• Kat Zimmermann

Corner to Corner Crochet Basics


A halfway completed gradient baby blanket done in shades of blue and cream.

I've been doing a lot of sewing recently (thank you, baby bump, for that motivation) and wanted to get back to my yarn-based crafts with a new technique. Corner to corner (C2C) crochet is a technique that was new to me until recently, but something I felt I was able to pick up quickly - and you can too!


In this post, we'll review the essential basics of how to do C2C crochet, including an overview of how to follow patterns and two project ideas to get you started. Bonus: there's also a video tutorial of my free C2C dishcloth pattern!


Click here to jump to the gradient baby blanket pattern!


Click here to jump to the heart dishcloth pattern!



Q: What do I need to work a C2C pattern?

A: Working a C2C crochet pattern uses the same materials as any other crochet pattern. You will need:

  • Yarn of appropriate color and amount (check your pattern)

  • A crochet hook to meet the given gauge OR that works well with the chosen yarn

  • Tapestry needle

  • Snips

  • Stitch markers - optional, helpful for tracking rows and which side is increasing/decreasing

  • A pattern (if you're following one)


 

What is Corner to Corner Crochet?

A 6 by 8 gridded rectangle. The bottom left corner is labeled R1. The square immediately to the right is labeled 2 with an arrow going diagonally up and to the left. Above the end of the arrow is labeled 3 with an arrow going diagonally down and to the right. This pattern continues with alternating arrow directions all the way to the top corner which is labeled 13.

Here after referred to as C2C, Corner to Corner is a crochet technique where the crochet fabric is made by starting in one corner and finishing in another. C2C only produces square or rectangular fabric (even when worked in the round, a technique we will not address in this post).


Regular crochet begins with a long row on one side of the work and is then added to by working back and forth rows until the desired length is reached. Crochet in the round uses an extension of regular crochet techniques by beginning with a very small cluster of stitches joined in the round and building outwards from the center, either working in continuous rounds (common) or back and forth rounds (less common).


In contrast, C2C begins by working a small square of 3 double crochets, then adding more squares, each made of 3 double crochets, along two of the original square's sides. Each square starts with a chain of 3 - this creates the attachment point for the subsequent neighbor square. When a diagonal row is completed, the work is turned on the diagonal and a new row begins.


The fabric produced by C2C is quite different as a result of this change in technique. Where regular crochet can produce a variety of fabrics ranging from dense, close stitches to airy lacework, C2C always produces a fabric made up of these squares. Because each row is worked back and forth on the diagonal, the stiches which make up the squares are perpendicular to their neighbors. Because the double crochet squares latch onto the chains of their neighbor squares, there are significant gaps in this type of work - most similar to working a piece of all double crochets.


Graph of the corner to corner heart crochet dishcloth. See written directions below - email me from the About page if you need screen reader friendly written instructions.

This makes C2C an excellent choice of technique for items like baby blankets (the larger gaps reduce suffocation risk) and household goods like dishcloths. However, it's not what I would recommend for a scarf or anything made for warmth. The most common C2C patterns (after striped colorwork) are a specific type of blanket often referred to as "graphghans"


While graphghans can be done using any type of crochet technique, they're a favorite of C2C designers because of the squares produced by the technique. This makes C2C patterns an excellent application for pixel art. The free heart dishcloth pattern below is an example of this technique.


One final note on the differences - the edges of the fabric are significantly messier than traditional crochet methods. To clean it up, simply add your favorite border around the edges. Don't have a favorite border? You can borrow mine:


R1: Join yarn in the middle of an edge, ch1, sc into same st and each st around, working a cluster of 3 sc at each corner, slst into first sc to finish round.

R2: Ch 2, dc into same st and each st around, working a cluster of 3 dc at each corner, slst into first dc to finish round.

R3: Ch 1, sc into same st and each st around, working a cluster of 3 dc at each corner, slst into first sc to finish round. Bind off.


 

The Basics of Corner to Corner Crochet

To begin, let's make a practice swatch in any color. I recommend a medium to lighter color for now, just to make it a little easier to see your stitches clearly. Every C2C project will be worked the same way. The only differences will be which corner you're starting in and when to switch colors.


In this swatch, we'll be making a 3 x 4 rectangle in one color. We'll start in the bottom left corner and work our way to the right and up (as shown in the diagram above).


Note: In the instructions below, I've provided the steps in US crochet terms followed by an explanation of what's happening and why. I hope this will help you to understand conceptually how this technique is worked!


Abbreviations (US terms):

ch - chain

dc - double crochet

slst - slip stitch



Square 1 made up of 3 double crochets with a little 3 chain loop on the right side.

(Row 1 - starting square - 1 square) Ch 6, beginning with the 4th ch from hook, work 1 dc into each remaining ch (3 dcs), turn.


This is your first square and your first row! Notice how the first 3 chains create a little loop on one side. This will be important in a minute.






(Row 2 - increasing - 2 squares) Ch 6, beginning with the 4th ch from hook, work 1 dc into each remaining ch, slst into top of ch 3 loop of the previous square to "anchor" the new square.


Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, turn.


In this row, we've made two squares. The first being identical in technique to our starting square in row 1 plus an anchoring slip stitch and the second being our "regular square" which we'll repeat many many times.




The middle of row 3. 3 double crochets have been worked into the chain 3 loop of a square from row 2 and the new square is about to be anchored.

(Row 3 - increasing - 3 squares) Ch 6, beginning with the 4th ch from hook, work 1 dc into each remaining ch, slst into top of ch 3 loop of the previous square to "anchor" the new square.


Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, slst into top of ch 3 loop.


Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, turn.


Notice this row is identical to row 2 - the only difference is that we made more regular squares! This is what you can now think of as a typical increasing row where we're increasing on both sides. So now the question - how do we decrease and make our swatch smaller?




The beginning of row 4. 4 slip stitches have been worked into the double crochets and the top of the chain 3 chain of the previous square.

(Row 4 - decreasing - 3 squares) Do not chain - turn and slst into the 3 dcs you just made AND into the top of the ch 3 loop. Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, slst into top of ch 3 loop.


Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, slst into top of ch 3 loop.


Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, turn.



In this row, we're decreasing on ONLY one side of the rectangle. In the picture, you'll see I marked this side with a stitch marker. While I don't really need the stitch marker for such a small swatch, this is a useful technique when mindlessly crocheting a larger rectangle. Just be sure to remember if the marker means "decrease on this side only" or "increase on this side only!"



The end of row 5. Two squares have been added to make a row decreasing at both ends.

(Row 5 - decreasing - 2 squares) Do not chain - turn and slst into the 3 dcs you just made AND into the top of the ch 3 loop. Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, slst into top of ch 3 loop.


Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, turn, slst into top of ch 3 loop, turn.


Here we've decreased at BOTH ends of the row. So to decrease at the end of the row, all you have to do is stop and turn after making the last regular square and anchoring it.



A completed 3 by 4 square swatch of corner to corner crochet.

(Row 6 - decreasing - 1 square) Do not chain - turn and slst into the 3 dcs you just made AND into the top of the ch 3 loop. Ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, slst into top of ch 3 loop. Bind off.


That's it! You now have a 3 x 4 rectangle of C2C crochet squares. Let's review a few key learnings below and then move on to some patterns to get you started.



 

Key Learnings

To review, there are 3 types of squares created using C2C methods:


Square 1 completed with a chain of 6 coming off its side. The double crochets are now horizontal and parallel to the chain.

(Increasing squares) These are the squares at the start of a row where you're increasing the number of squares on that side. To make them: ch 6, beginning with the 4th ch from hook, work 1 dc into each remaining ch, slst into top of ch 3 loop of the previous square to "anchor" the new square.



The middle of row 3. 3 double crochets have been worked into the chain 3 loop of a square from row 2 and the new square is about to be anchored.

(Regular squares) These are squares that get worked all the way up the row, like going up a staircase. To make them: ch 3, 3 dcs into the ch space, turn, slst into top of ch 3 loop. Note that you need to already be anchored to the square below to work a regular square.





The beginning of row 4. 4 slip stitches have been worked into the double crochets and the top of the chain 3 chain of the previous square.


(Decreasing squares) These are worked at the start of a row where you're decreasing the number of squares on that side. To make them: do not chain, turn and slst into the 3 dcs you just made AND into the top of the ch 3 loop, now make a regular square.



Strictly speaking, every square is made up of a ch 3 loop and 3 dcs anchored to the neighboring square. The only real difference is how you begin the square - either with a ch 6 and working into the chain (increase), already being anchored from the previous square (regular square), or slip stitching your way over to create the new anchor (decreasing).



(When to change colors) As with any kind of crochet, colorwork makes C2C more interesting. In the video tutorial below, you'll see me change colors on the anchoring slip stitches. If you want your color changes to be flawless, change colors on the second half of the last double crochet of the square previous.



(Reading C2C patterns) The only other thing to review before launching into your first pattern is how C2C patterns are written differently from regular crochet patterns. C2C patterns assume you already know how to C2C and understand that it's made up of a pattern of squares. These patterns can start in any corner (which may or may not be written into the pattern, depending) and give counts in the number of SQUARES instead of the number of stitches.


For example: a pattern with two colors, let's say blue and white. The row we'll look at has 5 white blocks, then 10 blue blocks, and then 3 more white blocks. This could be noted several ways:

  • 5 white, 10 blue, 3 white

  • 5 W, 10 B, 3 W

  • 5 x W, 10 x B, 3 x W

There are other notations as well, but they'll typically follow a similar structure.


Importantly, not all patterns which use C2C methods will be written - many patterns only provide the graphic chart! In this case, I find it most helpful to count and write down the number of each color before starting. Be sure to also pay attention to when one side of the pattern begins to decrease for rectangular panels! I like to mark this side with a stitch marker or some scrap yarn as a reminder.



 

FREE C2C Patterns to Get Started

Each of the patterns below is worked from the bottom left corner to the upper right corner.



Gradient Baby Blanket

For this pattern, you will need 7 colors of yarn. Arrange the colors in the order that makes you happy. Conveniently, this works out very well for rainbows 🌈. This project is also a good stash buster. The blue gradient blanket in the photos was made entirely from scrap yarns left over from other projects.


Essentially, work 3 rows in each color before changing. Increase at both ends through row 38 - this will be the middle row of the second band of your starting color - then decrease at both ends until the blanket is finished.


For the sake of making the pattern easier to read, I'm using rainbow colors for the written pattern (and the chart).


To make this project, I used weight 4 yarns from my stash and an H (5mm) hook. Gauge is largely unimportant - each square measures about 1 inch by 1 inch.


A graph of the gradient blanket in colorwork. A written version of this pattern is available to the left. If you need a more screen reader friendly version, please email me from the about page.

Key:

R - red - color 1

O - orange - color 2

Y - yellow - color 3

G - green - color 4

B - blue - color 5

I - indigo - color 6

P - purple - color 7

→ Row 1 [WS]: R1 (1 square) ← Row 2 [RS]: R2 (2 squares) → Row 3 [WS]: R3 (3 squares) ← Row 4 [RS]: O4 (4 squares) → Row 5 [WS]: O5 (5 squares) ← Row 6 [RS]: O6 (6 squares) → Row 7 [WS]: Y7 (7 squares) ← Row 8 [RS]: Y8 (8 squares) → Row 9 [WS]: Y9 (9 squares) ← Row 10 [RS]: G10 (10 squares) → Row 11 [WS]: G11 (11 squares) ← Row 12 [RS]: G12 (12 squares) → Row 13 [WS]: B13 (13 squares) ← Row 14 [RS]: B14 (14 squares) → Row 15 [WS]: B15 (15 squares)

A halfway completed gradient baby blanket done in shades of blue and cream.

← Row 16 [RS]: I16 (16 squares) → Row 17 [WS]: I17 (17 squares) ← Row 18 [RS]: I18 (18 squares) → Row 19 [WS]: P19 (19 squares) ← Row 20 [RS]: P20 (20 squares) → Row 21 [WS]: P21 (21 squares) ← Row 22 [RS]: I22 (22 squares) → Row 23 [WS]: I23 (23 squares) ← Row 24 [RS]: I24 (24 squares) → Row 25 [WS]: B25 (25 squares) ← Row 26 [RS]: B26 (26 squares) → Row 27 [WS]: B27 (27 squares)

← Row 28 [RS]: G28 (28 squares) → Row 29 [WS]: G29 (29 squares) ← Row 30 [RS]: G30 (30 squares) → Row 31 [WS]: Y31 (31 squares) ← Row 32 [RS]: Y32 (32 squares) → Row 33 [WS]: Y33 (33 squares) ← Row 34 [RS]: O34 (34 squares) → Row 35 [WS]: O35 (35 squares)

A completed gradient baby blanket done in shades of blue and cream, draped over a white crib with dark trim.

← Row 36 [RS]: O36 (36 squares) → Row 37 [WS]: R37 (37 squares) ← Row 38 [RS]: R38 (38 squares) Corner: Start decreasing on both ends → Row 39 [WS]: R37 (37 squares) ← Row 40 [RS]: O36 (36 squares) → Row 41 [WS]: O35 (35 squares) ← Row 42 [RS]: O34 (34 squares) → Row 43 [WS]: Y33 (33 squares) ← Row 44 [RS]: Y32 (32 squares) → Row 45 [WS]: Y31 (31 squares) ← Row 46 [RS]: G30 (30 squares) → Row 47 [WS]: G29 (29 squares) ← Row 48 [RS]: G28 (28 squares) → Row 49 [WS]: B27 (27 squares)

← Row 50 [RS]: B26 (26 squares) → Row 51 [WS]: B25 (25 squares) ← Row 52 [RS]: I24 (24 squares) → Row 53 [WS]: I23 (23 squares)

A folded completed gradient baby blanket done in shades of blue and cream, draped over a white crib with dark trim.

← Row 54 [RS]: I22 (22 squares) → Row 55 [WS]: P21 (21 squares) ← Row 56 [RS]: P20 (20 squares) → Row 57 [WS]: P19 (19 squares)

← Row 58 [RS]: I18 (18 squares) → Row 59 [WS]: I17 (17 squares) ← Row 60 [RS]: I16 (16 squares) → Row 61 [WS]: B15 (15 squares) ← Row 62 [RS]: B14 (14 squares) → Row 63 [WS]: B13 (13 squares) ← Row 64 [RS]: G12 (12 squares) → Row 65 [WS]: G11 (11 squares) ← Row 66 [RS]: G10 (10 squares) → Row 67 [WS]: Y9 (9 squares) ← Row 68 [RS]: Y8 (8 squares) → Row 69 [WS]: Y7 (7 squares) ← Row 70 [RS]: O6 (6 squares) → Row 71 [WS]: O5 (5 squares) ← Row 72 [RS]: O4 (4 squares) → Row 73 [WS]: R3 (3 squares) ← Row 74 [RS]: R2 (2 squares) → Row 75 [WS]: R1 (1 square)

 

A completed heart dishcloth with an aqua heart surrounded by gray to make a square.

Heart Dishcloth

For this pattern, you will need 2 colors of yarn. This pattern is smaller than the blanket above, but has more frequent color changes. In the video, I work the color changes using the intarsia method (never cutting off the aqua - color B).


I recommend using cotton for this project to make a useful dishcloth. I used Lion Brand Re-Up yarn (any medium weight will do) and an H (5mm) hook. Gauge is largely unimportant - each square measured a bit under 1 inch by 1 inch.


Key:

A - color A - shown in the photos as grey

B - color B - shown in the photos as aqua

Graph of the corner to corner heart crochet dishcloth. See written directions below - email me from the About page if you need screen reader friendly written instructions.

→ Row 1 [WS]: A x 1 (1 square) ← Row 2 [RS]: A x 2 (2 squares) → Row 3 [WS]: A x 3 (3 squares) ← Row 4 [RS]: A x 4 (4 squares) → Row 5 [WS]: A x 5 (5 squares) ← Row 6 [RS]: A x 6 (6 squares) → Row 7 [WS]: A x 1, B x 5, A x 1 (7 squares) ← Row 8 [RS]: A x 2, B x 5, A x 1 (8 squares) → Row 9 [WS]: A x 1, B x 6, A x 2 (9 squares) ← Row 10 [RS]: A x 3, B x 6, A x 1 (10 squares) → Row 11 [WS]: A x 2, B x 6, A x 3 (11 squares)

Corner: Start decreasing on both ends ← Row 12 [RS]: A x 3, B x 6, A x 1 (10 squares) → Row 13 [WS]: A x 1, B x 6, A x 2 (9 squares) ← Row 14 [RS]: A x 2, B x 3, A x 3 (8 squares) → Row 15 [WS]: A x 2, B x 4, A x 1 (7 squares) ← Row 16 [RS]: A x 1, B x 3, A x 2 (6 squares) → Row 17 [WS]: A x 1, B x 3, A x 1 (5 squares) ← Row 18 [RS]: A x 1, B x 2, A x 1 (4 squares) → Row 19 [WS]: A x 3 (3 squares) ← Row 20 [RS]: A x 2 (2 squares) → Row 21 [WS]: A x 1 (1 square)

 

Closeup of the feed dogs of a sewing machine. One of the feed dogs has somehow managed to snap in half.

That's it for now! Is C2C a new technique for you or is it one of your favorites? What techniques should we try next? Let me know in the comments!


Remember you can follow me here on the blog by filling out the form at the bottom of the page so you never miss a post. Follow me on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for even more crafting content between blog posts!


As a side note - RIP the feed dogs on my favorite sewing machine. My sewing kick will continue when I get her back from the shop as some of the screws make it unable to repair at home.

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