Ombré crochet: How to make a gradient square

I've started a new 'relaxation project'! I really like having something uncomplicated to work on when I want to pay attention to conversations/tv or when I'm tired - I'm all for multiple works-in-progress with a variety of techniques and difficulty levels.

I'm making another crochet blanket, this time made up of squares which I'll seam together later. In each square, the colours will radiate from dark-to-light or light-to-dark, alternating like a chessboard.

My inspiration is a delicate granny square blanket featured in Jared Flood's blog post about the Icelandic Textile Museum. I tried out a few different kinds of squares, and decided to go for super-simple solid crocheted squares rather than classic granny squares.

The small square I made as a swatch (with only one round per shade) is the perfect size for a coaster. :)

I've had some undyed corriedale wool from the Little Wool Company in my stash for a couple of years, which I'd intended for a cardigan but couldn't get gauge for the pattern I had my eye on (as this is quite a thin 4ply). I think a blanket like this will really let the natural sheepy colours shine! I have 200g cones of natural white, oatmeal, and silver. The yarn will be held double, with two crocheted rounds per colour or colour blend.

Here are all the details, if you'd like to make your own gradient squares...

Materials:

  • 4ply yarn in three colours, about 31g or 140yds total per square. I'm aiming for a 5x7 blanket (about 40"/102cm x 56"/142cm), so I will need about 1200g or 5,472yds of yarn which should include enough for seaming and adding a border. Holding it doubled definitely eats yarn!
  • a 4mm crochet hook (or size that makes a fabric you like).
  • a needle for weaving in ends.
  • a blocking board (optional).

Tips: 

  • If I'm using a wool yarn, I like to crochet over the yarn ends as I go to reduce weaving-in later.
  • It's nice and easy to spit-splice 4ply wool, especially non-superwash. I do tend to dip my finger in my water glass (or tea cup or wine glass) rather than spit, however - I'm prissy like that. :p
  • After I finish each square I wash it, squeeze out the water, and stretch it out on my homemade blocking board: four nails in a piece of scrap wood, with 8 1/2 inches between nails as you go round the square. The corner-holes of the crocheted square go over the nails (see photo below).

Abbreviations (in US crochet terms):

  • ch = chain
  • dc = double crochet
  • sc = single crochet
  • st = stitch

Note:

If you're more familiar with UK crochet terms, there's a handy translation chart here. The relevant terms for this project are US dc = UK tr, and US sc = UK dc.


How to make a square (about 8"/20cm wide): 

With colour A held double, make a magic ring OR ch 5 and join with a slip stitch.

Round 1:

Ch 2, 3 dc into ring, *ch 3, 4 dc into ring, repeat from * twice more, ch 3, join to top of initial ch 2 with a slip stitch.

Round 2:

Ch 2, 1 dc into each of the next 2 sts, *(2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) into corner space, 1 dc into each of the next 3 sts, repeat from * twice more, (2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) into corner space, join to top of initial ch 2 with a slip stitch.

Break yarn and fasten off. With colour A and colour B held together, join yarn to any side of the square.

Rounds 3-4:

Ch 2, *1 dc into each st until you reach the next corner space, (2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) into corner space, repeat from * three more times, 1 dc into each st until you reach the initial ch 2, join to top with a slip stitch.

Break yarn and fasten off. With colour B held double, join yarn to any side of the square.

Rounds 5-6:

Work as established in Rounds 3-4.

Break yarn and fasten off. With colour B and colour C held together, join yarn to any side of the square.

Rounds 7-8:

Work as established in Rounds 3-4.

Break yarn and fasten off. With colour C held double, join yarn to any side of the square.

Rounds 9-10:

Work as established in Rounds 3-4.

Round 11:

Ch 1, *1 sc into each st until you reach the next corner space, 4 sc into corner space, repeat from * three more times, 1 sc into each st until you reach the initial ch 1, join to top with a slip stitch.

Break yarn and fasten off. Weave in any remaining ends, and wet block the square.

When the time comes, I'll write a post about seaming the squares together and adding a border. I think picot stitches around the edge could look really pretty - but I'm getting ahead of myself now. 2 squares down, 33 to go...