Zigzag, chevron or ripple patterns -- the terms are used interchangeably --are classic designs for a crochet afghan or throw. Many crochet instructions are available that teach you how to achieve a zigzag effect, and they are all based on regularly spaced increases and decreases forming the peaks and valleys of the zigzag. The granny ripple afghan is a variation that combines classic granny clusters with alternating peaks and valleys. Another variation is the wave pattern, which makes a wavy rippled effect instead of distinct peaks and valleys.
Simple Zigzag Stitch Pattern
To make a zigzag practice piece or swatch in single crochet, use a size H hook and weight 4 or knitted worsted-weight yarn.
Step 1: Beginning Chain
Chain 66 loosely.
Step 2: Row 1
Single crochet in the third chain from the hook and in each of the next four chains; then, c**reate the peak** of the zigzag by working three single crochets in the next chain.
- Single crochet in the next five chains and skip the next two chains to create the valley of the zigzag. Single crochet in the next five chains and work a "peak" (three single crochets) in the next chain.
Repeat the unit of 5 single crochets, one valley (skip two chains), five single crochets and one peak, until you have only six chains remaining. Single crochet in each of these last six chains. You should have 66 single crochets in the row.
Step 3: Rows 2 Through 8
Chain one and turn. Skip the first two single crochets. Single crochet in the next five single crochets; then work a peak (three single crochets) in the next stitch.
- Single crochet in the next five single crochets; then make a valley by skipping the next two stitches. Single crochet in the next five single crochets; then make a peak in the next stitch.
Repeat the above unit across until you have six single crochets remaining. Single crochet in each of the last six single crochets. Repeat this row until you have eight rows total, including the first single crochet row. Fasten off.
Notice that the increase peaks are all aligned vertically, as are the decrease valleys. This alignment creates the zigzag or chevron pattern from what would otherwise be a straight crochet row.
Gauge, Yarn and Hook Size
Exact gauge is not important when making a throw, but it's useful to have an estimate of how many stitches and rows you'll need to make your desired size. Measure the width and height of your practice piece. Divide the number of stitches across the row by the width. Divide the number of rows by the height. Multiply these results by the desired width and height of your project to get an estimated number of stitches and rows needed.
Published patterns recommend hook size and yarn weight for the project. Some frequently used combinations include:
- Baby afghans use a size F or G hook and baby, sport or light worsted weight yarn (weight 2or 3).
- Standard afghans use a size H, I or J hook and knitting worsted yarn (weight 4).
- Bulky afghans use a size K or larger hook and bulky weight yarn (weight 5). Another type of bulky crochet uses two strands of worsted weight yarn held together and a size M, N or P hook.
Colors and Stripes
Zigzag crochet patterns offer many suggestions for colors and striping patterns. If you want to design your own throw, options include:
One color or colorway: Working in a solid color accentuates the texture of the pattern stitches, making the increases and decreases an integral focus of the design. For a baby or toddler blanket, crochet in a wave pattern with a variegated baby yarn.
Rainbow stripes: Work four rows each in the colors of the rainbow, following this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Graduated monochrome: Choose light to dark yarns within a color family, such as blue. Work two rows in each of the shades, going from pale blue, light blue, medium blue to dark blue. Then work back again in the reverse order. If you'd like more definition between the sections, work two rows of white or off-white between the sections of pale blue.
Random brights: Crochet random stripes of bright colors, working two to five rows for each stripe. You can use yarn scraps left over from other projects. If desired, tie the look together by working two rows of black between each color section. This pattern is especially effective in a granny ripple pattern.