Monday, March 28, 2011

Crochet Letters/Color Change Tutorial

This tutorial (which I've been promising for awhile) is a crochet tutorial on how to make letters within a piece, along with how to change colors. This is not advanced by any means but you will have to know how to crochet to do this.

The first thing you want to do is have a plan/pattern. I bought graph paper notebook from Wal-mart for under 5$, I'm not sure exactly how much, but it was pretty cheap. Using a pencil, map out on your graph paper what you're wanting to make. Sometimes I draw the actual object I want to create and fill in the squares to resemble that object. Like so:

As you can see, there are a lot of notes on the sheet by the time the project is done. This is what came to be of this design:

With letters, I just start filling in squares until it looks like I want it to. In this case it's the word BABY. Make sure there is equal spacing between letters. For example, make sure the space between the last shaded square of the previous letter and the first shaded square of the next letter are equal, and between all letters. Once you have your plan you can start crocheting.

1. Count the number of squares from the first shaded square to the end of the word. Including all the spaces between the word. Each square counts as one stitch. In the case of BABY there are 34 spaces. Add any number of buffer stitches to both sides. I added 5 stitches to either side of the word BABY equalling 44 stitches altogether.

2. Create your foundation chain. With color A chain, or ch, 44 plus one for a turning chain. Single crochet, Sc, in the second ch from hook and Sc across the foundation chain. 44 sc. Follow whatever rule you're accustom to for turning your work and create two rows total with color A. This, along with the 5 stitches on either side of our word, will make a type of border around the word.

3. Determine which rows are working "backward" and "forward" to make sure you're building your word correctly. In most cases, all even rows are the right way or forward, and all the odd rows are backward. In other words, you're writing forward on the even rows and backward on the odds. This will ensure that you're counting the correct number of spaces and color changes to make your design work.

4. On the third row (the backward row) Sc your buffer stitches to the first color switch to color B. In the last stitch of color A, put the hook through the loop, yarn over or YO, pull through loop. It should look like this.

Then YO with color B pull through both loops of color A on the hook completing the stitch. Color B should be the only color looped on your hook.

5. (Note: if you want to fasten off and weave in all those ends feel free and ignore the steps for twisting and changing colors. Instead just follow the color changing steps located in step 4. Or use that step if you are added one color and dropping the other, weaving all ends when finished.)
Instead of fastening or cutting off color A, hold color A on top of the previous row. You will work color B around color A and crochet in the previous row as normal. This will create a tunnel around the strand of color A. When you are ready to switch colors again, hold the two color strands away from the previous row with B on top and A on bottom. Twist A behind B and continue on stitching with A.

This will keep your stitches consistant with your tension. Place color B on top of the previous row and work around it until you are ready to switch colors.

6. Remember to switch colors in the last step of the stitch of the color before the new color. So with color A, place hook through loop, YO, pull through, move color B behind color A, YO with color B, pull through both loops of color A to complete stitch. Working around previous row and alternate color. If you're moving the colors behind each other when you switch them your yarn will begin to twist together. If it becomes too much, stop and untwist, then continue working.

7. When you get to the end of the row, turn your work in the way you are accustom, still working around color B. Turn work. Wrap color B around to backside of the piece and place on top of previous row. This will create a stripe on the side of your piece.

8. Continue working, counting spaces and color changes. You should start to see progress within a few rows.

That's the wrong side view of the word.
As you continue your counting and stitching your word it design will become clearer. Believe it or not once you have the technical stuff down, lettering and changing colors within a piece becomes easy and fast paced. Once you get the concept of it you'll be doing all sorts of designs!

And here (above) is the finished project! I hope this tutorial helps. If you need anything explained better or have questions, please let me know! I'd also love feedback on it. Here's so more photos:

I used this exact method to make this blanket for little A right after we found out we were pregnant. Along with these for your viewing pleasure!

Until next time!


  1. Hi there, thanks for this tutorial! I have a colorwork/lettered project I want to begin but haven't figured out what to do about the letters yet.

    So, in your tutorial, the "making a tunnel" around the yarn thing - do you mean "carrying" the other color yarn? When I've tried that, I can never keep the color of the carried yarn from showing through the stitches of the other color. But yours looks great, even with high-contrast colors! What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hello! Thank you for your comment. This was my first tutorial I believe, I think I need to update it a bit. Yes, I mean crocheting over one color and working with the other one. The only thing I can think of that you might want to try is after working over the pervious color, before switching back pull on the color you're working over. This will get rid of any slack that can cause it to poke through your single crochets. Or if you wish, you could fasten off after each transition, though that would be a ton of weaving in ends. I hope this helps, let me know if I can be of any more help.


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