How To: Find and Use Pattern Multiples

How To Pattern MultiplesPattern Multiples are your friend !

Recently in a crochet forum someone was asking a question about how to figure out pattern multiples.  They wanted to take a bigger sized blanket and make it into a smaller sized one and was trying to figure out how to find the starting chain number.

While I was posting through that and explaining  to her how to find the pattern multiple (which will tell you the starting chain amount), I thought it would make a good blog post….

Often in patterns you might see something like this… chain in a multiple of 6 +2.  What is this and why do it? How in the world do they find this number?

This is the pattern multiple…how many chains you need to complete the pattern.  The first number is for the pattern itself and how many you will chain in multiples of.  In the example of 6 +2, you would chain in multiples of 6 – 12, 24, 36 or whatever multiple of 6 you decide on. The second number is how many additional chains you add on to it at the end.  So you would end up with 14 chains or 26 chains or 38 chains etc.

How To Pattern MultiplesLets find our multiples !

The best way I know how to illustrate to you how to find these numbers yourself in a pattern and its uses is through this example.

Many moons ago, as a young and knowing not too much crocheter, I was taught this by my wise crochet sage.  We wanted to take the pattern found in a big worsted weight afghan and make it into a baby blanket.  Hmmm how to do this…

First we looked at the first pattern line itself:

“Dc in 2nd ch from hook, *ch3, sk next3ch, (dc, ch3, 2dc) in next ch, sk next 3 ch, dc in next ch* rep from * across to end.”

Your pattern multiple number is going to be everything between the * and *. So to find out the chains needed for the multiple using the pattern above, we look at everything between the * and * and count the chains we need :
ch3= nothing
sk next 3 = 3
(dc,ch3,2dc)in next ch=1
sk next 3 = 3
dc in next ch=1

for a total of 8

We now have our first part…8

Now there is the business in the beginning of “dc in 2nd ch from hook”.  This is only done once, so it is not part of the pattern.  However we must still count it.  This is the plus part.  2 chains are needed for the dc in 2nd ch from hook so we do a +2

Voila !  There we have it.  Our pattern multiple is 8+2.

Now….on to the next part…

How To Pattern MultiplesWhat do we do with the multiples?

I get out the baby yarn and the recommended hook for that size.  I make a swatch of the pattern stitches.  I measure the pattern stitches.  In this case I will say that the 8 stitches which makes the pattern is 2 inches.  This becomes my gauge…8 stitches in the pattern set = 2 in.

Ok great we have our multiples, we have our gauge but hmm now to figure out starting chain number.

Now comes the easy, peasy math part so we can figure out our starting chain number.

Remember our multiple is 8+2:

(a)Pattern repeat = ___ chains (8 )
(b)One repeat = ___ inches ( 2)
(c)I want it to be ___ inches wide. (oh lets say 36)

(c)36 divided by (b)2 is 18. I need 18  pattern repeats.
18 x (a) 8 =144

We get 144 but we can NOT forget our plus number.  144+2=146

Ta Da….. My starting chain is 146.

So as you can see…multiples are very useful…….

How To Pattern MultiplesEnding plus numbers:

The above example was straight forward and easy.  Not all pattern lines are.

Sometimes finding the multiples can seem to be tricky.  However you don’t have to be fooled or perplexed.  For example, you might see this:

“Dc in 2nd ch from hook, *ch3, sk next3ch, (dc, ch3, 2dc) in next ch, sk next 3 ch, dc in next ch* rep from * across to last 2 chains. Sk 1ch, dc in last chain.”

In this case, now we have 2 extra chains at the end.  Our plus number has to go up to 4 making this a multiple of 8+4 as the 2 extra chains at the end is not part of the pattern and a one time usage, just like the 2 chains in the beginning.

Now to further throw you for a loop…sometimes you might see this:

“Dc in 2nd ch from hook, *ch3, sk next3ch, (dc, ch3, 2dc) in next ch,** sk next 3 ch, dc in next ch* , rep from * ending at ** on the last rep.”

It wants to trick you, but again you don’t have to be fooled.  Your pattern multiple remains the same…8 because everything between * and* is your multiple.  However on the last rep we are ending at ** which means we are only using 4 chains of the 8 chains in the pattern.  Merely add the 4 on to your plus number, as again, this is just a one time usage and is not a repeated usage.  In the above example, we end up with a multiple of 8 +6.

Ok and for the big fooler….lets say we had something like this:

“Dc in 2nd ch from hook, *ch3, sk next3ch, (dc, ch3, 2dc) in next ch,** sk next 3 ch, dc in next ch* , rep from * ending at ** on the last rep.  Sk 2 ch, dc in last 2 ch”

Well, we are only using 4 in the last rep, but then we see we are using 4 on the ending sequence…so all they have done basically is changed up the ending pattern rep.  Since 4+4 =8 that is basically a pattern rep, just done differently, so your multiple remains 8+2.

Now if it would have said:

“Dc in 2nd ch from hook, *ch3, sk next3ch, (dc, ch3, 2dc) in next ch,** sk next 3 ch, dc in next ch* , rep from * ending at ** on the last rep. Sk 2 ch, dc in last 3 ch”

Ok now we have something extra above 8.  It is using 4 in the last rep and 5 in the last sequence.  The first 8 can be counted as a pattern rep but then we have 1 extra.  So our sequence would end up being 8+3

How To Pattern MultiplesWinding it up………

Once you know your pattern multiples, you can transfer a stitch pattern into any yarn, hook or size you want.  That is what makes it so ultra cool.   So the next time you see…chain in multiples of 4+1  or you see something large you want to make smaller (or vice versa) you don’t have to be in the dark because pattern multiples are truly your friend !

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4 thoughts on “How To: Find and Use Pattern Multiples

    • You are welcome, I am glad you enjoyed it. I found this to be great info not just for re sizing but also if you want to design something from scratch…

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