Monday, February 18, 2008

More about Foundation Stitches

I'm seeing more interest in the idea of foundation stitches, which is very cool. A description, including pictures for foundation double crochet, is at

http://members.aol.com/Sbaycgoa/foundatn.htm

This was put up by my friend Mary Cahill, who also thought up the name Slam Dunk Slippers for the slipper pattern a few posts ago. Some of the information there, including the pictures, are scanned from the Learn How Book, put out by Coats and Clark -- my copy is dated 1959, and the pictures are on page 11. Not every edition of the Learn How Book (and there are lots of editions) have this technical tidbit. Earlier crochet books refer to any stitch used to begin a project other than chain stitch as a Foundation Stitch.

Some people are so excited when they learn about foundation stitches that they ask, "Why don't they teach you this stuff at the very beginning?" I hesitate to teach this concept until the crocheter is advanced enough to see the structure of the stitches. If a stitcher doesn't know what s/he's looking at, being specific about where and how to insert the hook can just be really confusing.

More visual aids for this technique, including how to do it with stitches other than double crochet, are on the DVD Crocheters' Guide, put out by Victorian Video.

The article in Interweave Crochet a few issues ago was interesting because it compared foundation double crochet with extended double crochet, also known as the Elmore Stitch. The only difference between the two is where you insert your hook. With extended double crochet, you are stitching into a row that is already there. With foundation stitches, you are making new stitches. While this may not seem like much, it makes all the difference in the world. Kind of like the difference between a winch and a wench, even though there's only one letter different.

Most important, with foundation stitches, you want to keep an eye on that chain stitch you're adding at the base of the stitch. You want to mush the stitch around a little so that chain is at the base of the stitch you end up with.

The posting on the South Bay Crochet site has been useful for a number of people -- it helps if you have some yarn and a hook in hand to try it yourself as you read. That way you can see what you are doing and compare it with the description and the pictures.

1 comment:

lapetitematheuse said...

Thank you so much for posting about this! You have saved me much stress from the foundation chains. And while my first thought was that I wished I had learned this much earlier, I completely agree with your hesitation to teach this to those new to crochet. I don't think I'd understand this if I didn't already understand the basics of crochet stitches. Thanks again!