One of the best things about crochet is that you can start with a pattern that’s ready to go and then make small changes to create an end product that is uniquely your own. In the research for my book about the health benefits of crochet I interviewed many people who said that crochet offered them the chance to be creative in this way without having to start from scratch like they would have with other arts and crafts, such as painting.
Here, we’ll look at the most common simple ways to alter a crochet pattern.
First, Choose Your Pattern
Before we look at the ways to adapt a pattern, we need a pattern to start with. Remember that adaptations can affect project gauge so they work best for patterns where size doesn’t matter so much such as scarves, stuffed animals and décor.
In this case, we’re using Mini Hearts, a free Crochet Today pattern. Note that this pattern originally called for Bamboo Wool yarn but I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted Red Heart with Wool, which is a comparable yarn. I used a pink color called Pixie.
Modification 1: Choose a Different Yarn Color
The easiest way to make a pattern your own is to use the same yarn that the pattern calls for but in a different color. You don’t have to make any other changes and yet you immediately personalize your item. In this case, I’ve switched from Pixie Pink to Cream.
Modification 2: 4 Ways to Enlarge a Pattern
There are four simple adaptations that you can make to easily make a product larger than the pattern calls for:
1. Use the same yarn with a larger hook.
For example, I’ve gone from the H hook that the Mini Hearts pattern originally called for to a K hook, making the heart slightly bigger.
2. Double-strand the yarn.
Hold two pieces of the yarn together and work the pattern with the same hook size or a larger hook size. Here I’ve combined one strand of the Pixie with one strand of the Cream and used the original H hook size. It makes a heart that is slightly larger than the original pattern.
3. Increase the height of stitches.
The Mini Hearts crochet pattern consists mostly of single crochet stitches so in my example I’ve done double crochet stitches in place of all single crochets. There are also a few double crochets in the original pattern, so I doubled those as well using double treble stitches instead.
4. Thicker Yarn
Although not shown here, a fourth way to enlarge a crochet pattern is to use a thicker yarn. The Red Heart with Wool is a size four medium weight yarn. Using a size 5 or 6 bulky yarn instead would create a larger crochet heart.
Modification 3: Make a Smaller Crochet Item
You can use the reverse of the above enlarging techniques to make a smaller crochet product than the original pattern. In other words, you can use a thinner yarn and/ or a smaller hook. You could also decrease the height of stitches; for example a pattern that calls for double crochet stitches could be made with single crochets instead.
In my example, I’ve switched to a slightly smaller G size hook. I’ve also gone from a size 4 yarn weight to Red Heart Stardust, which is a Weight 1 super fine yarn. You can see that this has made a big difference in the size of my mini heart.
Modification 4: Switch to a Different Yarn Type
So far we’ve looked at using a different color yarn, a different weight of yarn. You can also use the same weight of a different type/ brand of yarn to get a different look for your pattern. In this example, I switched from Red Heart with Wool to Red Heart Boutique Midnight. It is also a weight 4 yarn but is a different fiber type so the end product looks uniquely my own.
This is a reprint of a crochet article that I wrote last year for Crochet Today.