zondag 16 september 2012

Learn to Crochet Simple Style Part 4: Foundations of Crochet

In this part I will show you the real basic stitches of crochet. Every piece will start with these stitches so you will use them a lot!

I will show you how to make a slipknot, how to make a foundation chain, chain stitches and the slip stitch with lots of pictures (thanks to Big Man!) and explanations.

I will also present you the first practice pattern in this course. Please leave me feedback on the tutorial itself! Any kind of feedback is appreciated. I would love to see your comments.

 The very very first start

First off, I do hope you tried to hold your yarn and hook and hopefully you found a comfortable way to hold both. If not, no problem! You will find a way as you crochet.
Every crocheted piece starts with a slipknot (also the first thing you have to make for a knitted piece) and from this starting point you will make the very foundation of your crocheted piece.
So, here we go!

Cross yarn

Take your yarn. Just the yarn. In your left  hand hold the working yarn and the yarn end. 

Hold yarn
Cross these ends with your left hand fingers (I usally hold the yarn end between index and thumb and working yarn between the rest of my fingers and the palm of my hand). 

Pull through working yarn

Put your index and thumb of your right hand through the loop and pull the working end through the loop. 

Pull tight
Pull it a bit tight.
Tightened slipknot
Your slipknot is done!

Around hook
Now put it around your hook.

Foundation chain and chain stitch

With the slipknot you can make a foundation chain. This really is the foundation of your work. From this “line” you will build, adding rows or rounds of crochet.
You make rows when you work flat (working from right to left), and rounds when you work in a circle (either in a spiral or with closed rounds). I will adress these two types of working further along in this course. In this lesson, we are only going to work flat.

Now we are going to make the foundation chain. This foundation is made of chain stitches made after eachother. This is the first "row" that is made in crochet, it is the basis on which you will work your stitches. Chain stitches are used to add height at the start of a row or round, or to create laciness in motifs and shawls.

The chain stitch goes as follows:

Slipknot on hook
Put your slipknot on your hook.

Hold the yarn in your left hand and the hook in your right.

Yarn over hook
Put the yarn over the hook.

Grab yarn with hook
With the hooky end, pull the yarn through the loop of the slipknot. 

Chain stitch done
Chain stitch made.

For a foundation chain, just repeat this step for the amount stated in a pattern. Let’s say the pattern says: “Chain 7”. This means that after you slide the slipknot on the hook you have to repeat the steps for the chain stitch seven times. This means that one loop will stay on your hook. This loop does not count as a stitch. For counting, just count the “v’s” or the bumps on the bottom of the foundation chain.

Foundation chain made of 7 chain stitches
After that, the pattern will tell you how to go further. 

Stitches can be worked on the top of the foundation chain, with your hook going underneath both the front loop and the back loop of the chain stitch.
My favorite method is to work them into the bottom bumps of the chain.

Slip stitch

In this lesson I also wanted to show you how to do the slip stitch. The slip stitch is mostly used to close rounds if you are working in the round, or used as a border. It creates a flat line at the border and is very sturdy.

A slip stitch is worked into a stitch (this is the same for the single crochet, double crochet, etc). “Working in a stitch” means that you go into a stitch by putting your hook underneath the front and back loops of the stitch. If the patterns wants you to work it differently, it will say “work in back loop only” or “work in front loop only”. If the pattern says nothing you can assume you have to put your hook underneath both loops. Just to make it visual, here are the three variations:

Front loop
Back loop
Both loops
So, for making a slip stitch, do the following steps:

Insert hook in stitch underneath both loops or in bottom bump

Hook in bottom bump
Put yarn over hook

Grab yarn with hook
Pull through stithc and loop
Pull yarn with the hooky end through stitch AND the loop on the hook. Slip stitch made.

Following pictures show how a slip stitch looks made on a foundation chain and as a border:

To learn how to read patterns is actually very simple in both knitting and crocheting. In the beginning it all read as jibberish to me. But after reading one or two it all made sense. Basically, following a patterns is very black-and-white. Just do as it says, there is no deeper meaning or hidden message. Really, there is none! After that, just doing as it says, crocheting became really easy for me. 

For the first pattern I am going to help you by writing a simple pattern, but not in the normal way. 

In the first pattern I will not use abbreviations and use full sentences guiding you through the steps for the first project. I did write it in a way I write my “official” patterns , just to give you a taste of the language used in patterns and of what parts a "standard" pattern consists. 
I know I haven't explained all the techniques that are used in the first pattern yet. To prevent this post from becoming too long I am going to show you how to fasten off and how to weave in ends tomorrow. So hopefully you are not going to go too fast!

The first practice pattern is a small fun project. Instant gratification! With this pattern you can make some really cute bracelets in a variety of colours with different embellishments.

Have fun and I do hope I will see your project over here or on Ravelry (the pattern has its own entry over here in the database)!

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