Guest Author - Carla McCune-Cano
Crochet is extremely versatile. The greatest thing about crochet is how easy it is to go from one stitch to another. This makes it possible to do just about anything. The design possibilities are endless. You only need to understand the basic crochet stitches and a graph of the design you want to use. It should be a fairly simple graph. Graphs with many colors or many different stitches are difficult to do on yarn.
There are two ways to crochet with graphed charts. You can cross stitch the chart on to a completed crocheted item or you can crochet the chart as you go. There are a few things to consider when deciding which of these methods to do.
There are many afghan patterns that use cross-stitch. Most patterns use the single crochet (sc) or the afghan stitch. After completing the afghan background you cross-stitch the graph on the “canvas” (the completed background). There are of course pros and cons to this method. It is time consuming. The background is done in small, dense stitches so it takes a while. Then you go back and cross-stitch over all that work. However, there are not a lot of ends to weave in compared to the other method. Using this method it is easier to use more colors.
To crochet the graph as you go you must swatch. It is best to swatch every project but if you do not swatch on this one you won’t know which stitch or how many stitches represent a block of the chart. You do not want to plan this whole project and start crocheting and find out the stitches are wrong. Then you get a warped design. With this method there are no stitches on top of your work they’re all crocheted carrying the yarn on the wrong side when possible. You must be comfortable changing colors because you may be working with many bobbins, because when it can not be carried along the rows in the back you must cut that yarn and add the color back in later in the pattern.
Both methods have their place. There is no right or wrong. Depending on the project and my mood I have done it both ways and have been happy with the results every time. The important thing is to be comfortable and have fun.
So, get out your cross-stitch magazines or go online and try a couple free patterns and decide for yourself which method your like best. Make a pillow to start with. Then maybe a matching afghan. The only limitation is your imagination.