Intarsia Plaid
Using 3 Strands of Yarn

Intarsia Plaid, Using 3 Strands of Yarn, teaches you the basics to create your own plaid designs. As you look at plaid patterns you will note that many of them are a combination of 3 colors. You can combine any 3 of your favorite colors and create your own designs. What I’m including in this lesson is a basic design to get your creative side going, and how to build your own plaid.

Throughout your work you will always carry two strands of yarn, working around them with your third. Your color change must be done in basic Intarsia style to give you straight lines. This is also explained on the page, Crochet Checkerboard.

Once you have your basic design it's important to check your gauge (explained below) as carrying 2 strands will 'lift' your rows. In the picture below you can see I crocheted 5 stitches horizontally, and only 4 vertical rows. The resulted 'lift' gave me near perfect square boxes of color.

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The term Plaid is the English word for Tartan. In Scotland families created a Tartan (combinations of colors) to identify the family, also known as the clan. You can learn a lot about the Tartan on WikipediaYou can see a listing of several registered Tartans here. What we are creating is NOT an actual ‘Tartan / Plaid’ as authentic plaids are a woven fabric (usually wool). The two pictures below show two different ways to combine your basic design to get the 'look' you want.


Note: Inside this lesson PDF you will also get full sized graphs that I created. You can use these graphs to practice before you create your own Intarsia Plaid.

Crochet Materials & Tools For Intarsia Plaid

Category: Advanced Lesson

Yarn & Hook: You can use any fiber, or any ply weight of yarn, and any size hook you want to get the 'look' you are shooting for. What will be important is that you check your gauge to make sure the 'look' is what you want.

I Used:
Herrschners 3 ply, Sport Weight.

# 0004 Black
# 0023 Dk Beige
# 0003 Yellow

Hook: Clover size G / 4.00mm

To Create Your Graph: By Hand you will use graph paper and colored pencils. You can create free graph paper here: http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/

If you have a computer program, that will create a graph, that's fine as well. I used the windows program called Publisher. Another nice program to use (free program) is called Google Sheets.

Other: Scissors, Yarn Needle (to hide your ends).

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Create Your Design, Check Your Gauge

The fun part, create your plaid design. Get out your graph paper, or pick the computer program you want to work with and have fun coloring. I strongly suggest you start simple. This will give you a feel for this kind of crochet.

After you have your design pick one block of it and test it out with the fiber and hook you picked. Don't cut your yarn so you can unravel it. This is the best way to 'see' what your design looks like. Remember that carrying the extra yarn will 'lift' your stitches expanding the size of your rows.

Most plaid designs are not 'blocky' like the lesson pattern I've created. So get creative with your own design. If you want to see what plaid designs look like here's the link again: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tartans

Learn Intarsia Plaid

Just like any other Intarsia project the grid, or graph, is where it all starts. The only actual difference in Intarsia Plaid, is that the pattern you create should continue to repeat as many times as you desire. The pictures above show an example of how to 'build' your plaid.

Review the Tartan / Plaid list, that I linked to above, to get examples of plaid designs. Creating your Intarsia Plaid design is as simple as coloring in blocks. Again, if you don't know how to do Intarsia Crochet please start with these links.

Learning Basic Color Change: http://www.moms-crochet.com/intarsia-crochet-basic.html
This can also be helpfulhttp://www.moms-crochet.com/crochet-checkerboard.html

Remember that you will always carry two strands of yarn, and crochet around them with a third (no cut and tie).

Your graph becomes your pattern. Each row represents a row of crochet.

VERY IMPORTANT: You start by following your graph from right to left - the next row would be from left to right. Check off each row as you crochet it. I put a little arrow at the beginning of my rows so I remember what direction I'm crocheting in. Start from the bottom of your graph and work up.

To calculate your beginning chain count the blocks in one full row of your design, add 1. 


Remember to leave long tail ends so you can use your yarn needle and hide them when you’re done.


After the chain simply hold the 2 extra strands in place and single crochet around them.

At the beginning of each row you will always chain 1 and turn your work.

JUST BEFORE each color change, or after about 10 stitches (whichever comes first), check the BACK of your work. It's not uncommon for the yarn to pucker up (image on the left). Gently pull the yarn to snuggle it back inside your work (image on the right). Be VERY careful not to pull too hard. 

Pulling too hard will result in your crochet warping (image on the left). You want your crochet to be smooth and straight (image on the right). I suggest you practice a little. One of the other things that can happen is the your entire piece will start to bow in slightly. 


The last thing to be aware of is the puckering of yarn at the beginning of a row. No matter how careful you are, this spot is an ALWAYS CHECK spot.


Just like "in row" simply give the yarn a little tug and gently snuggle it in place.

All text and photos, of this Lesson: Intarsia Plaid, are original. Notice of Copyright © by Sandy Marie & Mom's Crochet, April 2015. All rights reserved.

No part of this document may be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission from the author. The sharing of a direct link to this document, that may include one of the pictures from this website is permitted - with the exception of sites that are built for the sole purpose of making money off of advertising, and off of the hard work of designers.  You can contact Sandy Marie (owner of Mom's Crochet) here.


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