Crochet Checkerboard

The Crochet Checkerboard (in red and white), to the best of my research, first appeared in a late 1800s magazine called "The Royal Crochet Worker" by W. Carter (London: Published by J.T. Wood). It was the base of a lace collar, done using fine thread.

The first recorded historical use of the checker board design, in red and white, is seen in the Croatian Coat of Arms, 1495. It appeared (woven) for American country living in the late 1600s.

My guess is that some American 1800s Good Wife, that loved crochet, adapted "The Royal Crochet Worker" pattern to larger thread (most likely all that was available), and not owning a loom she crocheted her own. However, I wouldn't put it past some crafty Croatian Woman, or any 'medieval' Woman (for that matter) as the origin dates of Crochet are not clear, and who knows where "The Royal Crochet Worker" magazine's author of the pattern learned how?

I personally love this stitch pattern (as apposed to others out there) because its easy, and carrying the thread means a little shows through (giving it an almost woven appearance).

How to Make the Crochet Checkerboard

Big squares, little squares, alternating stripes - this stitch pattern is a great way to change colors and keep sides straight. I've not tried it with very thin thread, but I imagine it looks about the same. You can also use this idea with other stitches, such as half double crochet, or double crochet. In other words, PLAY with this idea and have fun! What I'll be showing you is using single crochet, which is how the original crochet checkerboard was written.

For Single Crochet chain the number of stitches you decide on for each block, multiplied by the number of blocks you intend to have, +1. Remember that double crochet or triple crochet would add more at the end. Half Double Crochet, either +1 or +2, Double crochet, either +2 or +3. Triple crochet, +3.

So lets say you want to make 4 single crochet blocks of 5 stitches (which is what I'm going to do), that would equal 20 stitches (4 x 5), +1 gives you your start chain.

Total Start Chain: 21, Pick whichever starting color you want, I'm going to use white. Use a hook that works well with the yarn you're using, I'm using an I/9 - 5.5mm. The color of your chain will be the color of the first block.

Making Your 1st Blocks (Making the Crochet Checkerboard)

Start in the 2nd chain from your hook and single crochet one less then the total you want for each block (so a 5 stitch block would be 4, a 10 stitch block would be 9, etc.). 

The last stitch of a block (for me it would be stitch number 5) is where you change color.

Pull up a loop, but don't finish the stitch.


Wrap your second color (red) around your hook and finish the single crochet stitch.

Holding the loose red end, and the white yarn (crocheting around and over them), single crochet 4 stitches. Make sure and snug your yarn, you want the strands to stay the same as your other crochet stitches (not too tight). Give it just a little tug.

Always crochet over and around the yarn you're not using. In this case you are also including the loose thread from changing color. You can drop the loose end when you start crocheting in the same color (later pull it tight and snip it).

Counting the stitches in your block continue, stopping on the last stitch for that block, and do the color change as above. Pull up a loop, drop your current color, pick up the next color and finish the stitch. Always making sure you hold the loose thread so you crochet around and over it.

At the beginning of each row chain 1 and turn, then pick up the loose yarn (snug it tight) and crochet across as instructed in above.

Hint: Just before you color change, give the loose thread a little tug to pull it tight. Not so tight that you pucker your work, but enough to straighten it out. As you crochet the loose thread often puckers a little, this little tug keeps things looking wonderful.

Block Color Change (making the Crochet Checkerboard)

To begin simply drop your current color and pick up the next - then chain 1 and turn. You'll follow all the instructions above, except you'll be working in opposite colors.

I love the 'look' of the crochet checkerboard stitch pattern. The 'visible' thread going through seems to add that Country Charm that folks are looking for, when looking at the red and white blocked items in the store. Crochet your own picnic blanket, this is a perfect stitch pattern for baby blankets, make a large Checker Board Game for children, or match colors to a bedroom or living room and make a large afghan or throw.

Try your hand at a Checkerboard Placemat.

Checkerboard Placemat

You can easily add some country charm to your table with this free Checkerboard Placemat pattern.


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