Last week I showed y’all how to make yarn jars so that you can easily work with two colors of yarn at once with minimal tangling and general skein wonkiness going down. Today I’m going to show you how to do the stitch that you might have been able to sneak a peek at in that post… the Checkerboard Crochet Stitch.
I love this stitch for 2 reasons. The first is that it is easy, if you can single crochet, you can do the checkerboard stitch. Secondly, it looks like it is anything but easy making it look like you’re a veritable crochet genius and I like when people think I’m smart :)
This tutorial is packed with pics, and I’m going to up front let you know that I don’t do this stitch the “right” way, but rather MY way, so if you’re down with it, let’s go ahead and get to the meat and bones of this post… want to learn how to crochet a checkerboard?
For this project you will need:
- Yarn in 2 colors
- Crochet hook 1-2 sizes larger than you normally work with (I love my ergonomic hook from this set here)
- Yarn jars, yarn bowls, or some way to keep yarn tidy while working (optional but encouraged)
First you’ll need to decide the size of your blocks that will create your checkerboard pattern. I think 5 stitches is a pretty common number and that’s what I am using here. If you’re making a gigantic blanket, I’d suggest much, much larger blocks to keep the color changes minimal. This is an easy stitch but there is some finagling that goes down every color change and if you have to do it a million times over the course of a king sized blanket you’re gonna pull your hair out. <— Trust me on this one.
Since we’re working in fives were going to chain in a multiple of 5. My swatch is 4 blocks wide so 4 blocks x 5 stitches per blocks = 20 chain stitches to start. Add 2 more chain stitches. (This is where I differ from others, most will tell you to chain once but I find that my shape gets weird if I don’t toss an extra in there).
Starting in the third chain from the hook single crochet. Single crochet in the next 2 chains as well.
The next stitch is where we’re going to switch colors. Start a single crochet stitch in the next chain.
Complete the yarn over and pull through so that you have 2 loops on your hook as seen above.
Bring in your second color and pull it through both loops finishing of that crochet stitch. You’re now going to make 4 single crochet stitches in the next 4 chains using the new color. As you work, hold the yarn, as it comes off of the skein, with the chain and crochet around it with your new color. (** I’ll have some pics better showing this off below)
Begin a fifth single crochet in the next chain but stop after the yarn over and pull through, where you have 2 loops on your hook.
Drop the second yarn color and pick the first back up. Use it to finish this single crochet stitch.
**Hold the second color of yarn along the chain and using the first color crochet over the second color of yarn with single crochets in the next 4 stitches. Start your fifth and color change by dropping your current yarn, picking up the other and finishing the single crochet with the next color.
Continue this down to the end.
As you work you’ll need to pull the non-working color (the one you’re crocheting over) tight before switching colors. In the pic above you can kind of see pink peeking through the gold, but you can definitely see gold peeking through the pink, right?
Before each color change take the yarn you’ve worked over and pull it nice and taut. This will pull the crochet stitches closer together and limit the amount of other color you see in your blocks.
To start your next row of stitches chain twice (will act as your first single crochet). Pull your other color of yarn on top of the previous row and stitch over it with single crochets in the next 3 spots, crocheting through both loops.
This stitch is done in both loops through the entire piece. You can see above how the hook is going through both.
Start a fourth single crochet, stopping at the yarn over and pull through so that you have 2 loops on the hook.
Pull the second color of yarn nice and taut to limit the amount of it showing through the stitches and on the end. Drop the color you’re working with and pick up the first to finish off the stitch.
Continue down the length changing colors as you go.
Repeat the color scheme through the next 2 rows for 4 total rows of the same.
When it’s time to change colors you’ll start with a chain 2 with your new color.
Continue as you have changing your colors every fifth stitch for 4 rows.
As you continue working your stitches the checkerboard pattern will take shape. Now each end when you swap over the color you’ll have a visible cross over. If this is avoidable I can’t figure it out so I’d suggest making sure your yarn crosses over on the same side of the fabric each time. This way you’ll have a perfect “pretty” side and one with the color changes visible on the edges.
At that, my friends, is that. Isn’t it a fun stitch? Now in the beginning I suggested that you work with a hook a bit larger than you’d normally use and the reason is because it is so, so easy to accidentally start working this stitch too tight, especially with pulling the second color taut to keep it from being too visible. You can clearly see in my swatch that my stitches got tighter the further I worked. After a bit of practice, my second and third set of blocks finally settled it out. As such I’d really suggest working a sample swatch before you start your big project to work the kinks out of your gauge.
Though this isn’t exactly a mindless stitch since you’re constantly counting out your five for the color change, it is a fun one and really simple once you get the hang of it. At first you might get your count wrong and your blocks will look strange but, again, practice will set that straight in no time.
What do you think? Is the checkerboard crochet stitch one of your faves, too?