One of the best things about crochet as an art form is that you can start off with a pattern, and with subtle changes create an end product that is uniquely your own.
Crochet is such a versatile craft, and I love that it offers me a chance to be creative without having to start from scratch like I would have to with other arts and crafts!
Here, we’ll look at some ideas for easy ways to alter a crochet pattern.
First, Choose Your Pattern!
Before we look at the ways to adapt a pattern, we need a pattern to start with. Many of these adaptations discussed can affect project gauge, so they work best for patterns where size doesn’t matter so much (such as scarves, amigurumi, and décor/appliques).
For this post, I’ll be using an easy and very cute heart applique pattern from Crochet Leaf. This pattern uses a cotton sport weight yarn and a 3mm hook.
Modification 1: Enlarge a Pattern
There are four simple adaptations that you can do to easily make a product larger than the pattern calls for.
1. Use the Same Yarn but With a Larger Hook.
This pattern originally calls for sport weight yarn and a 3mm hook. Here, I’ve used a sport weight yarn with a 4.25mm and 5mm hook:
You can see the sizing differences between the two. The larger the hook, the larger the finished product will be!
2. Double-strand the Yarn.
Hold two pieces of yarn together and work the pattern with the same hook size or with a larger hook size. Here I’ve combined one strand of worsted weight white and one strand of worsted weight pink and used a 10mm hook size. It makes a heart that is much larger than the original pattern!
Another benefit to double stranding the yarn is that it gives you another opportunity to get creative with the pattern.
Different color combinations could be for different events or seasons – a Christmas heart with red and green yarn, or one with the colors of your favorite sports team. You can also use more than two strands of yarn, but you’ll need to use a bigger hook!
3. Increase the Height of Stitches.
To increase the height of the stitches, I went to the next height stitch for all stitches – half double crochet to double crochet, double crochet to treble crochet, and treble crochet to double treble crochet.
I also love the additional detail that the double treble stitches give to this heart! Changing the height of the stitches can also add textures to the finished project.
4. Thicker Yarn
I used pink, fluffy blanket yarn and a 10mm crochet hook for this heart! It creates a much larger end project and lets you play around with the textures of the project.
Modification 2: Make a Smaller Crochet Item
You can use the reverse of the above enlarging techniques to make your project smaller than the original pattern. In other words, you can use a thinner yarn, a smaller hook, or both!
In my example, I’ve switched to a smaller 2.75mm hook. I’ve also gone from worsted weight to a white crochet thread, which is a weight 1 super fine yarn.
You can see that this has made a big difference in the size of my mini heart! I also love the way this gives the heart a lacy, doily-like look.
You can also decrease the height of stitches; for example, a pattern that calls for double crochet stitches could be made with half double crochet stitches instead. Here, I’ve used single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet to make my heart smaller.
You can see how much of a size difference changing the height of the stitches makes:
Modification 3: Adding Textures with Different Stitches
Another great way to modify a pattern that doesn’t involve changing the pattern is to try out different stitch types!
As I mentioned above on increasing the height of your stitches, double treble crochet adds a different texture with the additional yarn-over required to make the stitch.
Here, I’ve crocheted the second row of the pattern in the back loops of the first row to add extra texture to the front of the heart:
It adds a raised row of stitches to the front of the heart and emphasizes the inner circle made by the first round of stitches.
I continued adding textures by using an easy scallop stitch border to the edge of the heart – I used a white crochet thread and a 2.75mm hook to add the border.
For the final texture addition, I added the same scallop stitch border to the loops created by the back loop only second row.
Modification 4: Yarn Color
I mentioned a few ways before to modify your pattern with yarn color (like double stranding the yarn, or using a different color than the original pattern calls for). However, another way you can modify a pattern is with color changes in the project!
The original heart pattern was written using one color of yarn. Here, I made the first row with a red worsted weight yarn and the second row with a white worsted weight yarn:
Adding stripes and other color patterns to a project is a quick and easy way to modify it to suit your needs!
I hope these four ways to change a crochet pattern have given you a good starting point to modify your own patterns, and have maybe provided you with some inspiration to complete your own modifications!