Knit Picks Mighty Stitch Yarn

Christmas Plaid Square
Extending a Plaid Graph

The Christmas Plaid Square is a great beginning to many Holiday projects that have a different look for the season. In the picture below you see a finished square on the left, and the chart used on the right. You can make many squares and connect them together (the best way is using the mattress stitch), or simply extend the plaid design for no sew crochet. This page teaches you to extend your graph to whatever size you want and includes a Christmas Plaid Square to play with.

I developed this design several years ago to give my Holiday table a different look. Using one section I made coasters, and extending the design I made placemats and a table runner. It was the prettiest table setting I ever had for the Holidays.

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This page goes beyond learning Intarsia Plaid, to teaching how to extend your graph to make whatever you'd like. Please review Intarsia Plaid before you continue. You will note the design on the Intarsia Plaid page is the same as this one, only using different colors.

Did you miss downloading the free PDF for the Intarsia Plaid lesson? If so just click the button to the right to download it now. You will need it.

Click the button to the right for this page's lesson, Christmas Plaid Square - Extending Your Graph.

Crochet Lesson Materials & Tools for Christmas Plaid Square

Category: Intermediate

Specific to the Christmas Plaid Square I used:

Yarn: I used Red Heart Holiday; #E759_140 White / Silver, E759_9040 Red / Silver, and E759_6040 Green / Silver. For the square alone one ball of each is more than plenty.

Hook: I used a Clover hook, H / 5.00mm

Other: Scissors, yarn needle to hide ends, and a pencil to mark on your grid what row you're on.

Remember, use the Intarsia Plaid instructions but use the graph (included, Christmas Plaid Square) with the Holiday colors.

For the Lesson on Extending Your Graph - THIS PAGE:

By Hand: Graph paper (you can print free graph paper by clicking this link), I use colored pencils, scotch tape if your graph goes beyond your graph paper, eraser (I always need an eraser, lol), scissors. A little quiet time to think, a cup of your favorite beverage.

Computer Program: There is no way I can teach a program because all of you will use something different. So learn by hand, then decide what you want to use. I use both Google Sheets (free), and Publisher (by Microsoft).

Christmas Plaid SquareThis picture is designed for Pinterest. Please use the 'Pinit' button below to add this to your pictures.

Before you start have a look at many plaid designs.
Just search the word 'plaid' and visit the images.

Extending Your Plaid Design, Lesson

Before you begin playing with your own plaid design you need to do a little planning. Start by searching the internet for 'plaid' and look at pictures. This will give you ideas of what kinds of plaid you can create. Start with the basics, as in my graph for Christmas Plaid Square, to learn. Then stretch out into your own designs. Here are a few things to remember:

1. Original plaids are made on a weaving loom. You can not get an exact match via crochet. What you DO create will be beautiful, but just remember you are crocheting, not weaving.

2. You are pretty much restricted to three colors, especially when you start out. Two colors will end up looking like a checkerboard. More than three colors will be hard to work with and the threads of yarn, you are carrying, will warp your design. So stick with three colors (until you become an expert).

3. Always check your gauge! Crochet a swatch using one color and carrying the other two. Especially if you want squares to be square. Carrying two colors, while crocheting with the third, will lift your single crochet stitches. So your normal single crochet gauge will not be correct.

4. You really can use any yarn you like. Just make sure that your yarn is the same brand and thickness.

5. You can also use any size hook that looks good to you, and is easy to work with.

6. If you have never worked with intarsia crochet (also known as graph crochet), START HERE. Go back and learn the techniques as this lesson does not include the basics.

VERY IMPORTANT: To get a near perfect square you need to remember that, for every 5 stitches - you will do 4 rows. This will not look exact on your graph. This base calculation is due to the single crochet stitches being lifted because of carrying 2 strands of yarn. This is another reason to do a gauge swatch before you even start a big project.

Find what one section of your plaid looks like. If you are creating your own design you'll create one section on some graph paper.

You can add a border around this section, or not. In the picture to the left you see that I added a white border.

After you have your 'sample' section, CROCHET IT. Not only will this give you practice working with your plaid, it will also create some nice coasters, in this case Christmas Plaid Square coasters.

Now, seeing the end example, you can make adjustments to your plaid design before you take on a big project.

Note: Don't try to do a one stitch vertical row. It might look okay horizontally, but it will not look good vertically. The nature of intarsia crochet will not line up exactly, so a one stitch vertical row will look zig zaggy. So if you really want a one stitch row, make sure it's a horizontal row.

As you can see, the magic of the plaid look happens when you combine your samples together.

This is the 'square' graph you get with the free PDF (graph is full size).

To make this remove the 'white' border, on the sides of your single section, that meet. By the way, you can also keep a white line and decide if you want rows of 2 (lay one section over the other), or rows of 4 (line the sample up).

I'm going to show you how to extend your plaid section by hand. As I said above, there are several computer programs that you can use to do this, too many for me to try and share them all. So, by showing you how it's done by hand, you'll be able to do it on your favorite program. Your PDF includes a full size page of 4 squares to play with.

First; By hand, I print in 'draft' mode so as not to use a lot of ink. If you are coloring your plaid, by hand, on graph paper, you will need to color lots of squares. You will need a scissors and scotch tape.

1. The 'experienced crocheter way' is to create one block and write yourself NOTES as to how many blocks you want.
Example: *** Repeat block 12 times across and 12 times up. *** I suggest you make a square (from the graph I included) before you try the 'experienced crocheter way'. It does make a pretty trivet for your Holiday table.

In the free PDF download you'll get one sheet that has four single plaid squares. This is so you can play with it after printing. Be sure to print in 'draft' mode so you use the least ink possible. Also note that your page will be turned on end (to fit a PDF), the 8.5 side up. When working with a plaid BE SURE that the 5 square count is your stitches, and the 4 square count is your rows. It doesn't work if you flip it. 

To start, cut your squares out leaving the 2 square white border. This way you can play with your design and decide what you want to do with it.

If you are making a big project print more sheets and cut out more squares. The Christmas Plaid Square is 3 single plaids put together.

Now it's time to play. The picture to the right shows you what laying them together with a white section showing would look like. This would make a pretty square too. If you like this, tape it together.

If you want a square like the Christmas Plaid Square, with no white on the inside, trim the inside white off of one square. Note you would do this on top also, only leaving the white edge on the outsides.

Lay your single squares together with the cut edge up against the color edge on the next single square. See how this gives you a different look? Keep playing until you have a graph that looks good to you. When you are finally done - THEN tape it together.

YES, this can be tedious work. However, lining up one small block at a time can become so many different things. Make placemats, and a table runner (like I did). Make a full table cloth. A large Christmas Plaid Square could make a beautiful throw or afghan.

Also remember that you CAN sew these together and simply make square after square. Want a plaid tree skirt? Make your squares, leave out the middle, and don't sew the back shut.

As you can see, this isn't a hard lesson. It will just be a little time consuming, at the beginning, before you actually start your crochet. Please don't skip a step, my personal impatience has taught me that following things, step-by-step, ends in a result I love. USA, LLC

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All text and photos, of this Christmas Plaid Square and Extending a Plaid Lesson, are original. Notice of Copyright © by Sandy Marie & Mom's Crochet, October 2015.
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