The best place to start is at the beginning. All crochet begins with a slip knot and foundation chain. So, if you don't know how to do that, please go through the Getting Started pages to find out how. This tutorial will concern only the ripple pattern. You can click here to jump to the video.
There are a lot of different ripple patterns, as evidenced by the book 101 Ripple Stitches by ASN (a book of both knit and crochet ripple stitch patterns). However, they all have a few things in common. There's always going to be some sort of "hill" and some sort of "valley," whether it be in single crochet, double crochet, V stitches or whatever. They may be fashioned differently, using different stitches or combination of stitches. I obviously can't cover every one of them. What I hope to do here is to give you some generalities and basic information which might help you to work out your own ripples.
Once you have designed your pattern, you can adjust it to make whatever size item you want to - preemie afghan, snuggle, baby blanket, twin size throw, bedspread, etc. There are at least two ways you can do this.
1) Figure out your "multiples" before you start out so you can adjust the size to any afghan. See the multiples tutorial for more information.
2) Do what Maggie Righetti says she does in her book (Crocheting in Plain English). She says that figuring the multiples for ripples can get a little complicated so she often just chain(s) a bunch (at least one half longer than the desired finished width), sets up her first row, and then cuts off the excess. That way will save you lots of headaches if math isn't your thing. I do this for lots of ghans where I am not working a particular pattern.
In her book, Ms. Righetti makes her hills and valleys just like I do mine, working 3 stitches in one chain for a hill and skipping 2 to make a valley. Another idea would be to do a (double crochet, chain 2, double crochet) for your "hill" and for your valley do a 2 stitch decrease - make one stitch using 3 chains (or stitches). In a pattern this might be written as dc3tog.
That's easy enough, right?
As I said, hills and valleys, valleys and hills. Just what do I mean by hills and valleys? Well, you know what a hill is. It's that thing that looks like an ice cream cone upside down, a small mountain. It can be pointy, as in steep hills, or more rounded, for those gently rolling hills.
The valleys are the bottom part of a "V" or possibly a "U" if you are using a rounder hill.
Here is a picture that shows progression of a single crochet ripple using a deep valley and pointy, steep hill. There are 7 stitches between hills and valleys in this sample. The multiple is 17 + 16 near as I can figure. :-) The lapghan here was begun with a chain of 118 and is made using an L hook and worsted weight yarn.
I like a "short" ripple because it is easier to keep track of how many stitches you did and where you are in the pattern so that is what I will use to demonstrate the method. The more stitches that make up one side of your "hill", the steeper your ripple hill is and the deeper your valley.
Below are two photos of a DC preemie afghan. Notice the short ripple (4 dcs, hill, 4 dcs, valley)
If you want to figure out your multiple, you first need to design your pattern, decide how large a ripple you want, how many stitches in between pattern sections etc. Single crochet or double crochet? Yarn doesn't matter except concerning the size of your finished product.
To figure your repeat (not multiple but repeat), you need to count the number of stitches on either side, then add one for your hill, and 2 for your skipped stitches at your valley. Then you will need to add stitches for your beginning and end if they are different.
Here's how I figured out the multiple of the dc ripple above containing (4 dcs, hill, 4 dcs, valley). It is the same pattern used in the tutorial instructions below. Is it right? I can't guarantee. It's worked for the ones I've done. The multiple is figured on the first row, which is worked into the foundation chain.
You are chaining into the 4th chain from hook, so that's 4 Then dc in next 2 chains, that's another 2 Pattern calls for 3 dc in next ch (1), dc in next 4 chains (4), skip 2 chains (2), dc in next 4 chains (4), so that's a total of 11 At the end of the row, 3 dc in next chain (1), dc in next 4 chains (4), so that's a total of 5
Since the (4 + 2 = 6) at the beginning and the 5 at the end = 11, and the pattern stitch needs 11 chains, I conclude I need a multiple of 11 to make my pattern larger or smaller.
It's important not to forget your beginning chains, and that the end of your row might be different than your "repeat". In other words, you might want to specifically end on a hill or a valley, or you might have a "flat" end to your pattern, starting with dc or sc before beginning your ripple. All of that is the choice of the designer.
Note: At the end of rows, you may use chain-2 or chain-3 for your turning chain. I prefer chain-2 but most patterns will say to use chain-3, which is perfectly fine. It doesn't matter a whit which one you choose. The purpose of the turning chain is to get your row up to height, so use whichever one fulfills that purpose.
For this sample, chain 22. If you don't want to make a sample, but something useful, just increase the multiple to 55 and you can make a preemie blankie or snuggle if using worsted weight yarn and an I hook. Since your multiple is 11, you can use any number x 11 for your foundation chain.
Note 1:If you don't want to use the skip 2 and have a hole for the valley, you might consider using a 2 dc decrease there. You would need to increase your foundation chain to accommodate that change as it takes 3 stitches for the decrease method and 2 for the skip 2 method.
Videos below demonstrates both methods and I added notes to the pictures below. The only thing that changes is the foundation chain and step 5 on the first row.
Note 2:A shell is a group of stitches worked into the same stitch. In this case a shell = 3 dc.
Below is a video demonstration followed by a text pattern.
Here is the dc decrease method.
Here is a ripple in pattern-talk (but without abbreviations), so you can see where the repeat is. This pattern uses the skip 2 method of making a valley:
Row 2 (pattern stitch): skip 1 double crochet (do not put first stitch in the base of your turning chain, do not put it in the next stitch), double crochet in each of next 3 double crochet, 3 double crochet in next double crochet (which is the middle double crochet of the first shell on this row - this makes a hill), * double crochet in each of next 4 double crochets, skip 2 double crochets (makes your valley), double crochet in each of next 4 double crochets, 3 double crochet in next double crochet (hill). In your 22 chain sample, you are now at the last 5 stitches of the previous row. If you are working this with a larger foundation chain then rep from * across until you get to the last 5 stitches (including the turning chain) on the previous row. At last 5 stitches, end 1 double crochet in each of next 3 double crochet, skip 1 double crochet, double crochet in top chain of turning chain from previous row, chain 2, turn.
Repeat Row 2 until piece measures desired length.
Here is the same pattern row but with abbreviations, written to work with ANY foundation chain. Note that some patterns might not use the plural dcs, but just use dc. Either is fine.
Row 2 (pattern stitch): sk 1 dc (do not put first st in the base of your tch, do not put it in the next st), dc in ea of next 3 dcs, 3 dcs in next dc (which is the middle dc of the first shell on this row - this makes a hill), * dc in ea of next 4 dcs, sk 2 dcs (valley), dc in ea of next 4 dcs, 3 dc in next dc (hill), rep from * across to within last 5 st of previous row (inc the tch), end 1 dc in ea of next 3 dcs, sk 1 dc, dc in top ch of tch (note: this is your tch from the previous row), ch 2, turn.
Repeat Row 2 until piece measures desired length.
When you’ve completed your ripple, you can decide whether you want the ripple look or a straight edge at your top and bottom. If you want a ripple edge, you’re done. If you want a straight edge, then you need to use stitches of different lengths to straighten out your rippled edge. How many and what kind of stitches are used depends to some degree on how wide a ripple you are using. One scenario might be to use (sl st, sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc, sl st). You may have to use 2 of each stitch or you may have to add a tripe in there if you have a deeper ripple. Your personal tension might affect what you do. Your goal is to have all your stitches at the same height to get your straight edge. Once you’ve determined what works for you, you will repeat that sequence along the edge.