What Are Multiples and Why Are They Important?

multiples600I’ve been getting a lot of questions about multiples lately and thought that it would be a great post to write! Have you ever looked at a crochet pattern and seen the word “Multiple” and wondered what it means? What does “Chain a multiple of 4+3” mean anyway? Well, I’m about to tell you!


When a designer mentions a multiple in their crochet pattern, they are letting you know how many chains you need to create the stitch pattern. If you see “Chain a multiple of 12,” it means you need 12 stitches to create the design or stitch pattern. Obviously, if you are making an afghan or something larger, 12 stitches will not be enough. You will have to chain a multiple of this.

Example: You would chain (12×5) which is 60 or (12×20) which is 240.

When you see “Chain a multiple of 4 +3 for the foundation chain” it means that you have to chain a multiple of 4 stitches and add 3 stitches to it for the foundation chain. These 3 extra stitches act as the turning chain.

Example: You would chain a multiple of 4 i.e. (4 x 5 = 20, 4 x 10 = 40, etc.) and add 3 (your chain would be 23, 43, etc.)

A common mistake that people make is adding the number after the plus sign before multiplying. This will result in the WRONG stitch count. You will most definitely have to frog your work and will probably end up pulling out some hair 😉

You have to remember to multiply the number to the left of the plus sign before adding the additional number that is on the right side of the plus sign.multiple

whymultiplesNow you’re probably wondering “Why would I need to know this?” Well, say you are browsing the web and find an afghan pattern that you are totally in love with. However, the only size available is a baby afghan size. If you wanted to make it larger, and the multiple is listed in the pattern, you could easily size it on your own! You would just chain the multiple listed and make sure to measure and check your gauge as you go along!nomultipleWhat happens if you want to re-size a pattern and there is no multiple listed? What do you do then? The answer, math! Let’s look at an example of a pattern:


2 dc in 4th ch from hook. *Skip 2 sts, 1 sc, sk 2 sts, 5 dc in next ch* Repeat * until you have 3 sts left. Sk 2 sts, sc in last ch.


To determine the multiple, you need to first look at everything in between * and **.

  • sk 2 sts – These 2 skipped stitches count as 2
  • 1 sc – counts as 1 stitch
  • sk 2 sts – counts as 2 sts
  • 5 dc in the next st – Since you are only using one chain to work these 5 stitches in, it counts as 1

So you have 6 stitches so far. Your first part of the equation is 6. We aren’t finished yet. It gets a little more intense here so stick with me.

You have to remember to add the beginning and end parts of the pattern as well.

  • 2 dc in the 4th ch from hook – Even though you are only doing this once, you still need to count it. This counts as 4 stitches
  • sk 2 sts – counts as 2 sts
  • 1 sc into last ch – this counts as 1 stitch.

Add these together and you have 7 stitches. So your multiple would be 6+7.

You would chain a multiple of 6

Example: 6 x 20=120

and add 7

120 + 7 = 127

I hope I haven’t killed you with math and I hope that now you have a better understanding of multiples and will try this yourself the next time you come across a pattern that needs re-sizing! Happy crocheting!

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  1. So if i have a pattern of 85 stitch and she said to make it bigger chain a multiple of 4 does it mean i chain 4 till the length of baby blanket i want

    1. Hi Debra! If the pattern calls for a multiple of 4 then you have to chain until you reach the length you want but have to make sure it is a multiple of 4 (for ex 100, 124, 140) I hope that makes sense.

  2. Oh deal Lord! Thank you Thank you! You have no idea how helpful this is! I’ve been trying to figure this out for months! What a great explanation, you are AWESOME!

  3. Hi! Thank you for making this easy to understand. I do have one question…for example, what if row 1 just has you crocheting sc to form a base and then rows 2, 3 and 4 each have a different “pattern” to it? Which row do you calculate the multiples from? Row 2? I hope my question makes sense…I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee yet! 🙂

  4. Hi Ami, this article it´s really interesting and hopefull, I´m wonder if you don´t mind if I share it in my blog, because it´s a very common mistake that you never know what´s means when you see in a pattern “multiple”, and you really explain well what we gonna do, and if the projects need more stiches what number i have to multiply and what number i have to add). Please let me know if you don´t main share this post in my blog.

  5. I wish every pattern listed the multiples. I HATE math because I am so bad at it. Is there any way you could email me that explanation, so I could print it out and save it? I do understand how the multiples work – and have adjusted patterns from it many times. I just want to be able to “do the math” myself when the multiples are not listed. Thanks VERY much!!

    1. I’m so happy that my post is useful! 🙂 You can actually print this post directly from my site by clicking the light green PrintFriendly icon at the top or bottom of the post. It allows you to delete text/images that you do not want to print, before you print it.

  6. This is so very helpful, and your careful explanation and example is so clear and easy to follow. I always had trouble figuring out the multiplies when they aren’t given, but now that you’ve taken us through this example so logically, I won’t fear figuring multiples again! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your expertise.

  7. This is wonderful. Thanks so much. I’ve never had a clue how to figure out the multiples like this.

    I was with you til you wrote “2 dc in the 4th ch from hook – Even though you are only doing this once, you still need to count it. This counts as 4 stitches”. I would have thought it would have counted as 3. Can you help me get this straight in my mind, please?

    Thanks again for this valuable information!!!

    1. Thank you Diane. It’s actually 4 since you are working a dc into the 4th chain, there are 3 chains that you are essentially skipping and working a dc into the 4th chain which is counted as 1 stitch. The 3 chains plus the 1 ch you are working into is a total of 4. I hope that makes sense!

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