Sunday, December 29, 2013

I love Bag Stitch!


Taken from a sampler I made earlier this year, here is a pouch I made using Bag Stitch

This is a sc/ch fabric where you sc into the sc of the row before last, enclosing the ch of the previous row.  You never sc into a ch, always into the sc of the row before last, always enclosing the ch. The chain stitch keeps the single crochet from stretching out of shape.

Blue and Red Bag Stitch pouch
Historically - to the extent that anything in crochet is historical - the most common way to make a basket or pouch is to work VERY TIGHTLY in single crochet, which can hurt your hand.  By switching to this pattern stitch, you can save your hand from the pain of working in such a tight gauge (to make a sturdy fabric), bump up the hook size to something reasonable, and still end up with a sturdy bag fabric that does not need to be lined (unless you really want to). As an example, the Blue and Red pouch is a recent project.  I used a double strand of #10 cotton and a size D/3.25mm hook, and started with a base chain of 50 stitches.  This is worked in the round, but the stitch works well in rows, too. Using more than one color gives the added bonus of a faux Fair Isle effect when switching yarn color from one row to the next.  Reading at the pouch from the bottom up, there was:
  • (2 rounds blue, 2 rounds red) 3 times, then 
  • 3 rounds blue, then 
  • (3 rounds, 1 round, 3 rounds) of red/blue, then blue/red, then red/blue in the middle, then
  • mirroring the beginning pattern of 2 rounds of each color, and
  • Bag Stitch Pouch with closure
  • topping off the pouch with alternating rounds of blue and red -- which ends up making vertical stripes.

That is a nice bit of color work, with each round using only one color - remarkably brainless for as fancy as it looks.  You can see the round beginning/end jog especially well in the top bit.

Once the flat envelope pouch was done, I added a zipper going in the opposite direction, added I-cord loop at the bottom of the zipper (top of the photo), and another I-cord at the top of the zipper, joined to the zipper pull (left side of the photo).  When the pouch is zipped closed, the long I-cord strand folds to slip through the smaller I-cord loop to cinch up the top and make a handle/strap -- a fairly classic pouch shape.  And there was nothing in the bag to make it hold its shape in this picture.

Here is a diagram of the stitch in rows.  Starting at the bottom left corner, the diagram shows a starting row of ch10, sc in 4th ch from hook.   Note the ch-2 turning chain for each row.

It can be tricky to see the chain stitches in round 2 when you want to sc into the skipped foundation chain.  It is possible to start with a foundation row of (sc, ch1), but that needs thinking, too:  The sample picture below shows 12 patt sts across, then rotated, continued along the bottom back to the start (12 more patt sts), rotated again to continue in a coil, and making 7 patt sts in the new row working into the 'skipped ch' (which looks a lot like the body of a dc lying sideways in foundation stitch).
Sample of foundation bag stitch

Until you get the hang of seeing your stitches, it is easiest to start the pattern with a full row of single crochet.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Simple crocheted garland

Over at SueDee's there was a little tree, and it had a little garland, and it was red.  To make that (it is knitted), you cast on as many stitches as you want the garland to be long, and knit a row.  In row 2, (k1, yo) across, ending with k1, to double the stitches.  In row 3, knit back.  Repeat the last two rows a couple more times, then bind off.  Massive increases (in knit or crochet) make a corkscrew, which is fun.

I thought it was a bit dark and wide for a small tree, so I crocheted a simple little garland with picots.  I used Cascade Yarns Sunseeker and a 3.75mm hook.  It is a DK weight yarn with a strand of metallic running through it for a little glitter.  While a tighter stitch means the garland takes longer to stitch up, it also means that the picots will hold their shape better and not be all floppy.

Setup:  Chain 6.  Slip stitch in the 3rd chain from the hook (makes 1 picot).  Chain 1.  Double crochet in the last chain from the hook.  Chain 3.  Insert hook in the top of the double crochet just made, as if you were going to do the last yarnover and pull through to finish the double crochet.  Yarnover, and pull through all loops -- that makes another picot.  Chain 1.  Double crochet in the same stitch as the previous double crochet.

Here is the repeat:  Chain 6.  Slip stitch in the 3rd chain from the hook (makes 1 picot).  Chain 1.  Double crochet in the last double crochet made.  Chain 3.  Insert hook in the top of the double crochet just made, as if you were going to do the last yarnover and pull through to finish the double crochet.  Yarnover, and pull through all loops -- that makes another picot.  Chain 1.  Double crochet in the same stitch as the previous double crochet.

Repeat until the garland is as long as you want, or you run out of time or yarn.

The trick to this pattern is the yarn.  Honestly, rows of a single repeat of just about any stitch will give you a garland with something interesting and dimensional going on.  Another garland, with different stitches, was published in the December 2013 issue of Crochet World, and it looks a lot like this one.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Yarn Tip for Crochet

If you want to use a DK weight yarn for a project, but want a light or delicate look, don't consider yourself confined to DK weight yarns.  Lace weight mohair can be a lovely alternative.

Many pattern stitches in crochet look like lace when worked in mohair in a loose gauge.  And lace weight mohair and mohair blends are often far softer than heavier mohairs.  Best of all, if you like mohair or fuzzy yarns in general, lace weight versions give you the wonderful texture without all the bulk.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Watch cap to crochet


right side facing
Watch Cap to crochet
1 skein (100 grams, 120 yards) bulky weight yarn – sample shown in Pacific Chunky from Cascade Yarns
8mm hook

The size in this pattern is for an adult cap.

Markers, optional (you don’t need them if you can read your stitches, but variegated or textured yarns can be difficult to read.  It may be handy to use markers until you are comfortable with the stitch) – 4 markers in 1 color, a 5th marker in a different color to indicate beginning of round.

Note:  If there is no number given with a stitch, just do one of it – so ‘sc’ means ‘sc 1’.
Note:  The sample hat uses a bulky weight yarn and a big hook, so the fabric comes out more open than it would if you used a smaller yarn and smaller hook.

Pattern stitch (stitch in the round):  Set up a base of (2sc, ch1) around, ending with ch1.  *Sc in next sc.  Ch1.  Sc in next sc.  Skip next ch.  Repeat from *.

What happens from one row/round to the next is that you sc ONLY into the sc – NEVER into a ch – except in round 2, when the pattern stitch hasn’t started yet. The chain stitches are fillers that make the fabric more dense and also prevent the sc from stretching out of shape the way sc does if unattended.  So you sc into the sc before and after a ch, then ch.  It makes a dense fabric that is good for washcloths, too.  But here it is a hat.

To increase:  (sc, ch, sc) in the next sc.

To start:  ch3, slip stitch in last ch to form a ring.
Round 1:  (ch1, sc in ring) 5 times. Ch1.  Place round-beginning marker in first sc to mark beginning of round.  Remember to move the marker each round to the first stitch worked in the marked stitch.
Round 2:  Work into the chain stitches in just this round, as follows (the pattern stitch hasn’t started yet).  [(Sc (attach marker to this stitch), ch, sc) in next sc – increase made.  Sc in next ch] around 1 time.  5 increase points set up.

Now the pattern stitch starts:
Round 3:  *Inc in marked st, moving marker to first sc of increase. (Sk ch, sc in next sc, ch, sc in next sc) to next marker, ending with ch.  Repeat from * around.
wrong side facing
Round 4:  *Inc in marked st, moving marker to first sc of increase. (Sk ch, sc in next sc, ch, sc in next sc) to next marker, ending with sc.  Repeat from * around.

Repeat rounds 3 and 4 for a total of 7 rounds from the beginning, until there are 39 sc around (59 stitches, including the chain stitches), ending with ch1 before the next marked stitch.

Laid flat and stretched just a little, the piece should measure 7” across for an adult size (or 5” across for a baby size, 6” across for a child size, or 8” across for a tea cozy size).  If you decide to work more or fewer rounds, stop increasing after a repeat of round 3 for the stitches to work out right.

From here on, continue in pattern, with no more increases:  (sc in next sc, sk ch, sc in next sc, ch) around and around until hat is desired length or until only a few inches of yarn are left.  Slip stitch in the next 3 stitches to smooth the edge.  Fasten off and tuck in loose ends.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pillow cover to crochet, on the diagonal

 Pillow cover to crochet – on the diagonal
Materials:  2 balls (100 grams) worsted weight yarn.  Size G/4mm hook
Yarn needle
Bobbin (optional)
a pillow to cover, about 15 inches wide

The fabric should be a tight-ish gauge because it is a pillow cover, and I don't want the fabric underneath to be part of the visual effect.  Also, the pattern stitch has lots of chain stitches in it, so in a looser gauge it is a bit lacy.

Pattern stitch:  
Increase row:  ch1, turn.  (Sc1, ch2, sc1, ch2, sc1) in next ch2 space.  *(sc1, ch2, sc1) all in next ch2 space.  Repeat from * to end of row.
Decrease row: first decrease row:  ch2, turn.  Sc1 in next ch2 space.  *(sc1, ch2, sc1) all in next ch2 space.  Repeat from * to end  of row.
For additional decrease rows:  work as first decrease row.  At the end of the decrease row, sc1 in sc1 at beginning of previous dec row.  The last row will just be:  ch2, turn, sc in sc.

To start:
Row 1:  Ch2.  (sc1, ch2, sc1) in 2nd ch from hook.
Work Increase Rows until end of first ball of yarn.  When there isn’t enough yarn to finish another row, stop at the end of the last row where there was enough yarn to finish the row.  Do not cut the yarn that is left over – wind it onto a bobbin to keep it out of the way, if desired.
Other side - does not look diagonal
Join the next ball of yarn at the beginning of that row and continue with Decrease Rows until 1sc remains.  Knot the yarn, but do not cut it.

Finishing:
Lay the square flat.  Fold in the 4 corners to meet in the middle. That is the shape you will end up with.  Starting in the middle with the leftover yarn (possibly on a bobbin), thread the yarn needle, and use the yarn to sew a seam from the middle point to one corner.  Fasten and cut the yarn at the corner, tucking the loose end to the inside of the cover.  *Returning to the middle, thread the yarn needle with enough yarn to sew a seam to the next corner, and sew that seam, fastening off as before. ** Insert pillow form and repeat from * to ** for the remaining seams to finish.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Toddler cardigan to crochet


Crocheted Toddler Cardigan

The main thing about this piece is the use of color:  there are 2 solid shades (A and B) and 1 coordinating variegated yarn (V).  For the pattern, work 2 rows of A, 1 row of V, 2 rows of B, and 1 row of V.  That is the color pattern for the body.  Make one sleeve from each solid color.  Do the edging in the variegated.  Honestly, if you apply this to just about any toddler sweater pattern – knitted or crocheted – you will end up with a cute sweater. 

Here are the notes for making this particular version.

One 50-gram ball EACH:  Sateen DK yarn in lavender, blue, and variegated.
6 buttons (optional)
Split ring markers (or safety pins)
Suggested hook: 4mm
Measurements of finished piece:
Chest: 24”
Armhole depth: 5”
Sleeve to underarm: 9”, including cuff; 8-1/2” before cuff
Wrist: 6”
Underarm to lower edge: 6-1/2” before edging;  7” including edging.

Gauge:  5 stitches/inch; 3-3/4 rows/inch

Notes:
This is worked in one piece from the lower edge to the underarm, with the back and fronts continued separately and joined at the shoulders.  The sleeves are worked from the armhole down to the wrist.

All three yarns are used in the body, alternating (2 rows blue, 1 row variegated, 2 rows lavender, 1 row variegated).  When changing to a new color, drop the yarn you are finishing and pick up the new yarn.  Do not cut the yarn unless the instructions say to.  Once you have started all 3 balls of yarn, there should be a strand waiting for you at the end of the row when it is time to switch colors.  In changing colors, hold the new yarn loosely for the first stitch so it does not pull along the edge.  Don’t worry about the strands of yarn along the edge – they will be covered with single crochet when you do the edging.

Draw up a loop”:  Insert hook in stitch indicated.  Yarnover.  Pull the yarnover through only the stitch indicated.

Pattern stitch:  (multiple of 4 stitches, plus 1 more). 
Row 1:  ch1, turn.  (Sc1, skip 1 st, (dc1, ch1, dc1) in next stitch, skip 1) across, ending with sc1.
Row 2:  ch3, turn – counts as 1dc.  Dc1 in last st of pr row.  *(sk1, sc1, sk1, **(dc1, ch1, dc1) in next st.  Repeat from * across, ending at **.  Dc2 in last st.

The edges are finished with single crochet and a finishing row of crab stitch.  Basically, that’s all there is.  For more specific instructions, starting at…

Lower edge of body:
Foundation pattern stitch:  Ch2, sc in 2nd st from hook.  *Yarnover twice, draw up a loop in same chain as sc just made.  Yarnover, pull through 2 loops to make a skipped space.  Yarnover, pull through 1 to make a base chain loosely (you will insert hook into this chain soon).  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) twice to finish a double crochet.  Ch1.  Dc in base chain just made. (Foundation V-stitch just made)  Yarnover.  Draw up a loop in same base chain. Yarnover, pull through 2 loops to make a skipped space.  Yarnover, pull through 1 to make a base chain.  Yarnover, pull through remaining 2 loops to finish a single crochet**. Repeat from * for a total of 32 foundation V-stitches, ending at **.  The piece should measure about 24 inches long.  It is important that there is a multiple of 4 pattern stitches:  half for the back, and a quarter each for the fronts.  This is a foundation version of Row 1. 

Continue in pattern stitch, starting with Row 2, being sure to change colors in this sequence:  2 rows blue, 1 row variegated, 2 rows lavender, 1 row variegated, for a total of 23 rows from the start, or just a touch over 6 inches, ending with 2 rows lavender.

Allowing 8 V-stitches at each end of the last row for the fronts, attach a pin/marker in the sc to mark the underarm point.  There should be 16 V-stitches between the markers.

One front side:
Next row:  Continue in pattern, stitch to the first marker, ending with a stitch in the marked stitch.  Work even for 15 more rows, cutting and rejoining the yarn as needed in the first few rows to re-establish the color pattern.

Neck shaping:  Next row, leave 2 pattern repeats unworked on the neck edge. 
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn (but do not cut it), drape the yarn over to the 9th stitch from the edge, where you will rejoin it with a slip stitch, make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 8 stitches unworked. 

Next row:  Leave 1 pattern repeat unworked on the neck edge.
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn (but do not cut it), drape the yarn over to the 5th stitch from the edge, where you will rejoin with a slip stitch, make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 4 stitches unworked. 

Repeat the last row 1 more time.
Work even 3 more rows.  Finish off and cut yarns.  Total number of rows:  44

Back:
Rejoin yarn in the same first marked stitch at the bottom of the armhole.  Continue in pattern to the next marked stitch, ending with a stitch in the marked stitch.  Continue in pattern, setting up and changing colors to stay in pattern, until the back is as long as the front just worked – 44 rows from the lower edge.  You should end with the same color row.  Finish off and cut yarns.  Remove first marker.

Other front side:
Rejoin yarn at remaining marker.  Continue in pattern, stitch to the end of the row.  Work even for 15 more rows, rejoining the yarn as needed in the first few rows to re-establish the color pattern. 

Neck shaping:  Next row, leave 2 pattern repeats unworked on the neck edge. 
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn, and rejoin with a slip stitch on the 9th stitch from the edge to make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 8 stitches unworked. 

Next Row:  Leave 1 pattern repeat unworked on the neck edge.
·         If that is at the beginning of the row, fasten the yarn, and rejoin with a slip stitch on the 5th  stitch from the edge to make a turning chain, and continue the row. 
·         If that is at the end of the row, simply leave the last 4 stitches unworked. 
Repeat the last row 1 more time.
Work even 3 more rows.  Finish off and cut yarns.  Total number of rows:  44

Remove the 2nd marker. 
Join shoulder seams.  Decide which side you want to be the right (public) side of the fabric.  Here is one way to join seams:  Hold two edges with right sides together.  Join yarn at one end, with a slip stitch.  *Ch1.  Inserting hook through both layers of fabric, slip stitch in the next stitch (or row ends, if you happen to be joining row end edges together).  Repeat from * across.  Fasten off.

Sleeve (do twice, once with each solid color)
With the right side facing, join yarn at underarm.  Looking at the gauge, you want to have 5 stitches over 3.75 rows around the armhole edge.  Set up a base row of slip stitches around the armhole, working 58 stitches around.  Stitching the pattern stitch into a row of slip stitches gives a more finished look than stitching into the row ends of the body. 

At the end of each row, slip stitch into the top of the turning chain at the beginning of the row – that way you won’t have to join a seam later.

Continuing in the pattern stitch, but staying with just the one color, work even 1 row.  Maintaining pattern stitch, decrease 1 stitch at the end of each row until 30 stitches remain.  Work even until sleeve measures 8-1/2”.   Fasten off.

Repeat on other side with other solid color for second sleeve.

Cuffs and edges
Cuffs:  With the variegated yarn, and right side facing, join with a slip stitch at end of sleeve.  Ch1.  Single crochet in each stitch around.  Join with a slip stitch to starting chain to finish row.  *Ch1, turn.  Sc across row.  Join with a slip stitch to starting chain to finish row.  Repeat from * for a total of 5 rows.  After the last row, right side should be facing.  Do not turn.  Ch1.  Sc1 in each stitch around, working from left to right – that is crab stitch.  Join with a slip stitch to first ch of row.  Finish off.  Repeat on other sleeve.

Edging:  Starting at the center back neck, with right side facing, join variegated yarn with a slip stitch.  Ch1.  Sc around the edge of the whole piece:  Sc1 in the top each stitch.  Sc2 in each dc row end.  Sc1 in each sc row end.  (Sc1, ch1, sc1) in each outside corner to increase (like at the center neck corners or the bottom center front corners).  When you get back to the center back neck, finishing the row, slip stitch in the starting ch1.

Buttonholes:  Pin a marker in each stitch where you want a buttonhole along the front edge.

Next row:  ch1, turn.  Sc in each sc around, increasing (sc1, ch1, sc1)in the ch1 at each corner as set up in the previous row.  When you reach a pin, ch1 but do not skip any stitches – this makes a small buttonhole.  Finish the row with a slip stitch in the starting ch1. 

Next row:  ch1, turn. 
Here’s how to reinforce the buttonholes:  When you reach the sc before a ch, draw up a loop in that sc and in the ch1 space – so there are 3 loops on your hook.  Yarnover, and pull through all three loops to finish the stitch.  Draw up a loop in the ch1 space and also in the next sc – so there are 3 loops on your hook.  Yarnover, and pull through all three loops to finish the stitch.

Sc in each sc around, increasing as before at each outside corner, and reinforcing the buttonholes as defined.  Finish the row with a slip stitch in the starting ch1. 

After the last row, right side should be facing.  Do not turn.  Ch1.  Sc1 in each stitch around, working from left to right – that is crab stitch.  Join with a slip stitch to first ch of row.  Finish off. 


Sew buttons on opposite front edge to match the buttonholes.  Tuck in loose ends.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Toddler vest to crochet



Toddler Vest to crochet

Two 50-gram balls Cherub DK
Suggested hook:  4mm
Measurements of finished garment:
Chest: 20”
Underarm to lower edge: 8”
Armhole depth:  4”
Shoulder width: 3”
Across back: 10”
Gauge:  23 sts/5 inches;  20 rows/4 inches

Notes:  This pattern is one example of a powerful construction concept that works really well in crochet.  A doll vest was worked this way a few posts ago.  Start with a rough outline of the shape.  Add inches/centimeters for the sizing.  Start stitching and add gauge information after a few inches to flesh out the details so the chart shows the actual numbers of rows and stitches to do.  Working from a chart, starting with a foundation stitch row at the underarm, almost all your information ends up looking like this:

This vest starts at the side edge, with the rows going up and down.  One edge (the lower edge) has no shaping.

Decrease by leaving stitches unworked at the end of the row.

Increase by adding foundation stitches at the end of the row.

Work across the back - by the end of that, you have good gauge information, then one side of the front. Fasten off.  Rejoin yarn at the starting point again and stitch the other front.  Edging is 1 round of (sc1, ch1) followed by 1 round of light crab stitch.

Pattern Stitch:  (even number of stitches at all times):  ch1, turn.  (Sc1, dc1) across, ending row with dc1.  Repeat row for pattern.  Notice that dc is always worked into sc of previous row.  Sc is always worked into dc of previous row.

“Draw up a loop”:  Insert hook in stitch indicated.  Yarnover.  Pull the yarnover through only the stitch indicated.

Foundation single crochet:  Draw up a loop in the base chain of previous stitch.  Yarnover.  Pull through 1 loop to make a new base chain, loosely.  Yarnover and pull through 2 loops to finish single crochet.

Foundation double crochet:  Yarnover.  Draw up a loop in the base chain of previous stitch.  Yarnover.  Pull through 1 loop to make a new base chain, loosely.  (Yarnover and pull through 2 loops) twice to finish double crochet.

Light Crab Stitch:  *Single crochet in the next stitch to the right. Chain 1, skip 1 stitch.  Repeat from * across.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Foundation stitches



Foundation Stitch Sampler

It’s great to see so many patterns these days starting with a foundation stitch row, generally foundation single or double crochet.  This technique is much easier than working into a base row of chain stitches, plus you end up with an edge with a bit more ease and give than you get with a chain stitch start.  There are many ways to apply the idea of the foundation stitch.  Here is a description of the context, some definitions, and examples of different foundation stitches.

Definitions:

  • stitch is everything that happens from the time there is one loop on your hook to the next time there is one loop on your hook.  Very little or a lot of stuff can happen in that space.  
  • There are 5 basic stitches in crochet that are minimal examples of basic ideas:  chain (ch), slip (sl st), single (sc), half double (hdc), and double (dc).  (The corresponding British terms are chain, single, double, half treble, and treble.  All the terms below are in American.)  
  • Other stitches are variations on these five:  American treble stitches are variations on double crochet.  Bullion stitch is a variation of half double crochet.  
  • Most pattern stitches are combinations of the basic stitches.  
  • Some stitches are composites of the basic stitches, working part of several stitches, and then finishing them off together.  Foundation stitch is a type of composite stitch, where partial stitches are combined to make a single, more complex, stitch. 
  • Interesting things happen just before the last yarnover and pull through of a stitch, so it can make sense to give that a separate name: An incomplete stitch is any stitch worked up to just before the last yarn over and pull through.  A decrease is often a composite stitch: two or more incomplete stitches finished off with a final yarnover and pull through.   
  • Draw up a loop” means insert hook in indicated stitch, yarn over, and pull that yarn over just through the stitch and not through any other loops already on the hook.


The foundation stitch idea can be applied to almost any other crochet stitch:  The idea is to combine the starting chain stitch in with the first row of stitches.  What can be tricky is that the chain stitch is going horizontal, and the stitch of the first row is going vertical, so you need to manipulate your fabric a little to make the finished stitch look right.

This sampler is worked in a twine yarn, with a 4mm hook, over a row of about 21 stitches.  The turning chains in each row are not counted as a stitch.  For each example there is one row of the foundation stitch, then a second row of the regular stitch.

Foundation double crochet (fdc):  This is what started it all for me.  This came from the little green Learn How book from Coats and Clark, published in the late 1950’s, from which I learned to crochet.  The Learn How book was published in a number of editions starting back in the 1940's -- only a few editions included Foundation Double Crochet.

Ch3.  Dc in 3rd ch from hook.  Yarnover (yo), insert (ins) hook (hk) in same ch.  Yo, draw up a loop in the same ch.  Yo, draw through 1 loop on hook to create a chain stitch.  Keep it loose - you will insert the hook back into this chain stitch in just a bit.  Notice that chain stitch because that is the base chain for your next stitch.  3 loops remain on your hook.  (Yo, pull through 2 loops) 2 times to finish the double crochet – just like a regular double crochet.  *Yo,draw up a lp in base chain just made.  Yo and pull through 1 loop to chain 1, making a new base chain; finish dc as usual.  Repeat from * for as many stitches as needed.

Observations:
1. In this sample, the first 10 fdc (reading the bottom row from right to left in the picture) are made by inserting the hook through 1 loop only of the base chain.  This makes a little eyelet edge, which may or may not be desirable.  The dc portion also looks more like a normal dc.  The gauge is also a bit looser.

2. The second 10 fdc are made by inserting the hook through 2 loops of the base chain.  This makes a more solid edge that looks just like the top two loops of the stitch.

3. On closer inspection, it looks like the first 9 fdc has the eyelet edge and the remaining 10 fdc has the more solid base.  That is because the visual look of the base chain is defined by what happens next.  So the very last stitch doesn’t have either an eyelet or a solid base because nothing was worked into it.

4. In this sampler, I chained to turn, continued with another row of the stitch to get back to the start, and chained a few stitches to prepare for the next stitch sample.

These observations apply to the following four examples, too.


Foundation single crochet (fsc):  Applying the concept to other stitches.

Ch2, ins hk in 2nd ch from hk.  Draw up a loop.  Yo, pull through 1 to make base chain.  Yo, pull through 2 loops to finish sc.  For additional fsc:  Draw up a loop in previous base chain.  Yo, pull through 1 to make base chain.  Yo, pull through 2 loops to finish sc.

After 20 stitches, I worked 1 more stitch to join the current sample with the previous sample:  Start this stitch by working up to getting all the loops on your hook – so for single crochet, it is just a matter of drawing up a loop in the previous base chain.  Then, yarnover twice, draw up a loop in the matching point of the previous sample.  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) as often as needed to work off all the loops on the hook.  Then chain 5 or 6 to start the next sample.


Foundation half double crochet (fhdc):  This should start looking familiar.

Yarnover.  Ins hk in 3rd ch from hk.  Draw up a loop.  Yo, pull through 1 to make base chain.  Yo, pull through 3 loops to finish hdc.  For additional fhdc:  Yo, draw up a loop in previous base chain.  Yo, pull through 1 to make base chain.  Yo, pull through 3 loops to finish hdc.

After 20 stitches, work 1 more stitch to join the current sample to the corresponding point of the previous sample:  Start this stitch by working up to getting all the loops on your hook – so for half double crochet, yarn over, then draw up a loop in the previous base chain.  Then, yarnover twice, draw up a loop in the end stitch of the previous sample.  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) 3 times, then yo, pull through remaining 3 loops to finish the stitch.  Then chain 6 to start the next sample.


Foundation treble crochet (ftr):  This should really start looking familiar.

Yarnover 2.  Ins hk in 4th ch from hk.  Draw up a loop.  Yo, pull through 1 to make base chain.  (Yo, pull through 2 loops) 3 times to finish tr.  For additional ftr:  Yo2, draw up a loop in previous base chain.  Yo, pull through 1 to make base chain.  (Yo, pull through 2 loops) 3 times to finish hdc.

After 20 stitches, work 1 more stitch to join the current sample with the previous sample:  Start this stitch by working up to getting all the loops on your hook – so for treble, yarn over 2, then draw up a loop in the previous base chain.  Then, yarnover twice, draw up a loop in the turning chain at the end of the previous sample.  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) as needed to work off the loops.  Then chain 6 to start the next sample.

Foundation linked treble crochet:  Getting to something a little different.

Draw up a loop in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chains from the hook.  Yarnover, pull through 1 to make a base chain.  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) as needed to work off remaining loops.  Notice the cross bar (2 of them in this case) in the stitch just made.  For each additional stitch:  (Draw up a loop in the next cross bar of previous stitch) 2 times.  Draw up a loop in the base chain of the previous stitch.  Yarnover, pull through 1 to make a base chain.  (Yarnover, pull through 2 loops) as needed to work off remaining loops.  This is also commonly known as a short row of afghan stitch, but it is just one stitch of foundation treble crochet.

To work a second row, ch4, turn. Draw up a loop in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chains from the hook.  Draw up a loop in the next stitch in the previous row, and work off the loops, two at a time, as usual.

Foundation stitches for patterns that have chain spaces:  Things get a little different here.  If there is a chain space in the first row, there is a trick to making the space work out.  In crochet, your hook and yarn are at the top of the stitch.  But the stitch actually starts at the bottom.  The reason we have yarnovers is to get the yarn to the bottom of the stitch along with the hook.  If you have worked Extended Single crochet, you will know what I mean.  Extended sc is a double crochet without the yarnover at the beginning.  If you stitch loosely, you will see a bit of yarn reaching from the top of the stitch to the bottom, on the back side.  If you stitch tightly, your finished stitch is pulled up a bit and has a tighter gauge because that reaching bit of yarn is very short.

Foundation filet crochet:  Samples of open filet, block filet, lacet stitches.
Open filet:  Ch4.  Yo3.  Draw up a loop in 4th ch from hook.  Yo, pull through 2 – this makes the ch1 space of the open filet.  Yo, pull through 1 to make the base chain for the next stitch.  Work off the remaining loops like a regular dc.  Additional open filet stitches:  ch1.  Yo3.  Draw up a loop in previous base chain.  Yo, pull through 2 – this makes the ch1 space of the open filet.  Yo, pull through 1 to make the base chain for the next stitch.  Work off the remaining loops like a regular dc.
Block filet:  This is just 2 more foundation double crochet stitches.
Lacet stitch:  Starting after a double crochet, ch2, yo1, draw up a loop in the preceding base chain, yo, pull through 2 loops to make the skipped ch1 space.  Yo, pull through 1 to make the base chain, and finish off the single crochet.  Ch2, yo2, draw up a loop in the preceding base chain, yo, pull through 2 to make the skipped ch1 space.  Yo, pull through 1 to make the base chain, and yo/pull through to finish off the double crochet.
Bar stitch (this stitch is not shown because it is generally worked over a lacet stitch):  Starting after a double crochet, ch3, yo4.  Draw up a loop in preceding base chain.  (Yo, pull through 2) 3 times to make the skipped ch3 space.  Yo, pull through 1 to make the base chain for the next stitch.  Work off the remaining loops like a regular dc.

This sample includes:  2 open filet, 1 block filet, 2 lacet stitches, 1 block filet, and 2 open filet – all in the foundation row.  In the second row includes a block filet, 2 open filet, 2 bar stitches, 2 open filet, and 1 block filet.  Then I chained 7 to start:

Foundation V-stitch:
Dc in the 5th ch from hook (this makes a starting V).  *Yo3, draw up a loop in the same st as the previous dc.  (Yo, pull through 2) twice to make a ch2 space.  Yo, pull through 1 to make a base chain.  Work off remaining loops to finish dc.  Ch1, dc in same base chain to finish V.  Repeat from * for additional V-stitches.

Note:  In order to make the edges of V-stitch look neater, it is common to add a selvage stitch at each end, which I did not do here.  For the selvage stitch, count the ch3 turning chain as a double crochet, then finish the row with an additional double crochet.  To start this in foundation stitch:  ch3.  Yo2, draw up a loop in last chain from hook.  Yo, pull through 2 to make a skipped ch space.  Yo, pull through 1 to make a base chain, and finish off the remaining loops as a double crochet.  Ch1, dc in base chain just made to finish 1 V-stitch.  Repeat from * above for additional V-stitches.  After the last V-stitch, yo2, draw up a loop in last base chain made. Yo, pull through 2 to make a skipped ch space.  Yo, pull through 1 to make a base chain, and finish off the remaining loops as a double crochet.


Foundation Shell stitch:  Shell stitch is another traditional pattern that is a rich texture and easy to make.  This sample starts with a single crochet and ends the row in the middle of a shell, so you can see how they are both done.

Fsc in the 2nd ch from hook.  *Yo3, draw up loop in previous base chain.  (Yo, pull through 2 lps) twice to make the ch2 space.  Yo, pull through 1 lp to make a base chain.  (yo, pull through 2 lps) twice to finish off the double crochet.  **4dc in base chain just made to make a shell.  Yo2, draw up a lp in same base chain.  (Yo, pull through 2 lps) twice to make the ch2 space.  Yo, pull through 1 lp to make a base chain.  Yo, pull through remaining 2 lps to finish sc.  Repeat from * for additional shells.  To finish the row with a half-shell, work to **.  2dc in base chain just made to make a half-shell.

On a slightly larger scale, here is
Foundation Ripple / Chevron stitch:

Ch2, fsc.  Yo, draw up a lp in base ch just made.  Yo, pull through 2 lps to make a skipped ch1 space.  Yo, pull through 1 lp to make a base chain.  Yo, pull through 2 lps to finish off sc.  *Continue in fsc for one side of a ripple.  At the peak, make 2 more sc in the same fsc base chain just made.  Continue in fsc for the other side of the ripple.  For the valley, yo2, draw up a loop in the last base chain made.  (Yo, pull through 2 lp) twice to make the skipped ch2 space.  Yo, pull through 1 lp to make the next base chain.  Yo, pull through remaining 2 lps to finish the sc. Repeat from * for desired length of ripple stitch row, ending at a valley point.  Yo, draw up a lp in base chain just made. Yo, pull through 2 lps to make a skipped ch1 space.  Yo, pull through 1 lp to make a base chain.  Yo, pull through 2 lps to finish off sc.

As always with ripple stitch, pay attention to whether you just did a peak or a valley so they don’t get mixed up.
*****

Friday, August 16, 2013

Doll Clothes, part 2

Notes for Doll Dresses to crochet

Once you make sweaters for your doll, you may want to complete an outfit so a sweater has something to go with.  That way, you have control over your colors and shapes and how fancy you want it to be.  The jumper starts with the skirt, with the bodice added.  The dress starts with the bodice, with the skirt added.

Figure 50 grams, or one small skein, of DK or sport weight yarn for a jumper, with a hook to match (4mm is good).  A fuller skirt and more solid bodice take more yarn, so you will need a second skein for the dress.  The light blue dress took part of a 2nd skein of yarn.

Other materials / tools:  measuring tape, markers (safety pins work well), yarn needle for finishing, buttons.  The size chart is useful, too:
waist 11” across back at shoulders 5”
bust 11-1/2” armhole depth 2”
hip 13” waist to knee 6”
around neck 6” neck to waist 4”

For the jumper:  Starting at the waist, make a row of foundation stitch that fits around the waist. This one is worked in plain double crochet.  In the next row, increase by 1/3 – so work 2 stitches, then increase 1 – all the way across.  Join in a circle, and continue in rounds for the desired length.  Decide whether the row-end seam is the center back (as I did) or at the left side of the skirt, which works fine, too.

The amount of increase at the beginning is good for a fairly straight skirt – sensible for something like a school uniform.  For a true A-line skirt, increase 10% (stitch 9, then 2 stitches in the next stitch) every 4th row.  For a swirly skirt (very full), you’d be making something that is basically a mat with a hole in the middle (for the waist) – so increase 12 every row in double crochet or 6 every row in single crochet.

Once the skirt is done, fasten off and re-join to make the front.  Attach a pin at each side edge to show where the first row begins and ends.  I switched to light single crochet for something different (this stitch uses an odd number of stitches in a row):  With the right side facing, join yarn with a slip stitch at one pin.  Ch1.  *Sc in next st, *skip 1, ch1, sc1.**  Repeat from * across the row, ending with a sc at the 2nd pin or the stitch before it.  Ch1 to turn, and repeat from * to ** for the pattern stitch.  Repeat this row for the pattern, with sc in sc and chain over chain in each row, until the front is as long as the armhole depth.  Remove the marker pins, if you haven’t already.


Make the Straps:  *Make a chain that is long enough to reach over the shoulder and down to the back waist – about 6 inches – count your stitches because you want the 2nd strap to be the same _____.  Turn, sc across, ending with a slip stitch at the top edge of the front.  (Ch1, turn, and single crochet along the strap) two more rows to make the strap wide enough, ending at the top of the front.  Stitch over to 4 stitches from the end of the row.  To make the other strap: repeat from * for the second strap, ending up at the top corner of the front.

Take a moment to attach a pin about a third of the way in from each side of the back at the waist – this is where the button loops will go.

Edging:  With the right side facing, ch1.  Sc down the side of the front, making 1sc in each row end.  Continue along the waist edge to the first marker pin.  Ch2, don’t skip any stitches, and sc along the edge to the center back where the row ends of the skirt are.  Sc along the edge of the dip, making a little placket where a snap will go later.  Continue to sc to the next marker.  Ch2, don’t skip any stitches, and sc along the waist edge, up the other side of the front (making 1sc into each row end), and ending at the top corner of the front.  Slip stitch to finish off, and cut the yarn.  Remove all marker pins.

Sew a button at the end of each strap, fitting the jumper on the doll to make sure it is positioned correctly.
Add a snap closure at the little placket at the center back of the skirt.  Tuck in all loose ends.
____________________

The dress starts with the bodice.  In this sample, I started at the center back, working the rows up and down the schematic, across the back, then across the front, and finishing in the center of the back on the other side.

Pattern stitch:  over an even number of stitches:  ch1 to turn, sc1, dc1 across, ending with dc1 in the last stitch.  Repeat row for pattern.

Starting at the waist, make a foundation row about 6” long, up to the back neck – note the number of stitches _____.  Stitch in patt for 2-1/2 inches to reach the side of the back, ending at the lower edge.  Note the number of rows _____.


Next row, stitch only to the underarm, ending with a dc in the last stitch.  Note the number of stitches _____.  Continue even for 1” for underarm, ending at the lower edge.  Next row, stitch across, then continue the row with foundation stitches, ending up with the same number of stitches you started with.

Continue following the schematic, skipping stitches or adding foundation stitches at the end of the row when shaping happens.  Notice that the neckline in the front is a bit blocky looking.  That gets smoothed out with the edging row.

When the whole thing is done, finish off and start the skirt:  With the wrong side facing, join the yarn at the bottom of the center back.  Working 1 stitch into each row end, sc across.  Next row:  ch2, turn.  Continue in double crochet for the skirt.  *Dc1 in next stitch, dc2 in next stitch.  Repeat from * across row, ending the round with a slip stitch in the top of the ch2 at the beginning of the row.  This increases for the fullness of the skirt.  For the rest of the skirt:  ch2, do not turn, dc in each dc of previous round, and finish with a slip stitch in the top of the starting ch2 from the beginning of the round.  Work even for about 6 inches, or desired length of skirt.  Stitch 1 row of crab stitch for a finished edge.  Finish off.

The next part is only a little tricky, and the instructions sound harder than they really are.

Join the shoulder seams, edge the armholes, and add button band and button loops to back, all in one swell foop.  Here’s how:  with the wrong side facing, join yarn at top of center back.

1. (Button band)  Ch1.  Sc in each stitch down to the waist.
2. Ch1, turn, sc back up to the neck.
3. Ch1, rotate piece and sc along shoulder edge to the armhole, making 1sc for each row end.
4. Ch1, rotate piece and sc around the armhole, making 1sc in each stitch or row end, ending up at the top armhole edge of the front.
5. Match up the front and back to join one shoulder seam.
6. Sc1, sl st in matching st on other shoulder, to join.  *Skip 1 st, sc in next st, then sl st in matching st on other shoulder.
7. Repeat from * across the shoulder, ending with a sc at one side of the neck edge.
8. Sc around the neck edge, and across the other front shoulder.
9. Ch1, sc around the other armhole, like before.
10. Then join the other shoulder like you did before.
11. Ch1, rotate the piece to continue down the center back.
12. Sc along the center back, adding ch-2 loops evenly spaced for the button-loops, ending at the waist-end of the bodice.
13. Without turning the piece, ch1.  Crab stitch back up to the neck edge, making 2 crab stitches in each button-loop.

Finish off.  Sew on buttons.  Tuck in loose ends.

Monday, July 29, 2013

18" Doll Clothes, part 1

Clothes for 18” doll 
All the patterns here are fairly traditional shapes for real people, too.  Only the numbers are changed to fit the doll.  The shapes are simple and can be made from a variety of pattern stitches.  Most doll clothes work out better with a smaller yarn, so these garments are made mainly with DK or sport weight yarn.  But some worsted weight isn’t necessarily such a bad thing.

Along with your yarn and hook, you will need a tape measure (all measurements here are in inches, but the same ideas apply in metric).  Here are measurements I took of my 18” doll:

Around neck:  6”      bust:  11-1/2”          hip:  13           upper arm:  4-1/2”
wrist:  3-3/4           head:  12”          waist:  11          thigh:  6-1/4
ankle:  4-1/4           across back at shoulders:  5          armhole depth:  2
underarm to wrist:  3-1/2          shoulder to wrist:  5-1/2          neck to waist:  4
neck to floor:  15          waist to knee:  6          crotch depth:  4-1/2          neck to hip:  8
inseam:  7          waist to ankle:  9

Only a few measurements are used for these sweaters, but if you want to make clothing, it is interesting to see how the numbers work together and are related to each other.  These measurements are of the actual body.  For garments, I often add ease – so the armhole depth would end up being 3” for a sweater that goes over a shirt.  Figure 12 inches for the bust, allowing 6” for the front and 6” for the back.

Six Blocks sweater (7, counting the collar)
DK weight yarn, 4mm hook
Sample:  Sateen yarn by Cascade.  This was leftover yarn from 3 skeins used to make a toddler sweater.
Measurements:
Half the Bust, plus desired ease: (A) – 6”
Half that number:  (B) – 3”
Make six rectangles, measuring A by B.  Start by making two for the front and two for the back.

In this sample, the 2 back blocks are made with 3” rows worked for 6” in length.  The 2 front blocks are made with 6” rows worked for 3” in length.

  Stitches used:
Alternating rows dc and sc/ch1 (odd number of stitches)
(sc, dc) with sc in dc of pr r and dc in sc of pr r
Ch2 net stitch (for sleeves)
Shell stitch for collar.

Join center back seam.  Join halfway across tops for shoulders.

For the sleeves:  Stitch the sleeves starting at the shoulder so you don’t have to sew them on later.  Starting halfway down one side, join yarn, stitch up to shoulder and down to matching point for sleeve depth.  Ch-2 net stitch allows the sleeve fabric to stretch longer to be more sleeve-like.  On the last row, sc1 in each ch space to gather for wrist.

Join one seam for underarm seam and side seam on each side.

For the collar:  Join yarn halfway between front neck corner and start of shoulder.  Stitch around neck, ending at corresponding point on other front neck edge.  Continue in patt st (shell stitch, here) for desired collar depth.

If desired, sc along front to add button/buttonhole bands.


Cardigan and cap
Sample:  Bentley by Cascade, with a 4.5mm hook.  One skein was enough for both the sweater and the cap, with yarn left over – that is the nice thing about doll clothes.


Cardigan:  The body is made in one piece from the bottom edge to the underarm, then the back and fronts are continued up to the shoulders.  It may seem convenient to work this way because you don’t have to sew any side seams.  Unfortunately, it makes sewing in the sleeves tricky.



Pattern stitch:  1 row dc (on the right side), then 1 row (sc, ch1, skip 1).  Maintain the pattern stitch so the single crochets line up over each other when there is shaping. A plain pattern stitch does not compete with the texture of the yarn.

Row-by-row instructions can go on for pages, but all you really need is a schematic with the basic measurements, along with the pattern stitch you choose.

Mark your numbers (from the top of this file) on the chart – that would be in inches.  For this sweater, start at the lower edge with a row of stitching as long as the bust measurement.  Continue in patt st up to the underarm, then stitch the fronts and back sections separately.  Sew the shoulder seams.

For each sleeve (make 2): Starting at the wrist, increase 1 stitch at the beginning and end of every 4th row until the piece is as wide as 2x the armhole depth.  If it isn’t as long as the desired sleeve length, continue stitching without any more increases until it is long enough.

With right sides together, sew the top of the sleeve in at the armhole.  Join the underarm seam, matching a little bit at the underarm to the underarm portion of the body.

Finishing:  Stitch 1 round of sc around the outer edge of the piece, making a ch2 loop (but don’t skip any stitches) for buttonholes.  In a second row, sc (or crab stitch) around,   Here’s how to deal with the buttonholes:  In the st before a buttonloop, draw up a loop.  Draw up another loop in the ch-2 space.  Yarnover, and pull through all loops to finish the stitch.  Draw up a loop in the ch-2 space (again), Draw up another loop in the next sc.  Yarnover, and pull through all loops to finish the stitch.

Cap (an experiment):
Looking at a golf cap recently, it looked like a circle where all the decreases were focused on one side, making a visor, with the back of the cap worked even with no increases or decreases, ending with a slight decrease all around (maybe 10%) for fit.  I made one to try out the idea, and here is what I did:  

Measurement:  snug measurement of head - 12” for doll.
In a firm gauge, make a sc circle about 18” around, or 6” across:  ch3, slip st to form a ring.  (ch1, sc in ring) 6 times (12 sts in all).  Place a marker in the last st of the round, and move the marker each round to keep track of where you are.  Continuing in a coil:
Round 2:  (ch1, sc2) around 1 time – 18 sts.
Round 3:  (ch1, sc3) around 1 time – 24 sts.
Round 4:  (ch1, sc4) around 1 time – 30 sts.
Continue increasing this way until the piece is 6” across.  With the marker at beginning of round, place another marker after 6” in the round – that is halfway around the finished measurement for the hat.  *SC even (no more increases) from the beginning of the round to the second marker.  Continuing in sc, dec 6 sts evenly to the next marker to finish the round.  Repeat from * until only 1/3 of those sts remain.  Measure for fit.  Dec 10% in the next round, all the way around.  Finish off.

Apr├Ęs-Ski pullover
This is a variation on the Two Blocks top.
Sample:  It used about 50-grams of fluffy yarn – it was a bit of leftover yarn.
Measurements:
Bust:  12”
Armhole depth: 3”
Wrist: 3”

Make two squares, based on the bust measurement, in ch-1 net stitch on the diagonal.  With right sides together, join ¼ on each side of the top edges for the shoulders, leaving ½ for the neck opening.  Mark the underarm points on each side.  With RS facing, join yarn at one side edge, sc up to the shoulder and down to the other underarm.  Continue in sweater stitch, decreasing as needed to the wrist measurement.  A schematic helps with the numbers.


Join side and sleeve seams.

Collar:  join yarn at center back.  (sc in next row-end, ch1, sc in next row end) all the way around the neck edge.  This is an increase row.  Continuing in a coil, in ch-1 net stitch, keep stitching until the yarn runs out.  Slip stitch the last couple of stitches to smooth out the finishing point.


Three Blocks vest (4, counting the collar)
Sample: Pima Fine by Cascade, with a 4mm hook
Measurements:
Across Back:  5”
Bust:  12”
Armhole depth:  3”

The finished piece may look tricky, but here is the schematic:

It really is a block for the back and two more blocks for the front.  You can use any stitch you want, but here is the pattern stitch for sample:
R1: ch2 (counts as 1dc), turn, dc2, sk1, (dc, ch, dc) in next st, sk 1), (dc5, sk1, (dc, ch, dc) in next st, sk 1) across, ending with dc3.
R2: ch1, turn, sc across.

Starting at the lower edge, make a block as wide as the across back measurement and as long as half the bust measurement (or desired length).

For each front, make a block 2/3 the width of the back, and just as long as the back.  Join half the top edge of the front to 1/3 the top edge of the back for the shoulder seams.

Collar:  Starting halfway on remaining front neck edge, sc around the neck to the matching point on the other front neck edge.  Stitch a few more rows (sc) until the collar is as wide as the remaining neck edge on the front.

On the buttonhole side of the front, mark the midpoint and halfway between that point and the bottom edge for buttonhole placement.

Finishing:  with right side facing and starting at the center bottom back edge, sc around the whole piece, making (ch2) at each buttonhole location.  Next row:  in crab stitch, stitch around 1 time, reinforcing the buttonholes when you get to them.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kitchen Kloth Follow Up

Practical Crocheter wrote a while back about how useful kitchen cloth is, and how easy to make.  They are the perfect beginner project:  imperfections are largely irrelevant; dishcloths and potholders are useful; they can be made from plain, worsted weight yarn; they are small, quick projects; they are a great way to try out new techniques and stitches.  But here's another idea.  You can use kitchen cloth as a place to learn how to use small yarn or thread.

When my father-in-law cleaned out his late parents' house, he gave me all his mother's needlework stuff, including her embroidered kitchen towels, crocheted doilies, and potholders.  Some I use.  Some need finishing.  Some are in bad enough shape that I just look at them.  One potholder in particular, though, sees a lot of action.  It's made from number 10 crochet cotton.  It has nothing interesting going on for it--just a double thickness of double crochet, probably with a size 7 hook.  I think it was intended to be used as a hot pad on the table.

This hot pad would never be useful for pulling things out of an oven, and I don't have much use for trivets these days.  Instead, I use it for pulling glass containers out of the microwave.  Many of my containers get hot in the microwave, but my regular potholders are too bulky to use there.  This thin, thread potholder, however, is perfect for tight spaces.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Three Blox Vest (four, if you add the collar)


 Three Blox Vest

The concept:  This works well with a loose gauge, a soft drape.  Start by making a rectangle as wide as the shoulder width and as long as you want the vest to be. The rows can be oriented horizontally, vertically, or on the diagonal.  That is the back.  Figure out your gauge.  Make two more rectangles, both the same size but narrower than the back, for the fronts, so that the back and the two fronts together are big enough to go around the waist.  A fourth rectangle is the collar.  Join seams.  Add edgings and buttonholes.  Add buttons.  That’s about it.

Measurements that matter:
Across back measurement
Waist (mainly to make sure the fronts and back together are big enough).  In my case, the back was 15 inches wide, and each front was 10 inches wide – notice that the front is wider than the back.  If you have an idea of the size but don't know the measurements, refer to a body measurement chart like the one on the Craft Yarn Council website.

Notes:
1. Join half the top front edge to the matching back edge for the shoulder seams.  Stitch a collar rectangle:  join the yarn midpoint of the remaining front top edge, stitch around the neck to the matching point on the opposite front neck edge, increasing about 10-20% so it will lie flat.  Work even for a few inches, then fasten off.

2. If you don’t want to sew shoulder seams, start at the bottom of the back and stop at the top.  Mark the top of the back in thirds.  Work across one third and add the same number of stitches again – so, for example, if the back had 60 stitches, work across 20, then increase another 20 to make 40 stitches for the front width.  Then continue stitching along that shorter width for one front side.  To make the other front side, make a base chain of the added stitches, join to the top of the other side of the back along the other shoulder.

3. Alternate collar:  On the red version, I made a shawl collar by stitching along the remaining stitches of each front top edge, making rectangular strips that joined at the center back .

4. Mark the armhole depth, taking into consideration how deep it should be to fit over a shirt.  Join the side seams.

5. Add a couple of rounds around the open edges:  For the armholes, single crochet around one row, decreasing 10 percent to avoid the ‘50’s sci-fi shoulder look – the loose gauge helps with that, too.  Then crab stitch a finishing row.  On the front edges, mark where buttons and buttonloops will be.  Single crochet one row, adding button loops where you want them.  Depending on how wide you want the edging to be, sc another row, reinforcing the buttonholes, then crab stitch 1 row to finish.

The samples were made with worsted-  to bulky-weight yarns.  DK weight works well, too, but takes longer to make.

The blue vest was made in Fantasy Naturale, a bulky weight cotton by Plymouth.  Pattern stitch:  Base row: (sc1, dc1) across.  Pattern row:  (sc1, dc1) into dc of pr r.  Skip the sc.

The red vest was made in Cotton Classic, a light worsted weight cotton by Tahki Stacy Charles.  Pattern stitch:  (sc1, dc1) across, with sc into dc of previous row and dc into sc of previous row.  This one is different because the rows are worked up and down:  Make a base row as long as you want the garment to be, then work the pattern stitch until the piece is as wide as the across back measurement.  Make two more blocks the same way until each is about 2/3 as wide as the back.  Join the shoulder and side seams.  This one does not have a notched collar.  Instead, for the collar, join the yarn at the front neck corner of one side.  stitch across the short row, back and forth, joining the end of every 2nd row to a row end on the back neck edge, until you reach the middle of the back.  Finish off, and repeat for the other side of the front.  When you reach the center back on the 2nd collar piece, finish off, leaving a tail long enough to sew the last row of each collar piece together.  For the edging:  Attach pins on the front edges where the button loops should go.  Join the yarn at the middle of the lower edge on the back, with the right side facing.  Single crochet around the whole piece, making a (sc, ch, sc) increase as needed at outside corners, and making a ch-2 loop at each pin marking a button loop.  Next round:  crab stitch around, making 2 stitches into each button loop.  Finish off and tuck in loose ends, and sewing a button opposite each button loop.

The variegated vest was made in Encore, a worsted weight acrylic/wool blend by Plymouth.  Pattern stitch (worked over an odd number of stitches):  Row 1: sc1 (ch1, skip 1, sc1) across.  Row 2: *Dc5, skip 1, (dc1, ch1, dc1) in next st, skip 1. Repeat from * across.  Repeat these two rows for the pattern.  A pattern that alternates tall (dc) rows with short (sc) rows can be really good with variegated yarns because the color changes in the tall direction are highlighted, and the color changes in the short direction are minimized.