Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Translating knit patterns into crochet

Every once in a while there is a buzz about how to crochet from knit patterns. It is tempting for crocheters to take a knit pattern, use the same yarn, adjust for gauge, and basically follow the pattern.  The result can work just fine, or it might be kind of clunky and not so good.  Conceptually, the process is not that hard.

The parts of a project are:
  • Construction or shaping
  • Yarn texture
  • Yarn color/s
  • Stitch properties - solid fabric, an open fabric, or a dimensional fabric
  • Embellishments
I thought of all that recently when I bought a kit for a knitted pullover using sport/DK weight alpaca, where the design was based on two rectangles of 1x1 rib knit.  Cool design, great yarn.  I wanted to crochet it, so I thought through the process:

Construction:  very simple - two rectangles.  I can do that in crochet.
Yarn texture:  dk weight alpaca, fairly smooth, not a fancy texture. Since this was a kit, the yarn was given - I had to figure out how to use the same yarn to make a comparable fabric.  Normally, if I am starting with just a pattern, I would choose a lighter weight yarn to crochet than to knit, but not in this case.
Yarn color:  neutral.  Sometimes what you like in a pattern is really the color. It can be a subliminal thing, so you may not notice this.
Stitch texture:  The 1x1 rib knit stitch makes a thicker fabric than regular stockinette stitch, with a lot of stretch, and is reversible.  The point of the exercise here is not about the visual look of a ribbed fabric, so I did not try to match that.  The whole issue of stretchy fabric in crochet is tricky because crochet doesn't have the stretch of knit -- the construction of the fabric is basically really different.  But I did notice that a chain-one net stitch worked on the diagonal makes a nice fabric.  The chain stitches add less weight than the single crochets, and the diagonal bias has more give than working back and forth in rows.

There weren't any particular embellishments here, so that wasn't an issue.

So I figured out the measurements of the rectangles, based on the given gauge in the pattern.  Made two rectangles in ch-1 net stitch on the diagonal (one of my favorite stitches), and followed the instructions for assembly.  Stitched around outside edges in single crochet and a row of crab stitch to finish, and voila - I was a happy camper.


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