How I create my Crochet Charts

Sometimes people have asked me how I create the crochet charts I add to some of my programs. In the past I have given a long wordy explanation in reply and felt that people were hoping for a simple answer: like “I use such and such program.” Which of course does it all for you!

However it is not really that bad, especially if you make them more than once, so I though it might be helpful to some people if I gave a more graphic explanation.

This will include my latest refinements. My earlier charts were much more freehand in many cases.

To keep things fairly simple as a start I will deal with something I did recently which was to create a chart for how I like to create Granny Squares. I didn’t have to start from scratch but I will explain how to do this as if I did.

Of course the one thing you need for this is a drawing program. I use a copy of Corel Draw that I bought for about £80 many years ago. They do a much more extensive package but their current cut down version costs about £115.

However you may find you already have something you can use. My version of Office 2000 (Yes! I haven’t upgraded) has drawing tools that from a quick survey does all the things that you might want. I use a free program called Libre Office for creating my pdfs and that also has drawing tools. It appears that it, like Word, can do everything you might need.

The main crochet item in a Granny Square is the group of the three trebles (US-dcs) that are repeated for several rounds. The treble (or dc) is a common item in many patterns so creating a basic one is a very useful thing to have. Having made one it can be saved as a resource and then cut and pasted for use in future charts.

While you are making a treble it might be useful to make a full set of stitches for future use.

To make the treble (US-dc) first draw vertical line. It can be useful to make the length a multiple of three however you judge this. The program should have some way of telling how long a line is. I tend to judge things by eye a lot of the time but also use the grid that can be set up on Corel.

Then you add a shorter horizontal line and combine the two together. You can ‘group’ items together and grouping the lines will mean they will henceforth move together as one. It is useful at this point to copy each item as you make it and paste it to one side for future reference or use.

Another short line which can be drawn at an angle and positioned across the upright before grouping will complete the stitch.

A half treble (US-hdc) is a shorter line with a top bar. Copying the upright line on the side and shortening it to 2/3 then adding the same top line will create what you need.

For the dc (US-sc) A line of one third height is a start. A copy of this line can be rotated by 90 degrees and then placed half way up the first line.

Now all you need are ovals to represent chains.

The oval should be about the same width as the dc (sc) so that three will be the same height as the treble (dc).

A final useful item is a dot to represent a slip stitch. This can be made as a small filled in circle of a suitable size.

Now you have a useful set of stitches.

Do remember to save a copy of these as a resource from which you can copy and paste to create your charts

When you are creating those charts these can be stretched to increase or decrease in size together. The thickness of the lines used can also be altered depending on the chart you are creating and what looks best to you.

The small black squares in the picture (top right) show the nodes that appear in Corel to allow you to stretch your shapes.

Now to Create a Granny Square chart

To create your basic three treble (dc) group copy the treble (dc) three times and angle the ones to the left and right by an equal amount.

Now I am being more precise I chose 30 degrees but some programs may only allow you to do it by eye. Adjust the trebles (dcs) till they align nicely. It might be worth looking at other people’s charts, as there are different styles, and choose one you like.

Now remember to group the three trebles (dcs) so you can move them as one and also save a copy to the side and with your other basic stitches somewhere safe so you don’t need to do this again.

For a Granny Square you will need these treble (dc) groups in four orientations for top, bottom and two sides. So make four copies and rotate one of them by 90 degrees to left and one to 90 degrees to the right and  another by 180 degrees.

You don’t group these but should put them to one side of your workspace so you can copy and paste each of them as your create your chart.

Obviously for a Granny Square you also need chains. Different people use different amounts of chain I have noticed but I use one chain in the sides and two chains in the corners so that is what I will show here but you can adjust to suit your way of working.

You will need horizontal chains for top and bottom, vertical chains for the sides and two chains at an angle of about 45 degrees right and left for the corners.

Find the three chains you saved, copy them twice on your workspace and group two of them together for the corners and leave one separate. Then rotate one of the single chains through 90 degrees and rotate the two sets of two chain through 45 degrees to left and right.

Of course sometimes you need to use chains instead of a treble (dc). So for this copy the three chains and group them. Then copy a three treble (dc) granny group and ungroup it, remove the rightmost treble dc) and replace with the three chains angled the same as the treble you removed.

Save a copy of this with the other items on your workspace and with your set of stitches.

Copy over your slip stitch to you workspace (no picture necessary for this I think).

Now just one more thing needed. The centre of a Granny Square is normally either a ring of chains or a magic loop.

So you need to create one of these. I think five chains is best for the middle of a Granny Square.

I had to draw the magic loop symbol freehand so you can see why I avoid it. (Drawing freehand that is.)

However writing this post inspired me to spend time manufacturing a better version.

which I will use in future.

 

You will need a slip stitch for closing the loop but you can best add this when you add the groups of trebles (dcs) round the centre.

It is worth saving this with your other basic stitches for future reference.

Now you have all you need to create your chart.

This would be a good time to decided the best size for you drawing items to create the design you want in the space. You can stretch or diminish them for size.

This is how I chose to make mine.

You now need to place them to create the chart.

You can copy the shapes you need. It is quite a good idea to copy the shape to the clipboard, then move it where you want, and then choose ‘paste’ which will restore the shape where it was originally. This can be done multiple times if necessary. However there are times when it is quicker to use copy then paste immediately. This leaves you with two copies one on top of the other. You do need to move the top one straightaway or you could end up with a double copy,which, if you don’t realise it, could cause problems later.

For a Granny Square I would start at the centre.

The central loop can be rotated if the gap for the slip stitch is not in the right place. The other shapes can be placed by eye until they create a suitable arrangement.

Now my method of making Granny Squares is probably non-standard in that I like to start the next round in the previous gap, because I think that obscures the fact that the first treble (dc) is three chains. This means removing the hook and pulling the yarn into that space from back to front which I would describe in the written version but here, simply place the corresponding shape a bit to the right.

 

I was wanting to create a four round Granny Square so I went from 2 rounds to 3.

and then finally, I had my chart.

 

You should be able to export your drawing as an image. If not you could use ‘Print Screen’ and crop. If you export the diagram this may change the relative thickness of the lines but this can be adjusted in the original.

And so you have your granny square ready to insert into a blog page or document.

You can also colour each round in different colours, either for clarity of for granny squares to be made in four different colours, such as this chart below.

Or if you want to suggest using standing trebles (dcs) for rounds two to four instead of the three chains, there is this one.

However I have also been experimenting with a different way of creating granny squares where it is not necessary to remove the hook. I have also seen this elsewhere and so I created a chart for this method.

In many ways it is similar in that the three chains are in the centre of a corner. I cannot decide if I prefer this method or not. I think, on the whole, it is quicker but I get a slightly better result with my method. I also find that my method makes it easier to make an invisible join at the end of the round. This can sometimes be useful rather than ending with a slip stitch.

Having the basic shapes, with a slight adjustment to the angles of the components of your granny groups, you can easily go on from here to create a chart for a Granny Stripe. Judicious cutting and pasting can speed up the process, since you can copy sections and even whole rows.

Again not everyone works a Granny Stripe in exactly the same way. This was the way I though was best when I started my Project Book about ten years ago.

book cover

I hope this may have inspired some of you to give it a go

Would love to hear how you got on, if you do.

P.S.

One thing I might usefully add is that I have been making quite a few charts lately and I had realised while making this post that my Granny Square chart while perfectly useful was not a perfect square.

Adding a square or other appropriate shape while creating the chart can help make them more perfect.

Working on another chart that involved a circular arrangement. I remembered this. and added a square and circle.

7 thoughts on “How I create my Crochet Charts

  1. I used to purchase a magazine that was full of diagrams like this. I made at least 1 item from every monthly magazine. I loved working from diagrams. I think the original publisher was in France. I really miss reading those charts. After getting used to them, it’s very hard to follow row by row written instructions. I do much more knitting now-a-days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. spookily I’ve been trying to work out the best way to design a chart – I’m going to start on paper and then transfer to the pc – I did find a free spoftware package (Crochet Charts) through Ravelry, which seems really comprehensive, but your post is going to be really useful. Thank you for sharing your methods.

    Liked by 1 person

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