Reading Crochet Graphs

Reading Crochet Graphs by Happily Hooked Magazine

featured image is a free graph pattern by Stardust Gold Crochet

Reading crochet graphs can seem intimidating at first, yet once you learn the basics, you'll be creating works of art as a master!  Of course, it is so satisfying to work from a graph as it takes the guesswork out of what your final project will look like when it's finished!

What on earth can I make using a graph?

Graphs are useful when creating smaller squares (like in our Big Boy Blanket) to piece together or create a large blanket or throw.  The image below is called a graphgan, combining a graph image with an afghan.
There's no secret to reading crochet graphs! Furthermore, once you learn how to read crochet graphs, you can create any style project using them, from headbands to sweaters, and even pillows!

Portrait of my parents, by Rae

A portrait crochet piece was done in single crochet.

What stitches do I use?

To start, we recommend starting your graph journey using single crochet, then experiment with some of these other great graphing stitches and techniques.  Here are some common stitches used in crocheting with graphs:

  • Single crochet
  • Half double crochet
  • Double crochet
  • Corner-to-corner (c2c)
  • Mini c2c
  • Waffle stitch
  • Tunisian Crochet
  • Puff Stitch

In this post, we will use a single crochet as an example.
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Graphs vs. Charts

Crochet graphs and crochet charts are very different.  Let's go through the differences here.

Crochet Graphs

Graphs come in handy for colorwork techniques (changing colors from square to square) and in filet crochet.  A graph is very similar to those used in cross-stitch or perler bead patterns. They are typically an image of your piece with an overlay to help you count squares.  Here are some crochet graph basics and tips:

  • One square equals one stitch.
  • Print your chart out
  • Mark off squares as you go or…
  • Count up all the squares per row up-front and create your own stitch instructions.

Crochet Charts

On the other hand, charts use crochet stitch symbols to illustrate how a project is worked. Crochet charts are used to create hats, scarves, shawls – practically anything you can create with a hook.
crochet chart vs crochet graph

Reading Crochet Graphs

We will walk through how to start your project and how to read a crochet graph.

  • Start with a chain in your first color.
  • Then crochet the same number of stitches in your graph and it is up to you whether you use a turning chain or not.
  • Read your graph from the bottom right-hand corner (note: one square is equal to one stitch)
  • Draw an arrow to remember the direction of the row you are working on.
  • Draw a line through the rows you complete.

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Crocheting Your Graph

Row 1: Starts at the bottom of the chart and reads from right to left. In the image below, you will work 5 single crochets for each large grid for a total of 50 stitches. Turn your work.
Row 2:  The next row is the second from the bottom and reads from left to right.
Row 3:  Reads right to left
Rows 4 – X:  Continue up the graph alternating from side-to-side, until you're finished
Right-click and “save image as” or press and hold (on mobile) to save the image below for printing.
Happily Hooked Smile graph patternRead Crochet Graph - HHM


Finish off by weaving in your ends for a reversible piece, or by backing your project to hide your ends and you're done.
Therefore, while there are many techniques for creating tapestry crochet pieces, now that you know how to read a graph, you've got a great start!
We hope you enjoyed learning to read a graph today!  If you are new to Happily Hooked Magazine, here is a little about what we are about!
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Reading Crochet Graphs

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