Thursday, 9 March 2023

Binary double crocheting, photo tutorial using UK terms

When binary crocheting, it is best to start with a binary foundation row to start with. If you haven't already, see my Tutorial “Making A Binary Foundation Double Crochet Row” for how to do this.

For the ear warmer/headband, 68 stitches are required. 272 for the scarf. Any number of stitches can be crocheted using this technique so reduce and increase as you wish.

For binary crocheting, it is recommended that you use a size of hook at least one size up from that recommended for the yarn. Perhaps two sizes up for yarn thicker than 4-ply. The yarn used in this tutorial is DK weight and the hook is 6mm (J/10).

Gauge is 14 sts and 16 rows makes a 4 in/10 cm square worked in pattern with two strands of DK yarn.
Step 22
In this example, orange is referred to as the “dominant yarn” and red the “supporting yarn”.

After making the binary foundation double crochet row for the necessary number of stitches called for in the pattern, we need a binary turning chain. With supporting yarn, yarn over from below hook going from front to back

Step 23
With dominant yarn, yarn over from above hook going from back to front.
Step 24
Pull dominant yarn through two loops (one loop remaining on hook).

You have completing a binary turning chain. You need to make one at the start of every new row of binary double crochet. It does not count as a stitch.

Step 25
Position the binary foundation double crochet row to your left and hook on the right.

Keep the supporting colour parallel to the chain as if you were about to crochet over it.

Insert hook into the two uppermost dominant coloured loops of the first stitch as indicated by the darning needle.

Ensure hook goes under the strand of supporting colour yarn.
Step 26
With dominant yarn, yarn over from above hook going from front to back.
Step 27
Pull dominant yarn through stitch (two loops on hook).
Step 28
Using the supporting colour, yarn over from below hook going from front to back (three loops on hook).
Step 29
Using dominant colour, yarn over from above hook going from back to front and pull through all three loops (one loop remaining on hook).
Step 30
You have almost completed one binary double crochet stitch.

Before making the next stitch, give the supporting yarn (red) a gentle tug to take up the slack, not too much. Don’t worry about exactly how much for now. I will be giving you some tips on how to achieve the perfect tension for your supporting yarn a little further along.
Step 31
Insert hook through both loops of the next stitch (as indicated by the darning needle - it looks like there’s only one but the second is obscured behind the first loop).

Ensure hook also goes under the strand of supporting colour yarn.

To make further binary double crochets, repeat Steps 26 to 31.

Do three or four more stitches and then I want to give you some tips to help neaten your binary crochet.

Video for Steps 22-31

Too loose?
Turn your work over to inspect the other side.

Depending on how tightly you tugged on the supporting yarn at the end of step 9, it could look very different to how we really want it to.

The photo to the right shows we didn’t tug hard enough (or at all) and the tension on the supporting yarn is too loose.

Too tight?
This photo shows the tension is too tight, the supporting coloured loops are pinching the dominant colour too much, you can’t see enough of the supporting colour. In extreme cases, the supporting yarn might disappear into the dominant yarn altogether.
Just right
This is how we ideally want it to look, the supporting yarn looks like a series of dashes, sitting snugly below the dominant coloured loop above it. Neither too tight nor too loose – this is the goldilocks zone, “just right” is what we’re aiming for.

It takes a few practice rows to get to know how hard to do that little tug on the supporting yarn at the end of making the stitch.

Practice makes perfect. Keep doing this row and frogging it (unravelling) until you’re happy with how it looks.

When you’re proficient and wanting to be able to work faster at binary double crocheting, you may want to do all your tensioning of the supporting yarn before you do the next supporting yarn over (just before step 28 rather than as part of step 30).

Rows 4 and 5

So far on the ear warmer/headband, we have made two rows using orange as dominant and red as supporting. For the next two rows, we are going to swap the dominance, making red the dominant colour and orange the supporting colour. This is achieved very simply. At the end of the second row, move the orange yarn down so it is underneath the red yarn

Work your binary turning chain (yo with orange first and then red), turn and then continue as you did with the second row. The only difference will be the yarn colours will be swapped over.

Work two rows with red as dominant and orange supporting

Rows 5 and 6
– Swap back to orange dominant and red supporting for these two rows.

Keep alternating dominance every two rows until 17 rows have been completed

Cut tails, weave in three of the tails, leave one in the corner long enough to sew the open ends of the ear warmer/headband together (approx 18 in /45 cm).
Sewing up
Fold the ear warmer/headband in half lengthwise with whichever side you prefer inside the fold.

Shape it into a capital U with the fold on the outside as shown on the photograph.

Grasp an end with each of your hands, holding between your thumb and two forefingers, interleaf one end into the other end as indicated in the photograph.
Sew through all four layers of the ends, catch two loops on each layer. Work your way along with the stitches going up and down all along.

Weave in the final end and then carefully cut yarn off close to your work.
Turn the ear warmer/headband inside out so the stitches are inside and try it on!


The scarf photographed measures 62 in x 8.5 in (157.5 cm x 22 cm) excluding fringe and requires 272 stitches on your Binary Foundation Double Crochet row. To alter the length of the scarf, you can add or subtract as many sts as you like.

To make the scarf in two colours, follow this tutorial's instructions for the ear warmer/headband, ie 2 rows with orange (say) dominant and red (say) supporting, the following two rows with red dominant and orange supporting. Continue alternating every two rows.

To make a version of the ear warmer/headband or scarf in the rainbow shades of the one photographed, you will need nine different colours. The paid for print-ready PDF pattern in my Etsy shop CLICK HERE contains a full list of the colours used and quantities, which rows are dominant and supporting. It also has a tutorial on how to change the supporting yarn colour. The paid for version includes a separate PDF document written entirely in US terms.


Red dominant colour, orange supporting on every row
Both sides are the same
Red and orange take turns at being dominant, changing on every row
Back and front subtly different but both look attractive
Red dominant for two rows, next two rows orange dominant, repeated
More pronounced difference between the two sides, both very interesting
Have fun coming up with your own variations!

How to crochet a Binary Foundation Double Crochet row ... also called a binary cord (bfdc UK terms)

Allow me to show you to two items I have crocheted using something I'm calling "binary crocheting". I had an "I wonder what happens" moment a few months ago and have been experimenting with the results ever since. I'm not sure whether this has been documented before, someone else must've had the same idea in the past but I've never seen it in crochet magazines, online tutorials or any of the patterns I have used. This ear warmer/headband and long scarf were the result!

It's tricky to define it but here goes .... (UK crochet terminology is used throughout)

Binary crocheting is a way of crocheting using two colours in every row. The two colours aren’t used doubled throughout your work but neither are they carried behind. You don’t need bobbins of yarn either. One colour is kind of partially crocheted over, combined with yarn overs.

Different effects can be achieved by varying which colour is dominant and the number of rows where one colour is dominant over the other.

It sounds complicated but it really isn't, it's easy - and fun - to learn You'll understand more when you actually do it!

This tutorial shows you how to make a binary foundation double crochet row, step by step with detailed photographs. The binary double crochet foundation row is how both of the above two designs (ear warmers and a scarf) are started. 

This technique creates the chain start *and* the first row of double crochet at the same time. There will be another tutorial soon showing how to continue to do your follow on rows.

The yarn used in this tutorial is DK weight and the hook is 6mm (J/10). Ordinarily I would use a 4mm (G/6)  hook for DK weight yarn. For binary crocheting, it is recommended that you use a size of hook at least one size up from that recommended for the yarn, perhaps two for yarns thicker than 4-ply. 

You will need:
  • Two differently coloured yarns which show up well against each other.
  • Crochet hook at least one size larger than you would normally use for the yarn weight, two sizes for thicker yarn. Here I have gone with a 6mm instead of 4mm.
  • Blunt darning needle
Step 1:
With two colours of yarn held together, make a slip knot.

Don’t make the slip knot too tight, we will be unpicking it at the end of the row.
Step 2:
In this example, orange is referred to as the “dominant colour” and red as the “supporting colour”.

Leave the tails of the yarn dangling down, pull the supporting colour (from the red ball of yarn) so the loop shrinks and eventually disappears, leaving only the dominant colour loop remaining
Step 3:
Place remaining loop on hook and tighten the dominant colour so it sits on the hook neatly – remember not so tightly that it will be difficult to undo later. Be careful about tugging on the supporting colour, if you pull on it too much, it will come off!

Re-arrange your working yarn (from the balls of yarn) so the dominant colour is on top of the supporting colour and two yarn tails left hanging below.
Step 4:
With supporting yarn, yarn over from below hook going from front to back. The supporting yarn should end up in front of the dominant yarn.
Step 5:
With dominant colour, yarn over from above hook going from back to front.
Step 6:
Pull the dominant coloured loop through two loops. One binary chain completed. (One loop on hook).
Step 7:
Repeat steps 4-6 once. Two binary chains completed. (One loop on hook)
Step 8:
Insert hook into two loops of the first binary chain (one of each colour). (Three loops on hook)
Step 9:
With supporting yarn, yarn over from above hook going from back to front.
Step 10:
Pull supporting colour through first two loops only. (Two loops remaining on hook)
Step 11:
With supporting colour, yarn over from below hook going from front to back.
Step 12:
With dominant colour, yarn over from above hook going from back to front.
Step 13:
Pull dominant colour through first two loops only (two loops remaining on hook)
Step 14:
With supporting colour, yarn over from below hook going from front to back.
Step 15:
With dominant colour, yarn over from above hook going from back to front.
Step 16:
Pull dominant colour through all three loops (one loop remaining on hook)
Step 17:
Insert hook into two loops (both supporting colour) of the stitch below the current stitch
Step 18:
Repeat steps 9 to 17 for as many times necessary to produce the number of stitches desired, ending on Step 16.

The photographs will not match on the next run through but follow the written instructions exactly and you will end up with a binary double crochet foundation row like the one in the photograph.

Step 19:
To neaten the beginning of the binary foundation double crochet row, we’re going to unpick the slip knot made at the beginning of the row.

Insert a blunt darning needle into the small dominant coloured loop at the tip of the beginning of your work (as indicated in the photograph)
Step 20:
Carefully pull on the loop to enlarge it, keep pulling until the end of the yarn runs through the loop.
Step 21:
Give both yarn ends a gentle tug to resettle and neaten up.


Steps 1-17

Step 18

Steps 19-21

Please see the following tutorial "Binary Double Crocheting" CLICK HERE for instructions on making the follow on rows. Once you've learnt how to do the rows, you will be able to make both the ear warmer/headband and scarf too.

Print-friendly and US terms versions of the the patterns are available as downloadable PDFs in my Etsy shop, CLICK HERE to visit

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Braided Little Squares Scarf - today is the day!

Hello to blog readers old and new! I'm so happy to tell you my design was voted to be shown eighth (out of a total of 26 submitted) by the readers of CAL - Crochet A Long Facebook Group CLICK HERE to visit, and today is the day I get to show it off to you!

As promised - for a short time - the pattern is available to be downloaded for free. This link to it will expire on 23 November so click HERE to download my Braided Little Squares Scarf pattern without delay!

It's written in UK terms, uses the overlay mosaic crochet technique and has photos showing how to construct the special stitches needed and the fringe. A chart is provided for those who prefer to crochet from them.

The pattern has been thoroughly tested by a super group of volunteers. I was particularly pleased that three of my testers Susan, Mum and Shazia had never worked on an overlay mosaic crochet pattern before so it was great that they all managed to produce beautiful scarves as you can see below.

I've used Stylecraft Highland Heathers for mine, this is a Double Knitting weight yarn but my testers used lots of different yarns (detailed below). 

After the 23 November, the pattern will be available for a modest fee in my Etsy shop click HERE in UK terms. At that time, a US version will also be available. 

The design works well with solid colours as well as self-striping yarns with longer lengths. Variegated yarns (like those used for fair isle effect or having short colour changes) should be avoided for this design. 

Extra special thanks to Laurene Leeseberg Bluder and Silke Karp who were always available with help on the administration and overall organisation of the whole event. This design wouldn't exist without them. They work awfully hard in the background.

I leave you with photographs from my wonderful testers in no particular order other than how they arrived in my inbox. They said some lovely things about the pattern, which modesty forbids me to repeat here, but you can read what they had to say about the design on the CAL - Crochet A Long blog posting, click HERE.

Susan Powell

Used Crafty DK in Deep Lake and Cream purchased from Aldi. Strong contrasts work so well in Susan's gorgeous scarf.

Elaine Tuttle Shrock

Used 6 oz of Premier Anti Pilling DK in Meadow, 4.5 oz of Loops & Threads Joy DK in Snow. What an elegant scarf Elaine has created! 

Karen Dixon 

Used Cygnet DK, a truly gorgeous combination of Candyfloss and Chiffon. I just love pink and grey together! 

Tammy Alexander, unfortunately unable to finish her scarf due to circumstances outside her control but she made some fantastic observations on the pattern which will benefit everyone using the pattern in the future so she deserves big thanks and credit for her contribution.

Jamie Storer

Used Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Bedazzles and part of a Mega Ball DK from Hobbii in black. I think this yarn was made for this design, Jamie's scarf is so striking.

Anya Roche 

Used Nani’s Yarns 4 ply Mulberry Silk in colourways Peach to soft green, and 3-ply Merino silk in Black. As these yarns are thinner than DK recommended in the pattern, she went down to a 3.25mm hook.

Anya had her friend, Aleashia, model her creation. Very cleverly, she used fewer repeats and joined it in the round to make this wonderful cowl. 

It was a little bit big for Barry, the dog :-) Awwww, isn't he beautful though? 

Malathi Seshandra

Used Premier Luna and Cascade yarn. Another self-striping yarn used to great effect in Malathi's scarf.

Mum Taylor

Used Stylecraft Special DK in Teal and White, great contrast here again with bold colour blocks

Shazia Suhail

Sunshine colours will cheer up the greyest of winter days, a bright and fun combination.

Thanks again to all my testers for taking part in this, and the administrators behind the Facebook Group, it was a wonderful experience working with you all! The whole experience has been an utter joy.