Sometimes a crochet pattern will include a line that has numbers after the word multiple. It could be something like “Multiple: 3 + 2” or “Multiple: 8 + 1.” Or, it might say something like make a starting chain of “4 + 2” stitches. What do the crochet stitch multiples mean? And, how can you use them?
Crochet stitch multiples are a set of numbers that will help you figure out how to adjust the pattern to make it wider or narrower. The first number lets you know how many stitches are in each pattern repeat. And, the second number lets you know how many extra stitches you need to add to your base chain. This post explains both parts of the stitch multiple and how to use the numbers in more detail below.
What is the first part of a crochet stitch multiple?
If you break the stitch multiple into two parts, you might refer to them as “x + y.” The “x” represents the first part of a crochet stitch multiple. It is simply the number of stitches you will need to complete one repeat of your pattern. Let’s look at a few examples of stitch patterns to see how this “x” number is determined.
In a basic swatch of single crochet, half double crochet, or double crochet, the “x” part of the stitch multiple is 1. This is because you are simply repeating the same stitch over and over again across the row. Sometimes this is also written as “Multiple: any number of stitches” because it doesn’t matter how many stitches you have in the base chain. The pattern will work across any number of stitches. The photo below illustrates this concept for a swatch of double crochet. Note the ch 3 that equals a dc also counts as 1 stitch in this swatch.
In crochet griddle stitch, the “x” part of the stitch multiple is 2. This is because you are repeating a pattern of two stitches over and over again across the row. To make the crochet griddle stitch, you make a single crochet and then you make a double crochet. And, you keep repeating those two stitches over and over. So, the first part of the stitch multiple for crochet griddle stitch is 2.
The photo below illustrates this concept for a swatch of crochet griddle stitch. In the swatch, the ch 3 that equals a double crochet stitch to start the row is not considered part of the “x” for the stitch multiple.
In the crochet sedge stitch, the “x” part of the stitch multiple is 3. This is because you are repeating a pattern made up of three stitches across the row. To make the crochet sedge stitch, you make (single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet) all in the same stitch, and then you skip two stitches. Then, you keep repeating this pattern across the row. So, the “x” number for the stitch multiple for crochet sedge stitch is 3.
The photo below illustrates this concept for a swatch of sedge stitch. In the swatch, the single crochet at the end of the row is not considered part of the “x” for the stitch multiple.
This same principle applies as the “x” part of the stitch multiple gets larger and larger. Whatever the number is in the first part of the stitch multiple, this is the number of stitches that gets repeated over and over across the row. The photo below illustrates this concept for a swatch of the stitch pattern in my Ocean Ripples Security Blanket. In the swatch, the “x” is eight and includes the stitch repeat of (sc, hdc, dc, dc, dc, hdc, sc, sc).
In the photo of the swatch below, the extra hdc and sc on the left-hand side and the extra hdc on the right-hand side are not considered part of the “x” for the stitch multiple.
What is the second part of the crochet stitch multiple?
The crochet stitch multiple is broken into two parts as “x + y.” The “y” represents the second part of the multiple. It represents the additional number of stitches you need to add to your base chain to make the edges even in your work. For example, in the sedge stitch swatch, the y would be 1 to cover the extra single crochet that is added at the end of each row to make the edges even. Thus, the stitch multiple for the sedge stitch is 3 + 1. The photo below points out where the extra stitch is in the swatch.
Sometimes a stitch multiple doesn’t include a “y” number. This means you simply use the “x” number, and you do not need to add any extra stitches. In the double crochet swatch from above, there is no need for a “y” number because there are no extra stitches. The chain 3 at the beginning of the row counts as a double crochet just like the rest of the stitches.
What about the turning chain?
If the pattern designer is including the turning chain in the stitch multiple, the designer will usually deal with this in one of two ways.
In the most typical method, the turning chain will simply be incorporated into the “y” number in the stitch multiple. This is how the stitch multiple is written, for example, in my Ocean Ripples Security Blanket pattern. There, the stitch multiple is written as 8 + 5. The “y” number here includes 3 stitches to make the edges even and 2 stitches for the turning chain. This is illustrated in the photo below. The stitch multiple is 8 + 5. I did three repeats. So, the total was 29 chains for the beginning chain which equals 24 (for the 3 repeats of 8) plus 5 (for the 3 edge stitches plus the turning chain of 2).
In another method, the designer will break out the turning chain and include a third number in the stitch multiple. We can call this number “z.” In this method, the stitch multiple could be written as x + y + z. For the same swatch, this may be written like 8 + 3 + 2 with the 2 representing the turning chain.
There are some variations in how this can be written 8 + 3 + 2 could also be written as:
- 8 + 3, plus 2 for base chain
- 8 + 3 (plus 2 more for base chain)
How do I adjust the pattern using the stitch multiple?
Once you understand the stitch multiple, it is easy to adjust a pattern to make it wider or narrower. All you need to is figure out how many times you want to repeat the stitch pattern. Multiple the “x” number by the number of times you want to repeat the pattern. Then, add the y number (and the z number if there is one) to get your total number of stitches.
In Ocean Ripple Security Blanket, for example, my stitch multiple is 8 + 5. For my sample, I wanted to repeat the pattern 6 times. So, here were the steps I went through to calculate my base chain:
- x = 8
- I want to repeat the x pattern 6 times
- So, I multiply 8 times 6
- This is equals 48
- y = 5
- So, I add 5 to my total
- 48 + 5 = 53
- I need a base chain of 53
What if I wanted to make a wider blanket and repeat the pattern in the blanket 10 times instead? This would be:
- x = 8
- I want to repeat the x pattern 10 times
- So, I multiply 8 times 10
- This is equals 80
- y = 5
- So, I add 5 to my total
- 80 + 5 = 85
- I need a base chain of 85
With the stitch multiple, you’ll now be able to adjust your projects to make them wider or narrower whenever you want!