Whether you are looking for a riot of colour or working in neutrals ripples add interest to your crochet. Ripples can be used for every project from warm king-size blankets to elegant clutch bags and the variety of different ripple patterns means you will never get bored. Of course, we love ripples because they are very wearable, they make a perfect shawl or cardigan trim or add interest to mitts and hats.
What is a Ripple?
A ripple fabric is one where increases and decreases are used to decorative effect to create a fabric with an undulating top and bottom edge. Making the increases create a “hill”; the decreases create a “valley” in the work. Increases and decreases must be paired, so the stitch count remains the same and the width of the fabric made doesn’t grow or shrink.
A ripple is a really meditative pattern to make, easy to remember but enough interest to stop it becoming boring.
Ripples are fairly easy once you get going as they are usually only one or two row pattern repeats. You need to pay careful attention to set the pattern up and keep a careful check as you go that your ripples are happening in the right place. It helps to note where the increase and decrease stitches fall in the pattern (for example do you always begin increasing in the stitch before the first increase of the row below.) Keep a check to make sure the fabric looks how its supposed to, just one stitch askew can stop the ripples developing properly.
Make sure you understand all the terms in the pattern before you begin. To increase you will normally work two or more stitches into the same stitch, to decrease you will either be working two or more stitches together or missing stitches.
Before you dive in, its best to try out the pattern in a smaller swatch to make sure you understand what you are doing. Try out the pattern with at least three full repeats before you chain 400 to make a bedspread!
Choosing a pattern and colours
When choosing a ripple pattern, think about what the item will be used for and how you'd like the fabric to behave. Ripple patterns worked in double crochet will be stiffer than those worked in trebles. A pattern that misses stitches will create little holes, very pretty on a scarf but perhaps not so suitable for a cushion cover where the cushion would show through.
You can be as bold with colour as you like, ripples can look stunning in all the colours of the rainbow or worked in a range of natural tones. Most yarn ranges have been designed so that the colours all tone well together so if you stick within one yarn type you can be certain of success.
To really make the ripples pop, especially if you are working in a single colour or a muted palette work all the right side rows in the back loops only to create a rippled ridge.
TOP TIP Count carefully at the end of each row until you are very familiar with the pattern.
You should be ready to give rippling a go. Here is a fairly simple and very pretty ripple pattern for you to try. Follow the Step by step instructions and then see how this pattern would be written out.
You will need:
2 or more colours of yarn and a suitable hook (we used Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply in teal, willow and silver and a 3.5mm hook)
A yarn needle to weave in ends.
Step 1: Chain a multiple of 17 plus 1 more (we chained 52)
Step 2: Starting in the second chain from the hook work a double crochet in each chain. (giving 51 stitches)
Step 3: Chain 3 and work two trebles into each of the next three stitches.
Step 4: Miss the next stitch, treble in the next one. Repeat four times more.
Step 5: Miss the next stitch, then work 2 trebles into each of the next 6 stitches.
Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5 until four stitches remain unworked, miss the next stitch, work 2 trebles into each of the next 3 stitches. (you will still have 51 stitches)
Step 7: Chain 1, work a double crochet into each stitch across. Fasten off the yarn.
Step 8: Attach a new colour and repeat steps 3 to 7. To give a crisp colour change work into the back loops only of each stitch on steps 3 to 6.
TOP TIP: Weave in ends in small batches as you go or fasten off securely and work over the top.
The pattern can be written out like this:
If you would like to learn more about Ripples, Joanne is teaching a class in Cambridge, UK on Saturday 29th October 2016. Click here for more details or to book.
If you'd like to try Ripples out as part of a pattern we have three lovely patterns that use ripples as an edging.
Yealm Shawl with its beautiful ripple pattern
Alchemilla hap shawl features a rippled lacy border
Aruacaria Cardigan has a bobbled and rippled shawl collar.
This tutorial is adapted from one written by Joanne for Love Crochet magazine and is republished with permission.