Monday, September 28, 2009

Picot Edging

First of all, I want to say that I've made this hanging kitchen towel thingie many times and have never given it a picot edging. I've never started and ended the edging with a slip stitch before either. But, there's always a first time for everything.
-- I have always made it with an edging, though.


After finishing the buttonhole and weaving in ends, start with thread in the same or a different color. As usual, for starting any crochet project, make a slip knot around the hook. Then to get an almost invisible start to the edging, slip stitch into the bottom of the first sc in the project.

The picture shows the thread after it has been pulled through the bottom of the sc but before it's been pulled through the starting loop. To get the yo through the starting loop more easily, hold one edge of the loop (the part of the loop with the loose end) with your left hand as you pull the thread through. That completes the slip stitch.

Then, sc into the edge of the next row, a sc row.

Make a picot into that sc.

I used the first method of making picots (as described in the American Thread Company brochure excerpt). I chained 3 and then did a slip stitch into the top of the last sc. NexStitch has a nice video of the stitch.

As you can see, it is a bit tricky. That's probably why there is an alternative way to do the picot (as mentioned by both the booklet and NexStitch) -- namely, instead of doing a slip stitch, make another sc (or whatever stitch the picot is on top of) "in the same space" or, in other words, as if one were doing an increase.

Just doing a sc without either the slip stitch or the "increase" would make the picot too open.

One isn't limited to doing just 3 or 4 chains for a picot. It just depends on how large you want it to be. However, with more chain stitches, the inside of the loop of chain stitches becomes more visible, and it comes closer to being a chain loop. One is also not limited to doing picots on top of sc's. It can be done on top of most any stitch. Picots also don't have to be restricted to edgings.

To finish this edging, repeat *sc 4, picot* around.

When adding an edging in knitting, one has to be careful about row and stitch gauge. A knit stitch is about 1 1/2 times wider than it is tall (at least for a gauge of 4 sts and 6 rows per inch). So, the number of stitches to be picked up along a vertical edge is different than the number of rows along that edge. Although, when crocheting along a knitted edge, one generally crochets one stitch for every two knitted rows.

On the other hand, a single crochet stitch is pretty much as tall as it is wide. When crocheting along a vertical edge, crochet 1 st off of a row of sc's and 2 sts off of a row of dc's and 3 sts off of a row of tr's (triple crochet sts), etc. (A dc is about twice as tall as a sc, and a tr is about 3 times as tall.) The picture shows a crocheted edge (plus some picots).

For the buttonhole, crochet as many stitches as were skipped at the bottom of the buttonhole. End the edging with a slip stitch.

To finish, sew on a button. And you have the finished product.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

sc edging

The project we're working on has an (sc1, ch2) edging on one edge of a terrycloth dishtowel. And, we'll finish by working an edging around the part we just crocheted.

But before we work on that, let's look at a knit blanket with a single crochet edging.

To make it easier to add a crocheted edging, I used a chain stitch selvage when knitting. -- I.e., knit the last stitch of every row and slip the first stitch of every row purlwise with yarn in front -- on both right and wrong side rows.

To make the single crochet edging:
Start with a single loop on the hook, just as you did when starting the edge for the terry towel dish towel. I used a size 10 needle for the knitting part and a size H crochet hook for the crochet part. (Though .... a size J crochet hook might have been more appropriate since a J hook is the same size around as a size 10 knitting needle -- both 6mm.)

Make a single crochet into each (double) loop of the chain stitch selvage and a single crochet into the bottom/top of each stitch from the cast on/bind off edge.

To turn a corner and make it lay flat, single crochet 3 times in the same place. The first picture shows a corner with the extra stitches and also a sc in the process of being created later in the round.

When you get back to the first stitch worked, you need a way to join the edge together. The answer is the slip stitch. (The slip stitch can also be used as an invisible stitch.)

Most stitches are worked by slipping the hook under both loops at the top of a stitch (unless you want a ribbed effect). For a slip stitch (sl st), place the hook under the back loop only as in the pic. Yarn over. Then draw the yarn through both loops. NexStitch has a video of the stitch plus other uses for the slip stitch.

In England, the slip stitch is sometimes called a single crochet stitch.

Finish off the piece essentially as you would a piece of knitting or crocheting. Elongate the last loop and snip the loop in half. Then weave the loose end in. NexStitch has a video on weaving in ends. I dislike needles and so use a crochet hook to pull the yarn through.

If this were crocheted back and forth, I would do exactly as the video shows (except for using a hook instead of a needle). Since this is crocheted in the round, I wove the yarn under the first few stitches of the round instead of the last few.

Here is the finished piece, not yet blocked. The slip stitch join is in the upper right hand corner. The bottom of the picture shows what the wrong side of a single crochet stitch looks like.

Finally, here is an excerpt from the American Thread Company booklet describing the slip stitch.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a buttonhole

A horizontal crocheted buttonhole is generally made in a row of sc's simply because sc's have a little height but not much. And so, the buttonhole would have a little height but not much. The bottom of the buttonhole is the top of the last row. (Skip as many sts as the buttonhole is wide.) It doesn't have to be a row of sc's as it is here. It could be a mesh or a row of dc's or ....

The top of the buttonhole is made with ch sts.

Here's what the mesh from last week looks like -- unstretched and unblocked. I ended up with 15 sts across. My button is just over 5 sts in width. Then, for this go-around, this is what I did next:

Turn, ch2, sc across.
Turn, ch1, sc4 (I did ch 1 instead of ch 2 to give the edge a more rounded look - a decrease at the beginning of the row as discussed in the previous post. I'm going to end the row with another decrease, sc2tog, to give the other corner a rounded look as well.)

The next question is how many ch sts to make to create a buttonhole.

The general answer is "however many sts skipped". However, at least for me, ch sts stretch more than sc sts. The second picture shows this.

For the third picture, I did 1 fewer ch st than I skipped in the previous row.

And here's the final picture.

The final row is:

Turn, ch 1, sc 4, ch 4, skip 5, sc 4, sc2tog.

However, I want the top narrower. So I frogged the buttonhole row and the sc row before that and worked another mesh row (to take the st count down to 9 from 15.):

Turn, ch2, skip 1, *skip 1, dc, ch1* across, ending with skip 1, double crochet together next st with the third st after that.

(The last step in the dc2tog is shown in the pic.)

Then, the final two rows are
Turn, ch 2, sc across
Turn, ch 1, sc 1, ch 4, skip 5, sc2tog.

After finishing the buttonhole row, it's time to cut the thread and weave in loose ends. NexStitch has a video illustrating this. (I use a crochet hook instead of a needle to draw the yarn or thread under the tops of stitches or through their posts.)

The next step is an edging, to give it a more finished look. The next post is on edging, in general, and also the slip stitch.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Decreasing, Increasing, and Cluster Stitches

To make a more rounded top to the kitchen towel hanger, we'll do some decreasing at the beginning and end of a row.

The previous decreases in the kitchen towel hanger pattern were spaced out across the row. They were the easiest type of decrease -- skip a stitch or two before working the next st -- perfect for a mesh. The effect was more like "gathering" in sewing. The decreases for the next part of the pattern are more solid.

Rather than discuss button holes and decreasing in the same post, I decided to create a separate post on decreasing -- and, while I'm at it, on increasing and also the cluster stitch.

Increasing is easy to do in crocheting. One doesn't have to worry about which way the increase will lean (as one does in knitting). All one needs to do is crochet (single crochet or double crochet or ...) two or more times into the same stitch.

Increasing at the beginning of a row is a little more tricky. When working a dc row, one often starts out the row by doing a ch 3 to substitute for the first dc of the row. (The first 2 chains of the ch 3 serve as the body or post of the st. The last chain serves as the top.) To increase at the beginning of a dc row: ch 3 then dc in the last st of the previous row (instead of the next to last st). This produces a single increase. For a double increase, ch 3 then dc twice (instead of once) in the last st of the previous row.

Decreasing is a little harder to do. But, again one doesn't have to worry about which way the decrease will lean (as one does in knitting). But, I'm going to talk about cluster sts first.

To make a cluster stitch of 3 triple crochet sts (as in the diagram at the right from a booklet from the American Thread Company), start a triple crochet st but do not do the last step. Two loops remain on the hook. Then start another triple crochet st in the same st but do not do the last step. Three loops remain on the hook. Then start a third triple crochet st in the same st but do not do the last step. Four loops remain on the hook. To complete the st, yo (as in the picture) and pull the yarn through all loops. The stitch is complete, and just one loop remains on the hook. The pattern at the right could be written as:

*cs (3 tr), ch 2, skip 2*, repeat * to *

with cs standing for cluster stitch and 3 tr showing that 3 triple crochet sts are combined to form the cs. (But, there are very few standard abbreviations in crocheting or, for that matter, very little in the way of standard terminology.)

NexStitch calls a st like this a popcorn, bobble, or puff and reserves the term cluster st to one that creates a decrease. (The link is to a video of a cluster st.)

Decreases are made as follows: (This time, I'll use an example of decreasing in double crochet. But, "triple" or "single" could be substituted wherever the word "double" appears in the directions.)
-- To double crochet 2 sts together, start a double crochet st but do not do the last step. Two loops remain on the hook. Then start another double crochet st in the next st but do not do the last step. Three loops remain on the hook (as in the picture). To complete the st, yo and pull the yarn through all loops. The stitch is complete, and just one loop remains on the hook.

Here is a video from NexStitch on decreasing.

Some abbreviations:
sc2tog -- single crochet next 2 sts together
tr2tog -- triple crochet next 2 sts together
dc3tog -- double crochet next 3 sts together.
Directions for dc3tog: Start a double crochet st but do not do the last step. Two loops remain on the hook. Start a double crochet st in the next st but do not do the last step. Three loops remain on the hook. Start a double crochet st in the next st but do not do the last step. Four loops remain on the hook . To complete the st, yo and pull the yarn through all loops. The stitch is complete, and just one loop remains on the hook.

To decrease at the beginning of a dc row, ch 2 (instead of 3), then dc in the next to last st of the previous row. The ch 2 is a substitute for the post of the first dc -- in this substitute for a dc2tog.