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(Note from Cheryl: Also check the links on my tutorial page about gauge
along with info in my FAQs For/From Newbies section.)
Since gauge is a very personal thing, even changes on different days for some people, we need to get in the habit of testing our own. Just take the hook and yarn you will use in your project, put on about 20 stitches and make 20 rows (numbers arbitrary here) then measure. It's nice to pull it out and measure yarn, too, so you know how much yarn for each stitch before you wind bobbins or cut from skein for those little color patches.
...my 2¢...Enjoy! -- Brenda in Onalaska, WA USA
What the heck is a "gauge swatch" and how do I make one?:
A gauge swatch answers a lot of questions. Just use the yarn and the hook you will make your moghan (afghan or whatever you're going to make) with and make a swatch (block) of 20 stitches by 20 rows (doesn't take long) and then measure it to find out how many stitches wide YOU get per inch and by how many rows.
Once, you've measured your stitches and rows in the swatch, you can pull out (rip it out/unravel it) your swatch and measure the yarn so you know how much yarn per stitch that YOU use with that size hook and type of yarn. That way, you will know how much to wind on a bobbin for a certain number of stitches in a color patch.
FYI, I get 4 stitches per inch with the red MoEZ hook and worsted weight yarn, so a 120-stitch wide graph would come out to be 30" wide, and so forth. I don't remember how many rows per inch, but since they are square I suspect four.
A swatch and these numbers are a requirement for me to begin a moghan. Different people have different gauges, so please don't use my numbers. -- Brenda in Onalaska, WA USA
What kind of graph is best and how do I convert it?:
I figure about 150 rows high maximum for a bed length. I'm sure this is about double which doesn't save you any time. There is a pattern book called, "LEARN TO STITCH WITH LOONEY TUNES" put out by Leisure Arts that I just love. It has very simple, beginner cross-stitch projects to do. The Tweety with the balloons I did with the black hook and it was a good afghan for a child. If I had added rows top and bottom to equal 125 to 150 it would be big enough for a bed. If you use the red or yellow hook with the pattern in that book it will automatically come out larger, probably the right size without adding any rows too. -- Val
How do I adapt cross-stitch graphs to use for crocheting an an afghan stitch blanket/afghan/bedspread?:
When you are using a cross stitch chart for an afghan, you just use the cross stitch chart as it is. Each square is one stitch on your afghan. Some people look at the graphs and work from them, I write out the row count, meaning I start at the bottom right hand corner (for right handed crocheters) and let's say the first row is 100 stitches across. I would write out 25White, 10Black, 65 White. When you work the afghan stitch and you are picking up loops, the loops on your hook should be the same as your row count. Starting from the right side, you should have 100 stitches on your hook, the first 25 should be white, then the 10 black, then the 65 white. As you go back and pull the loops off, you should us the same color yarn that is on the hook. I count my stitches every row to make sure I don't make mistakes. Is this confusing? If so, there are tutorial links from Val's site you can look at that has a great explanation of color changing. There is also a good one at Crochet Cabana (I think). The way I work, (with a red hook), my designs are taller when crocheted than they are on the graph. Meaning that my stitches are taller than they are wide. You may want to do a test square, (using the hook and yarn you will be using for your project), maybe 25x25 and measure it. This will tell you how wide and tall 25x25 stitches will be in your work. Then you can look at your graph and figure what the finished dimensions will be. You may want to add some stitches (maybe 10 on each side) to make it the right shape you want. Adding stitches is easier than crocheting panels and adding them later, if you ask me. If you do want to make 2 side panels, (maybe in a different stitch), Mary had a great idea...... use your long 18" hook and do them at the same time. I mean you would have both panels being worked, (they are not connected to each other), this way you get them both done and have a better chance that they will be the same.
One of the problems I have with graphs that have too many colors is that it is hard to find yarn in that many different colors. Yarn does not come in 47 different greens like floss does.... The most I have done on one afghan is seven colors and that was enough for a novice like me to handle. I don't think you can do anything about half stitches, unless you want to crochet the afghan in the main color and cross stitch the design over that. Then you could half-stitch, outline, etc. and your afghan would be much stronger and have a nicer wrong side. -- Wild Di
Converting A Graph:
The easiest way to convert is to do a test swatch using the hook you wish and the yarn - say 20 stitches worth by 2-3 rows (it's the width we want to measure). Now, measure across and determine how many stitches you are crocheting per 1 inch. Depending on the hook and number of yarn strands, this might mean only 3-4 stitches per inch. The number will vary depending on hook/yarn/tension.
Now that you know how many "stitches" per inch you have, divide the width of the chart by that number. For example: If I want to use a chart that is 80 stitches wide by 90 stitches high, and my swatch piece measured 4 stitches per inch, then I would divide the 80 by 4 and know that the chart itself will be 20 inches across. Then if I wanted the finished piece to be 60 inches across, that would be 240 stitches (60" x 4 st/in) so I would have 80 stitches of background, then 80 stitches of charted work, then 80 stitches of background and my piece would be centered. Is this clear as mud? -- Kathy, Colby, KS
When you're using a cross stitch pattern, how do you deal with the outlining? Do you go back afterward & embroider the afghan? Or do you add extra stitches & work the outline as a stitch.?:
The graphs that are simple are the best, like those for beginners. They have full squares not half squares, or you can make the full squares yourself. I tried to go back and do the half squares on a rather complicated "Taz" and it was not fun. Now I adjust the graph as I go to make sure I either put in a full square or remove the 1/2 square, whichever looks best.
As far as the outlining, yes, you do outline the cartoon characters with black to accentuate them. The alternative is to do them on a black background. With the bright colors it works great and then all you have to outline is the insides of the character. The black background automatically outlines the outside edge. As far as converting the graph, just make sure they are full squares and start at the bottom right corner if you are right-handed and the bottom left corner if you are left-handed.
I always work the pattern in as I go. I hate to have to go back and do something else when I am suppose to be done. It is hard enough for me to go back and do the outlining on the cartoon characters. You can do the cross-stitching. It would go faster but I get bored doing only one color for the size of an afghan.
If it's a cross-stitch graph with lots of colors in it, you may want to reduce the colors to 50 or less if possible, as it may be difficult to find that many yarns of the same type/brand in the colors of the floss used in the cross-stitch pattern.
Instead of adding a black block around each character, I do the graph first then use the "outline" stitch with a single strand of yarn and a tapestry needle. It works a lot faster and easier. -- Val
How to read a graph:(also see Counting Rows and Row Counts for more information)
Starting at bottom of graphLefties: Read the graph from left to right, bottom to top -- Cis
Righties: Read right to left, bottom to top -- Cis
Starting at top of graphLefties: Read right to left -- Val
Righties: Read left to right -- Val
Keeping your place on a graph:
Continued On Next Page
- Make a COPY of the pattern, if you think you will ever want to use it again. Then, on the copy, when you finish a row, LIGHTLY pencil in (gray out) THAT row. You will still be able to see the color through the light pencil markings, yet, it will give you a visual aid as to where you left off. -- Angie in Texas
- First, take it to Kinkos and have it enlarged (easier on the eyes) and copied in full color. Then laminate so you can mark off rows as you go and remove the marks when you're done and still have a nice clean pattern to use later. -- nancy
- When I take along my projects, I have a copy of the original and I slip it in a plastic protector that is clear, I also put my metal board behind the pattern and use my line magnifier on top of the plastic, it is a fairly powerful magnet but just to give a little more stability, I place a rectangular magnet just below the magnifier so it touches and that way if the magnifier gets knocked off, I just set it right back on top of the other magnet. I got my metal boards and line magnifiers at Michael's. The magnifier is clear and has a red line in the middle so you can see the line you are on, the one before and the one after. It helps to keep you on track by not covering the previous one. I put the strip magnets below it and that keeps it from shifting just in case it gets jostled. ; ) -- Val
- Insert the pattern you are working from in a plastic sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to mark off the rows completed.
- This is a very good way to keep your place when reading instructions off a page: Purchase a sticky pad that is rectangular in shape, not the little square one. Place one sheet underneath the area where you are, and as you move down the directions, just peel the piece of sticky pad paper and reposition it. You can also write on it to make any notations to yourself as you go. When the piece of sticky pap paper starts to get wrecked, just throw it away and peel off another one! They work great and I use them all the time. -- From I QUILT NJ
- Keep your place on the page of crochet directions by sticking a large pin with colored head into the spot where you are working and moving it along as needed. -- From Workbasket Magazine, October, 1953
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Originally created 16 August 2002 and updated as of 26 March 2006.
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