How to Crochet from a Chart

Step 1: Create your Chart
Each square on the chart, represents a single crochet stitch. I started with a foundation single crochet of 68 or you can do a chain of 69. What I would do differently is to flip the chart sideways and crochet my rows from the side of the chart, starting with a foundation single crochet of 75 or a chain of 76. There are many different free sources online, where you can create a detailed chart.

Step 2: Purchase Your Yarn Colors and Materials
For this piece, I used 4-ply yarn of different brands and a size G crochet hook. I used 6 colors for the main crochet. A 7th color was introduced for the cross stitch.
I purchased a document protector from my local office supply store and a grease pencil. As I finished each row, I would mark the row with the grease pencil. I can reuse my document protector a few times by removing the the grease pencil markings with baby oil.

I created my yarn chart to eliminate confusion. This was to keep track of yarn strand placement and where I am using them on the color chart. It is going to be difficult to match the yarn exact to what is printed. Fairly close is going to be good enough. You can mix colors when you are finished through cross stitch and embroidery. It really opens the door to some unique and different artwork through crochet.

Step 3: Follow your chart to create your masterpiece

Since it is done with single crochet, it is pretty easy to do. It is just a single crochet piece with color changes. Don't be intimidated by color changes. I changed colors by cutting the yarn at each color change and pulling the new color through the two loops of the last single crochet. I started out sewing in some of my tails as you can see at the bottom of the image. Because I had so many tails in such a small area, it distorted my piece, making it to full. I decided on a front side and back side of my work. From that point on, I cut tails and tied a knot on the back of my piece. If you are changing colors less, you may find that sewing in the tails will work for you, therefore making your piece reversible. It can be done with knots or tails. Both ways will be correct.

Step 4: Color Blend your piece by Cross Stitch and Embroidery

When I purchased the pink, I thought it would be a softer, more subtle pink. It popped to much so I softened it with a cross stitch of light brown from my color chart, over the top of the pink. I separated a 4-ply strand of yarn, in to a 2-ply strand of yarn for the cross stitching. The forehead shows the blending process.

I still had two browns that were to close in color. My solution was to introduce an off-white cross stitch to the external medium brown. That just brought it all together and saved the piece that I came close to throwing away.


  1. Gracias por explicar el How to do.

  2. Hi the crocheting from charts seems really cool. I know you say there are several resources online to help you create the patter, but i am having trouble finding one, do you have any suggestions of a program you like or a good search term?

    Thanks again for the amazing demonstrations.


  3. Sharon,
    Thank you. A lot of crocheters use a free cross stitch program online to make their charts. I am not finding the name of the program right now. Maybe I could come up with something that you would like.

  4. Here is a link to a free cross stitch program online you could use :
    I hope it's the one Teresa was thinking of and that it'll help.
    M. Obama's portrait is astounding! Congrats!

  5. The Swallow,
    Thank you for sharing the link. I searched the other day and could not find any of the free chart makers so this is wonderful.

  6. Hi,
    I found your site because I too am charting an Obama photograph. I hesitate to link a photo because I'm using someone's well known but copyrighted image for my work. It's the image with HOPE at the bottom.

    Very quickly I came to the same conclusion you did about needing a backside. Too many color changes.

    Have you done anything about finishing off the back? Like a cloth lining with a pocket for a rod so that it can hang? Or having it somehow glued to a backing for framing?

    Thanks, MP

  7. MP,
    I found a piece of fabric, ironed the edges to the size of my crochet piece and hand stitched the fabric. It was very pleased with how the back turned out. You could do a rod pocket the same way. My husband wants me to put it in a frame so that is where it will go eventually.

    I did a second Obama that I finished up the end of June with less color changes. I was able to sew in all of those tails. It is a less detailed image but still turned out nice. I never did post a picture of it.

  8. Thank you. I believe I will do the cloth as well. But as to framing it to hang or using a rod pocket -- I wondering how much the very weight of the afghan would distort it while it was hanging. (I'm using Red Heart worsted. I don't normally buy RH, but this was my first attempt and I didn't want to throw away a fortune if it failed.)
    I think the backing cloth would decrease the stretching, but I thinking framing it would be the safest way.

  9. MP,
    Both of my were somewhat distorted from the crochet stitches I choose. I did not want to use double crochet. I used HDC on the second, working on the vertical of the image. I worked on the horizontal in the image of this post. It would not hurt it one bit if it were stretched some. I tried to stretch it a little when I was finished but it did not work very well. Over time they may relax and stretch if they were on a rod.

  10. I will likely also create a smaller test piece to see how a traditional steam blocking would look.

    I never thought about working on a chart from the vertical. I like the idea a lot. Interesting idea that workign vertically might mean fewer color changes.

  11. MP,
    Working the vertical had nothing to do with the amount of color changes with my second piece. I intentionally narrowed down my color choices to 6.

    The choice of working on the vertical or horizontal is how wide or how tall the piece will be with some possible distortion. When you work on the horizontal, the piece may/will be shorter looking in height. When you work on the vertical, the piece may/will have a smaller width.

    Horizontal - Distorted Height
    Vertical - Distorted Width

  12. I used a photo program to fix my distortion problem. I did a couple of squares to see if my SCs were shorter or taller than the wideth of my SCs. They were slightly shorter. To accomodate the slight shortness, I stretched the photo taller before using microrevolt. My graph looks a little distorted but when I crochet my stitches look about right.

    I want to think through the number of times I have to change colors. I'm using 5 colors. I want to examine to see if the number of times I have to cut colors might be less if I had done it vertically.

    This is interesting to think about.

  13. eHi Teresa I saw you post and I have been wanting to crochet a bookcover for my favorite author but have been afraid. I have seen knitpro and I have converted the cover to a chart.How did you go about creating your color/yarn chart? Love your site

  14. Thank you very much for your video. Iam going crochet blue star sevice flag. My Daughter was in the army. So i'll doing a blanket for her. Thank you.I WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE FOLLOWING BY CHART.

  15. can you suggest any programs that will make this kind of chart?

  16. Teresa, thanks for sharing this process. How did you create your color chart and figure out the yardage for each color?

    1. Patrice - I use a software program to create the chart. I just bought plenty of yarn and ended up with extra, which I always use. I guesstimate the yards.


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