Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Base Recipes

My favorite kind of cookbook provides base recipes with recommendations for variations (a basic white sauce recipe, with tips for turning it into alfredo or bechamel, for example). The best patterns are similar. They teach you how to think about what you are making, rather than just about how to make it.

My current project involves making lace edgings from Rita Weiss's Traditional Edgings to Crochet, which is a compilation of patterns from several vintage pattern booklets. One of the patterns I've tried (shown below in size 10 thread with a US size 7 steel hook)taught me a basic lesson for mocking up a decent looking lace edging.


  1. You make one or two repeats of some form of shell stitch. Turn.
  2. Work net stitch about halfway across the previous row (*ch 5, sk 2, sc1 in next st, rep from *). Turn.
  3. Work shell-type stitch(es) into first chain loop (or two if you have two shells).
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as desired.

The result is scalloped on both sides, although slightly more lacy on the side where you start the net stitch row, and the process is altogether simple and satisfying. What follows are instructions for three examples that I improvised (shown in size 8 thread worked on a US size 6 steel hook). They are simpler than the original pattern, but it would not be hard to come up with something more elaborate.

Edging #1

Ch 4
Row 1: In 4th ch from hook (dc1, ch1) twice, ending dc1, turn.
Row 2: *Ch5, sc1 in next ch1-sp, rep from * once, turn.
Row 3: Ch3, dc1 in last sc of prev row, in same sp (ch1, dc1) twice, turn.
Rep rows 2 and 3 for desired length.


Edging #2

Ch5, sl st in 5th ch from hook to form ring, turn.
Row 1: Working in ch5-sp, [*Ch1, sc1, (ch1, dc1) twice, rep from * once, ch1, sc1] turn.
Row 2: (Ch5, sc1 in next ch1 sp) 4 times, turn.
Rep these two rows as desired.

Edging #3

This edging is actually symmetrical, with the net stitch parts occuring on alternating sides.

Ch5, sl st in 5th ch from hook to form ring. Turn.
Row 1: Ch3 (counts as tr1), [tr1, (ch1, tr1) 4 times, tr1] in ch5-sp, turn.
Row 2: Ch3 (counts as dc1, ch1), sk1, (dc1, ch2) in next ch1-sp, *(yo, draw up loop, yo pull through 2) in same sp, yo draw up loop in next ch1-sp, (yo, pull through 2) 3 times, ch 2, rep from * twice more, dc in sam sp, ch1, sk1, dc1 in last st of prev row, turn.
Row 3: (Ch5, sc in next ch-sp) 4 times, turn.
Rep these three rows as desired.

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