There is actually no one right way of adjusting crochet patterns, as it will depend on the project you are trying to create and the pattern itself. It is mostly a trial and error method when you choose to adjust a pattern. The first thing you will need to consider are the number of stitches you need to do for the original pattern and the number of rows you need to make. Sometimes, you wouldn’t even have to change the hook and yarn to use. Instead, you only need to adjust the number of rows and stitches indicated and adjust it with the width and the length of the project you are making. Subtracting or adding a few stitches in a row will be able to adjust the width while subtracting or adding a few rows will adjust the length of the project.
But even before you start doing this legwork all by yourself, you might want to contact the crochet designer first and ask him or her to do this for you. There are several designers that are willing to do that and it will save you a lot of pain trying to figure out how to adjust the pattern yourself. You have nothing to lose by asking, right?
Additionally, most patterns have repetitive stitch patterns that come in series. When this is the case, you must make the adjustments within that repetition itself. First, you must determine the number of stitches that are used in the repeated section of the pattern. You will know if this is a repetition or not through the asterisks, parentheses and brackets in the instructions. Count the number of stitches you need to make for a single repetition and make the adjustment you wish to do. So that you wouldn’t get confused, as soon as you have made an adjustment for a single line, try rewriting the whole pattern before you actually start making it. Always remember to be consistent.
Not only do patterns have repetition sometimes, but also there are several patterns that have increases and decreases in the number of stitches that need to be done per row. They are normally indicated by abbreviations such as inc, dec, tog which respectively mean increase, decrease, or do a stitch together. Other times, it will explicitly state that you need to include multiple stitches from the previous row into one stitch on the new row. When you find these, just make sure to be consistent in the adjustments you make. The best way to do it is to calculate the size of adjustment you need to make. Say, for example the original pattern begins with 15 stitches and you chose to adjust it to 12, you know that is about 80% of the pattern. Be consistent when adjusting the rows that have and increase and decrease in them that way.
Another method to adjust the patterns is to change the hook and yarn you want to use instead. If you want to make a project bigger, what you can do is change the hook size and use yarn that matches the hook size you chose. As you are already aware of, the bigger the hook size the thicker the yarn you will need to use. If the original pattern calls for light worsted yarn, and you want to go up a size higher, try using a worsted yarn instead with the corresponding hook to match this yarn. Remember to create a gauge before you begin with your project just to make sure if there are further adjustments you will still need to make.
If you are a fan of computations, this type of adjustment will be good for you. Say, for example you have a pattern for a dress of a 17” doll you wish to adjust to fit a 12” doll instead. The best way to adjust is to calculate the percentage of the new size to adjust the pattern. 12” is basically 70.5% of 17”, so what you will need to do is calculate the number of stitches to adjust the width of the dress. Multiply the number of stitches of the row to 70.5% and there you will have the new number of stitches you need to do for your 12” doll. The same rule needs to be applied all throughout the pattern. Wherever there is an increase or decrease in the number of stitches in the pattern, always apply 70.5% to have the exact number of stitches you need to do for your 12” doll instead. Again, before you proceed, make a swatch to determine the gauge that you need for the pattern you are doing.
Lastly, keep in mind that experimentation is key. Even if your calculations seem sound, something may still go wrong and things may still look amiss or your project that may still not fit your doll. If one method did not work, you can always try another method. Stay patient and continue to try making the necessary adjustments you think will work. Take down notes as to where you did wrong the first time. It’s not wrong to unravel your work so that you can do it again. Employ the new adjustments you decided to make and see what happens. It takes a lot of patience and experience to be able to adjust a pattern. Eventually, your hard work will pay off and your work will turn out the way you want it to be.
Although adjusting crochet patterns isn’t all that fun, it surely pays off in the end when you’re able to figure out how to adjust a pattern to your liking. Always remember to breathe even when you are getting frustrated. And if it’s too much, there’s always another day to try again.