dc3tog. Only the number of the regular double crochet in between those will change. You must start with at least 2, but you can add as many stitches as you want from there. Let's get started by figuring the number of stitches and the beginning chain.

  Your project size will determine the number of multiples, or sets (or repeats), you will need. I'm only using two (2) multiples for this tutorial, so we can keep it short. For an example, let's use the pattern with the smallest number of stitches in a multiple, or the shortest ripple.

One multiple will read: 3 dc, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, dc3tog twice, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, 3 dc.

For the beginning chain, each regular double crochet and each shell only need one chain. The dc3tog need 3 chains. There are 2 shells, 4 double crochet, and 2 dc3tog total in each multiple.

The formula for each multiple would be 2 + [4] + (3 x 2) = 12, Increase the number in brackets [ ] for a deeper ripple.

To figure the beginning chain, multiply 12 x [2] = 24. Change the number in brackets [ ] for more multiples. Then add 3 to count as your beginning double crochet (24 + 3 = 27), so 27 will be the number for my beginning chain.

Change the numbers in brackets for a deeper, wider ripple. Add 2 to the stitch count of the multiple for each number you increase by.

For example: This multiple has 6 stitches between each increase and decrease. You can see how the ripple is deeper and wider than the tutorial example using 2 stitches.



To figure the stitch count and beginning chain, it would be 2 + ( [6] x 2 ) + (3 x 2) , or  2 + [12] + 6 = 20. Only the number in brackets [ ] will change. If you wanted to make an afghan with 15 ripples, you would then multiply 20 x 15 = 300. Then add 3 for the beginning dc, for a total of 303 for the beginning chain.


The Tutorial Pattern:
A short, simple ripple...
*Ch 27 to follow pattern tutorial. See above to figure beginning ch for more multiples.

Row 1:
2 dc in 4th ch from hook. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts. Dc3tog twice. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, *3 dc in each of the following 2 sts, 1 dc in each of the next [2] sts, dc3tog twice, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts.* 3 dc in last st. (24 dc) Repeat from * to * for more multiples.



Row 2:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same st. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts. Dc3tog twice. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, *3 dc in each of the following 2 sts, 1 dc in each of the next [2] sts, dc3tog twice, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts.* 3 dc in last st. (24 dc) Repeat from * to * for more multiples.



Variations and modifications:
  So, maybe you're a beginner and you don't know how to dc3tog; you're not ready to learn, but you want to make a ripple blanket now. Maybe you're an advanced crocheter, but you want a much quicker pattern or one that uses less yarn. Simple! There are a few different modifications you can make to help you achieve what you're looking for.

  Don't know how or don't want to dc3tog? There's an easier way to decrease the number of stitches in a pattern. Skip! But there is one thing to remember: 

A dc3tog still equals 1 stitch once completed, so you have to make something to take its place. This can be done by making a chain to replace each dc3tog, or choosing where to make a double crochet. For example:


  The pattern for the following example is -
Ch 3, 2 dc in same st. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, ch 2, sk 6, 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, *3 dc in each of the following 2 sts. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, ch 2, sk 6, 2 dc in each of next 2 sts.* 3 dc in last st. (Repeat  from * to * for more multiples.)

  This creates an open fabric by replacing the dc3tog with chains and skipped stitches.



  or, the pattern for the next example would be -
Ch 3, 2 dc in same st. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, (sk 1, 1 dc, sk 1) twice. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, *3 dc in each of the following 2 sts. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts, (sk 1, 1 dc, sk 1) twice. 1 dc in each of the next [2] sts.* 3 dc in last st. (Repeat from * to * for more multiples.)



  Finally, let's look at some examples of a few variations you could use to make your own design. It's simple enough to follow the pattern using regular double crochet to create an average ripple blanket, and make it more interesting by playing with color changes. This is a great way to use up yarn leftovers.
  But how do you make it your own? As long as you keep the number of stitches in the row the same, you can work with different stitch placement and chains for a more lacy effect, or to achieve a certain pattern. To give you an example of the many changes you could make, here's a bit of a sampler pattern:


Each row is repeated once, colors are changed every other row.

Ch 27, or see formula to figure beginning ch for more multiples.

Each multiple equals 12 stitches as pattern is written. Stitch count for multiples only change when you change the numbers in brackets. Add 2 to each multiple for every number you increase by.

Row 1:
In this row, the dc3tog have been removed, using double crochet and skipped stitches for an easier pattern .
{2 dc in 4th ch from hook}. 1 dc in each of next [3] sts, sk 4, 1 dc in each of next [3] sts. *3 dc in each of following 2 sts, 1 dc in each of next [3] sts. Sk 4, 1 dc in each of next [3] sts*  (Repeat from * to *  for more multiples.)

Row 2:
Repeat row 1, replacing { } with "ch 3, 2 dc in same st".




Row 3:
In this row, the regular dc, or transition stitches, have been replaced by chains and skipped stitches for a lacy effect.
Ch 3, 2 dc in same st. Ch [2], sk [2], dc3tog twice. Ch [2], sk [2], *3 dc in each of the following 2 sts. Ch [2], sk [2], dc3tog twice. Ch [2], sk [2].* 3 dc in last st. (Repeat from * to * for more multiples.)

Row 4:
Repeat row 3.




Row 5:
Also for a lacy effect, the shells in this row are replaced with (1dc, ch 2) or (ch 2, 1 dc).
Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc, ch-2), 1 dc in each of next [2] sts. Ch 2, sk 6, 1 dc in each of next [2] sts. *Ch 2, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, ch 2. 1 dc in each of next [2] sts. Ch 2, sk 6, 1 dc in each of next [2] sts.* Ch 2, 1 dc in last st. (Repeat from * to * for more multiples.)

Row 6:
Repeat row 5.




Row 7:
A project made of this row would be a super quick, easy pattern using the least amount of yarn. The stitches of the shells are replaced with chains, like row 5, then a "base" stitch is made for the "transition" stitches, with the rest being replaced with chains and skipped stitches. Finally, the dc3tog is also replaced with chains and skipped stitches to produce an amazingly lacy fabric. The pattern seems strange written this way, but it is broken up so that you can easily modify the numbers and understand the stitch placement.
Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc, ch-2), 1 dc in the next st. {Ch [1], sk [1],  ch 2, sk 6, ch [1], sk [1],} 1 dc in following st. *Ch 2, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts. Ch 2, 1 dc in next st. {Ch [1], sk [1], ch 2, sk 6, ch [1], sk [1],} 1 dc.* Ch 2, 1 dc in last st. (Repeat from * to * for more multiples.
Replace { } with: {Ch [4], sk [8]} to simplify pattern. Remember to add the numbers in brackets [ ] for the correct stitch count if you modify the pattern.

Row 8:
Repeat row 7.



  You could use any of these rows alone, combine different sets of multiples, or follow the sampler pattern to create your own project. There are many more variations you could try by yourself. Whether you sit down with a piece of paper to draw it out, or just play with some yarn and a hook, it's easy to create your own ripple masterpiece. If you have any questions or you're stuck on something, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to help you sort it out.

  Single crochet could also be used for this pattern, just remember to adjust your beginning and turning chains.

  One more picture; I couldn't help it. Here's a sample swatch of row 7 by itself, worked in 3 multiples, with a border added. It came out beautiful and I just wanted to share it.



  An afghan or blanket using this pattern, bulky yarn and a larger hook would work up a mile a minute.
  Please, oh, please, if somebody makes something like a shawl or cowl, or anything with this pattern, please share a photo with me, I'd love to see your creations!


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