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.