Troubleshooting guide: the neat ripple pattern

New summer colours ripple

The neat ripple pattern that I used in my summer crochet ripple cushion is adapted from the neat ripple pattern originally published by Lucy of Attic24. You can see her detailed tutorial here.

When I started rippling, to make my seascape ripple blanket, as yet unfinished, I admit I had a lot of trouble getting to grips with this pattern. I love the effect but I was always losing my place, getting things wrong and generally making a complete mess of it. Having to keep ripping out and redoing your crochet is not much fun after a while so I decided to study the ripple and work out where I was going wrong and why.

I thought this might help some of you too!

Getting the edges straight

This pattern produces lovely straight edges – but only if you do it right.

One thing I realised is that you need an equal number of peaks and troughs in your ripple. The pattern consists of a starting section, a middle (with repeats of the basic pattern) and then an end section.

You can see how its made up in this photo of my summer ripple cushion – click to enlarge to see the detail and the notes. You can see there are four troughs. There are then three peaks in the main part of the ripple and half a peak at each end – which equals four.

Anatomy of a neat ripple pattern

This means that the decreases in the troughs and the increases in the peaks, including the two half peaks at either end, balance out to give you a magically straight edge on both sides:

Summer ripple cushion straight side edge

If you are not getting a straight edge, check your pattern and see if you have an odd number of peaks and troughs.

If you have, the pattern will never go right, there is no choice but to start again… Or make your proto blanket into a scarf (which is what I did the first time 🙂

Knowing which side is which

The front and back of a neat ripple pattern look very similar. When you are working on the ripple, they look identical and I find it impossible to tell by looking which is the front and the back.

BUT, if you start your stripes inconsistently from one end for a few rows and then from the other for a few rows, the final result will not look as good, particularly if its on something like a cushion that is stretched over the cushion pad when finished. That type of thing can be very annoying because you just know its not perfect. Even if no-one else notices – or even cares!

The solution to this is to leave sewing in all your ends until last.

What????? Leave the ends dangling. Weeeeellllll, yes this isn’t usually the advice I give. I am very much with Lucy of Attic24 who is also very keen on weaving in your ends as you go. I think there is nothing worse that having a mass of ends to sew in before you can complete a project. Very depressing.

But with a small ripple I find it easier to leave the ends because it helps you know which side to start a new colour stripe if you have put your ripple away for a while. Always start with your ends behind you on the right.

It stops you weaving in the ends too close to the edge. You need to add a border to the side of the ripple and this works out much neater and more even if you don’t have woven in ends there. Always take your ends inwards and weave in through the thicker part of the stitches in the middle of each stripe (more on this below).

Keeping the pattern lined up

When I first started doing ripples I would lose concentration, miscount and my peaks and troughs would be all over the place. Each trough and each peak in a ripple should line up so when you hold your crochet fabric up to the light, you can see faint hints of straight lines running through each peak and each trough. These are usually more obvious at the troughs.

In the photo below I’ve picked out the increases and decreases in a few rows to show you how the increases and decreases line up.

Summer ripple cushion keeping the pattern straight

  • Imagine you are crocheting along the top white row pictured above.
  • Coming down from the right, you are completing your six trebles. Then its time to decrease.
  • Your first stitch of the decrease goes into the ordinary treble of the row below that lies just before the decrease stitch in that previous row. You complete the decrease into the top of the decrease of the row below.
  • The first stitch of your second decrease goes into the top of the second decrease stitch of the row below. You complete the decrease using the next, ordinary treble stitch, of the previous row.
  • Now imagine you are carrying on and make the next six ordinary trebles leading up to the peak. Your first increase is made in the second treble of the increase of the previous round. The second increase is made into the first treble of the second increase of the previous round.

I’m sorry, but there is no simpler way to express this in words, or I can’t think of any. All I can suggest is that you study the photo, make a small ripple sample and think it through… It will help, honest.

Once you  understand exactly where the stitches go, its easier to see where you have gone wrong if the number of stitches you count doesn’t seem right. And its better to keep checking because if you go wrong, the only way to get it right is to pull everything back to that first tiny mistake.

Getting a neat edge

We’ve already covered getting a straight edge, but what about a very neat edge at the border?

When I first did a ripple I sewed my ends in at the end of the row – which sort of distorts the stitches so when you come to do a border down the sides it can get tricky to make the stitches look even.

I now always sew my ends in slightly in from the edge like this. I do a bit of backwards and forwards at the end, not pulling tightly, but changing direction so that the tail ends stay put.

Summer ripple cushion sewing in the ends - crafternoontreats.com

Then, the border for the edge can go into the end stitch of each row, which are all even and not affected by the weaving in.

I chose to do a round of double crochet stitches first, putting two into the side of each stitch on the end of each row. Then a second round of dc stitches before starting the proper border. Or in the case of the summer ripple cushion, the button strip. Using a contrasting colour gives a very neat finish because it draws the eye to the straight junction between the first border row and the second round of dc stitches.

If you have any other problems with a crochet ripple please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to try to find a solution xxx

Useful links for the summer ripple cushion

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15 thoughts on “Troubleshooting guide: the neat ripple pattern

    • Crafternoon Treats says:

      Not sure what you mean?? You use increases and decreases to make the ripple effect by doing two trebles together or making 2 trebles in the same stitch… But the edges are straight… Not sure you can do shaping at the edges with a ripple xxx

  1. Beula Rosin says:

    Hello I am a beginner crocheter. My Granny used to crochet granny squares to make blankets.
    She made each of her daughters my mom and her sister a double bed blanket. I watched her make granny squares for many years. finally I asked her to show me how. Gran used to call the trebles “legs”. I learnt to make a basic granny square with “legs”. My friend tried to teach me to make a ripple blanket. my first sample square was ok but the 2nd kept curling up .I could not fathom out why, gave up as a bad job. I am going to take up the challenge for a friends newborn. I hope I will manage from your instructions. I got stoked up when I saw the pattern.I have bookmarked the site so I can go back when ever I need To.

  2. Amy says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’m six rows in and my peaks and troughs have flattened. Clearly, I’ve decreased too many stitches somewhere. (groan) Your instructions are clear and I’m actually looking forward to the problem-solving! Time to either make a scarf and start over or commit myself to adding several small balls to my stash. 🙂

    • Crafternoon Treats says:

      Great Amy – glad it was helpful to you xxxx The ripple pattern just isn’t as easy as it first appears! Kathryn

  3. Dani says:

    Hello I have a question. I am trying the elegant ripple pattern from RedHeart yarn. and It seems like my “peaks and valley” dont match up after being 5 rows in. Do you know what can possibly be going wrong? I have followed the pattern exactly and county my stitches in between. Thank you

    • Crafternoon Treats says:

      Sorry Dani – without seeing the blanket I can’t really help. Its very easy to go wrong though. Have you tried using stitch markers to mark each increase point at the peaks? x

  4. Rosemary says:

    Hi there,
    Here is a picture of where I am up to with an Attic 24 ripple blanket.
    I am forever pulling out rows of coours because the ends are not straight and I’m thinking of giving the whole process away.
    What am I doing wrong?
    I have trouble finding the third chain of the devious ch3 to treble into at the end of every row.
    I feel like I go one step forward and two steps back.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

  5. Sarah says:

    Hello! This is a great guide, thank you. I have made a blanket using the Attic24 ripple pattern too, but love the softer waves your pattern gives using 6 trebles instead of 4. I would like to make a blanket using this pattern, but am not the greatest at maths! Would you tell me the formula for the starting chain please? Eg: multiples of ?? plus 3 for turning? Thank you in advance!

  6. lolo says:

    This is very helpful. I have attempted numerous Chevron patterns to no avail, because somehow my edges look all wonky and start to shrink with each new row, and as I go back to count to make sure I have the right number of stitches between my peaks and valleys, something goes wrong there as well.

    Perhaps you could help me understand. If you were to dc (US SC) 3 times in same stitch, would that stitch count as 1 stitch, away from the 6 stitches in between, or would it count as 3 stitches? If you were to skip stitches to work a decrease, say of 3, would that decrease count as 1 stitch or 3 stitches? Would any of that be skipped over in stitch counting or counted with the 6?

    When I end up going back because something did not line up, I am not sure where to begin my counting. If I have had to skip stitches as a form of decrease, there is this longer stitch that connects my last worked stitch, and the one I am working into. Would this long stitch be counted along with the number of stitches between each peak and valley, or not at all? Again, do increases count as the number of stitches worked or as 1 stitch? This is all very elementary I am sure, but I cannot figure it out. I really want to complete a chevron baby blanket but cannot manage to carry on consistently. Somehow my peaks and valleys shift. I am also incredibly literal, so that may be part of the problem.

    • Crafternoon Treats says:

      Dear Lolo I agree that chevron and ripple patterns are difficult so you are not alone in having trouble!

      A few things that might help:
      Generally to decrease you crochet two stitches together, you don’t miss out a stitch as this leaves a hole that you don’t want.

      To decrease an sc, insert hook into the first stitch, pull yarn through, insert hook into the next stitch and then pull yarn through all three loops on the hook. This creates one stitch from two without leaving a gap.

      When counting stitches, always count the top of the stitches in your current row, not the bottoms of the stitches.

      So if you had 10 stitches in row 1 and then in row 2 worked three stitches into one of the stitches to increase, you would have 9 stitches plus 3, so 12 stitches altogether.

      Similarly, if you had 10 stitches and then decreased by working two of the stitches together in row 2, you would have 9 stitches.

      The trick with chevrons are:
      Make sure that you have the number of stitches between the peaks and troughs the same in each row
      Make sure that the number of stitches you gain by making increases matches the number of stitches you lose by making decreases

      So if in each peak you work three stitches into one, you gain two stitches. If you work three stitches together at the troughs, you lose two stitches. As long as number of peaks and troughs is the same, you should end up with straight edges.

      The complication is that if you have more troughs than peaks, you lose stitches in each row but most patterns compensate for this by adding an increase at the start and end of each row to keep the sides straight.

      I hope that helps!

      Best wishes
      Kathryn

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