Chaining Multiples in Crochet

By Erin Burger – 26 Comments

I’ve been adding a lot of ‘How to Crochet’ type posts lately about special stitches and trims to add to your crocheting arsenal. In the comments of almost every one of these posts there is a question about an important part of the stitch/trim instructions, the beginning chain and what it means to ‘chain a multiple of’.

Some of us might have seen the term ‘multiple’ in crochet stitch instructions and convulsed in fear, being that it is so reminiscent of grade school math. If you aren’t familiar with this term, the definition is: the product of a quantity by an integer; “36 is a multiple of 9″.

To get you started, this is the Chevron Stitch:


(the instructions for the chevron stitch can be found here: Three Special Stitches for Your Crocheting Arsenal)
In order to complete a successful chevron pattern you have to have the correct number of starting chains. But, because instructions like these are meant to teach only the stitch/trim itself and not give you an end product of a certain size, like a scarf or a blanket, you have to figure out how many chains to chain and apply it to each individual project. That’s where the term ‘multiple of’ comes in. The beginning chain for the chevron stitch is a ‘multiple of 12 plus 3′.

So in order to complete the chevron stitch properly we have to chain a multiple of 12 and then add 3 to replicate a turning chain in the instructions. So for a washcloth we might chain 24 and then chain 3 more for a total of 27 for our beginning chain. 24 because 12 can be multiplied by another number (2 in this instance) and will equal 24, making 24 a multiple of 12.

See how simple?

Here is another example:

This is The Classic Checkerboard Stitch:


(the instructions for the checkerboard stitch can be found here: Stitches for Your Crocheting Arsenal: Part 2)
It’s beginning chain instruction is ‘chain a multiple of 6 plus 5′. So in order to successfully complete The Classic Checkerboard Stitch you have to figure out the approximate size of your intended project and then chain a multiple of 6: 6, 12, 16, 24, 30, 36, 42, for example and then add 5 to the multiple in order to replicate a turning chain for the next row of your stitch.

Playing around with these stitches and trims helps you become a more efficient and creative crocheter. Applying the multiple rule to your projects gives you many applications for crocheting projects such as the aforementioned washcloths but also scarfs, tablecloths, headbands, blankets, place mats and many more.

Have any questions or comments about chaining multiples? Don’t be shy, leave a comment here!

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26 Comments

  1. EstherFaye says:

    I am so glad you posted this today! I need your advice on a similar subject.
    I was having problems last week with “multipliers” when trying to increase a pattern. How do you do that with out the “multiple of x, plus y” anyways!? For instance, a Lion Brand pattern will say, “Ch 183.” This is for a 40″ x 46″ finished product. But I wanted to make it bigger. Unfortunately, I could not just double the pattern without taking into account the multiplier. So I graphed the pattern and did so much math on a single piece of paper that it looked like a prop from A Beautiful Mind, but I still ended up with the wrong chain amount once worked. I figured it to be multiple of 7, plus 1 and ended up with some leftover chains after 266 chains and nearly as many stitches. This is very frustrating, as I was certain that my big brain had figured it out and all was right with the world. PLEASE HELP!

  2. Jennifer says:

    EstherFaye: Wow what an ordeal….I know that you might be wanting to hear from Rachel, but I wanted to donate my “2 cents”! ;)

    If the pattern you are working with is a multiple of “7 plus one”….and the origanal pattern calls for 183 chains, take 183-1=182 then devide by 7=26. So this tells us that the origanal pattern will have 26 repeats of that particular stitch. So lets say that you actually wanted it to repeat 36 times, (making your project bigger) you would take your 36 repeats and multiply by 7=252 then you would add the “plus 1″=253. And there you go: your starting chain would be 253. I hope that this was helpful. Thanks Jen~

  3. EstherFaye says:

    Thanks Jennifer. My actual question is what is a good way to figure the multiple with just the pattern and directive of beginning chains? I mean, how can you be certain that you have the right one? I thought I did, but I ended up with extra chains. Maybe I just screwed the math up?

  4. Jennifer says:

    EstherFaye~ Okay, that probably is little different….Trying to find the Multiple, when that particular information is not available. I am not quite sure how you would go about figuring that one out…..Rachel….Rachel…..Esther and I would like to see what your thoughts are on this. :)

    • Rachel says:

      It all depends on the pattern, but the basic approach to figuring out what the multiple is when it is not written is to look at the repeat in the pattern, the part that is between the stars * * or in parentheses ( ). You would have to count the number of stitches that are used in the repeat. For example, one of my shell patterns says “ch 2, sc in second ch from hook, (skip 2, 5 dc in next ch, skip 2, sc in next ch) across” so to count the chains needed in this repeat count the stitches used in the ( ):

      skip 2 = 2 chains
      5 dc in next ch = 1 chain
      skip 2 = 2 chains
      sc in next ch = 1 ch

      so that’s … 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 = 6 chains. So the chain in this case would have to be a multiple of 6. If you want to write it with the plus, it would be multiple of 6 + 2. The 2 comes from the “ch 2″ that is before the repeat.

      Of course, all patterns are different, so when you have to figure out the multiple for a patten when it is not written, remember to look at the stitches used within the repeat to get the multiple and look at the stitches before the repeat to find the turning chain or anything you have to add to the multiple. Also, try working it out using a small swatch first before you go all out doing a blanket size. It might help you test the multiple number you think it is without giving you the headache of having to takeout a lot of work if it’s wrong.

  5. T W says:

    Multiples of 6: 6, 12, 18…
    Thanks, Rachel!

  6. EstherFaye says:

    Dude! You rock Rachel! Thank you so much for the help. And thank you too, Jennifer. I appreciate any advice from fellow crocheters!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Yep – THANK YOU so much Rachel!!! And thank you too Ester for asking that question….I love learning something new everyday, especially when it’s about crochet! :)

  8. Caroline says:

    I’m curious to know what the Lion Brand pattern was that started this all off!

  9. EstherFaye says:

    It was the Modern Alchemy Afghan.

  10. Maria says:

    Hey guys, I’m having a bit of a problem with hiding the ends. For some reason, my ends keep coming out after washing. I know there must be a great tip out there as to how to how that tread really well so that when the items are washed, they don’t start sticking out and making your item look really cheap and not well thought out. I’m afraid that no one tells me this is happening because they don’t want to hurt my feelings. Please, if there is anyone out there that can help me with a sure way to hide that tread so that it does come out, I’d love you forever!!! Thank you and I’m sorry this had nothing to do with this post. But I’m in dyer streights with this.

  11. T W says:

    To Maria: I usually use Fabritac to keep the ends of my works from coming loose. I bought a bottle of it at Michaels. It’s quite expensive (to me) but I used a coupon for 40% off and that made it a lot more affordable to me. If you sign up for their weekly emails at Michaels.com, I think the first coupon you get may even be for 50% off.
    First, I weave the ends in, then pull them tight and trim off any that’s already fraying, then apply the Fabritac to the very end, using a tooth pick. Before it has time to dry, I pull it back into the work so it’s not showing.
    So far, that’s the best solution I’ve found. I hope that helps. Good luck!

  12. Erin says:

    Hi Maria,

    TW’s tip is great. If you need any more help, please see this post: http://www.crochetspot.com/perfecting-your-craft-finishing-the-project/

    Thanks!

  13. Diane Helman says:

    I want to thank Esther for asking this question!! I have wondered how to do that so many times!! And….thank you Rachel for answering! Wonderful, now I know how!! Made my day, girls. :=)

  14. Marsha Stevens says:

    Do you have a pattern to crochet a rose?

  15. Maria says:

    Thank you TW and Erin so much for the advice. I will pick up that Fabritac ASAP!! and try it. I love you guys, and I love this site. Thank you Rachael.

  16. Patricia says:

    So I too am having a hard time with figuring out multiples! The pattern starts on the second row: Ch 3 (counts as first dc throughout), dc in next st, [sk next 2 sts, tr in each of next 2 sts, working behind tr sts just made, tr in each of the 2 sk sts, sk next 2 sts, tr in each of next 2 sts, working in front of tr sts just made, tr in each of the 2 sk sts] 24 times, dc in each of last 2 sts, turn.

    Then you just repeat that row for the rest of the blanket. The beginning ch is 101 (and the first row says to sc in second chain from hook and repeat to the end so you wind up with 100 sc), but it is not wide enough even with a bigger hook. I count multiples of 8 + 4. In the brackets I count the pattern as having 8 stitches and the + 4 is the ch 3 at the beginning and the dc in the next stitch after that plus the 2 dc at the end, but my math does not add up!

    I hope what I wrote makes sense! Can you please help! I horrible at figuring these things out! Thanks in advance..Patty

  17. Erin says:

    Hi Patricia,
    I think that the beginning chain count might be wrong, because it states to repeat the bracketed parts ’24′ times…there are 8 stitches in the bracket plus the three on the outside of the brackets so a beginning chain should be 8X24 plus 4 (counting the sc you skip in the beginning row).

    I’m horrible at this as well, and usually end up trying out many different numbers until I happen upon the right one, so I might not be the absolute all knowing power on this one!

    BUT as far as I can tell from the pattern, that’s what I think the beginning chain should be.

    Thanks and I hope I helped out,

    Erin

  18. Vickie says:

    I made an afghan a long time ago. It was a zig-zag single crochet with one variegated color. I think I remember doing 13 stitches-2 or 3 stitches in next stitch-13 stitches-skip 2 stitches-repeat (I could be wrong about the 13). It ended up being about 4 1/2 feet by 6 feet. I’d like to make another one but bigger (6′ x 8′) with two colors, maybe 15 rows at a time of each color (continuous, without having to piece anything together). I’m going to use a ‘J’ hook with a basic yarn. Can anyone help with how long the chain should be, what the actual pattern would be, and how much yarn I need of each color? I’ve tried looking for a pattern, but the closest I found was a baby blanket with five stitches at a time up and down. I want the zig-zag to be a little longer than that.

  19. Estena says:

    Thanku for your help but what is the
    Chain a multiple of 2 plus 1. and Chain a
    multipe of 4 plus 9 as they apply to the
    V-Stitch
    Please help Thanku Estena

  20. Judi Gums says:

    Thank you for your definition of multiples. For those of us who’s minds sometimes goes blank when talking about the mathematical part of a pattern, I like to think in a little different way. I count the number of stitches required to do one rep of the pattern…..such as with the Chevron Stitch, each point takes 12 stitches. I figure out how many points I will need for the width of the project I am making, multiply 12 times the number of points. Then add on the extra chains for the turning chain.
    Just an easier way for me to figure it out.

    I have also heard people say they add extra chains just in case their count is wrong, then they cut the remaining chain and tie it off.

    You can also count the stitches needed for each pattern rep. rather then taking the time to multiply it out…..1-12, for each point of the Chevron. And add the turning chain at the end.

    Hope I haven’t been too confusing. Happy stitching.
    Judi G

  21. Hope neal says:

    I have a pattern that says to make larger chain in multiples of 24 + 27. Would that actually be 24+3?

  22. Hope neal says:

    Thanks a million!!!!!!

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