Crocheting on the Diagonal

Here are some links to posts about projects stitched on the diagonal:


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.

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, 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.
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.
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
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.

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.

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.


Quick diagonal scarf in my new favorite stitch

I just finished this scarf for local yarn shop, Golden Fleece, using a new yarn they have:

Schoppel Gradient scarf to crochet

1 ball Schoppel Gradient (280 yards, worsted weight yarn)           
8mm crochet hook

Chain (ch) 3. 

Part I - Increasing:
Row (r) 1:  (Single crochet (sc) 1, ch1, sc1) all in 3rd ch from hook.
R2 (Increase Row):  ch2, turn (turning chain made).  Sc in last sc of previous row (pr r).  (ch1, sc1 in next ch space) across row, ending with (ch1, sc1) in turning chain space of pr r.

Repeat Increase Row until there are 15 sc across row (13 rows total).

Part II - Holding steady:
Next row (Decrease Row):  ch1, turn (turning chain made).  Skip 2 sc from previous row, sc in next ch space.  (ch1, sc1 in next ch space) across row, ending with (ch1, sc1) in turning chain space of pr r. (14 sc across row.)

Repeat Increase and Decrease rows until the piece is about 66 inches long.  There should be a few yards of yarn left.

Part III - Decreasing:
Ending the scarf:  From here on, do only the Decrease row, until there is 1sc in the last row.  Finish off.

Tuck in loose ends.  Enjoy.

Geek notes:
1.      The sample scarf came out to be about 67 inches long and 5.5 inches wide, for a total of 368 square inches, with a few yards left over.  Theoretically, then, I could have made:
          *  An 8’ wide scarf or cowl that would be 46 inches long/around by having the rows be 22/21 sc across, or
          *   Two short (36” long) scarves that are 5 inches wide each (13/12 sc across row).

2.     To figure how much yarn you need to decrease to finish, figure out how much yarn makes 1 row – stitch 1 increase row, then carefully take it out and measure how much yarn you used in that row.  Multiply that by HALF the number of sc in that row.  Then tie a little knot at that point.  When you get to the knot, undo it, and start decreasing for Part III.

3.     To figure out how far a skein can go, you can do a little figuring at the end of Part I if you have a food scale.  Figure the square inches of the triangle you have (short side x short side) divided by 2, _____ (A).  Weigh the triangle you have, _____ (B).  Notice the total weight of the ball of yarn (100 grams or 3.5 ounces).  Then solve for X:

B/A = 100 or 3.5/X

For a narrow scarf, with just a few stitches and such a big gauge, the numbers can be a little squishy, so don’t bet your life on it in this case.


Recent stitchings

Oh dear, it has been over two months since the last post.  Sometimes life is like that.  But I have been stitching quite a bit lately.  And my most satisfying versatile stitch right now is a basic pattern stitch using single crochet and chain stitches.

As an aside:  Many knitters know that (k1, p1) is a really handy combination:  it makes a good ribbing (that looks like stockinette on both sides and lies flat) if you "knit the knits and purl the purls."  The same combination also makes Seed Stitch, which also lies flat and is a pleasant change from the flatness of stockinette, and looks the same on both sides, where you "knit the purls and purl the knits."

Back to topic:  (sc1, ch1, skip1) is a handy combination.  If you single into the singles and chain over the chains, you end up with what I call Light Single Crochet.  If you single into the chain spaces and chain over the single crochets, you have a Chain One Net Stitch.  Now gauge can vary quite a bit from one crocheter to another because crochet is fairly complex at a basic level.  But for me, this stitch has a fairly square gauge.  That means I can use it to explore some of the ideas that Elizabeth Zimmerman explored with garter stitch (like the Baby Surprise Jacket).  Either way, the fabric is a bit open - you don't want to wear it with nothing underneath (unless you are making a statement, but that is another issue), but it also has a lot of 'give' to it - almost like it stretches.  With a fairly square gauge, it also means I can work it on the diagonal to make a rectangle -- increasing or decreasing one pattern stitch each row.

 This sample shows the ch-1 net stitch on the diagonal, making a nice square, and then edged in plain single crochet, working 1 stitch per row end.

This is the stitch I am using to make a rectangle-based sweater like the ones currently popular being knitted in a 1x1 rib.  Theoretically, it should work.

Explicit details about this stitch:

Ch-1 Net Stitch, on the diagonal:  Ch3, slip st to form a ring.  Ch2, sc in ring, ch1, sc in same space.  Row 2 (Increase row):  Ch2 to turn (you might want to ch1, depending on how firm or loose you want the edge to be.  If you tend to make tight chain stitches, you might prefer to ch2.).  Sc in last sc of pr row.  (ch1, sc in next ch space) across, ending with sc in turning ch from previous row.  Repeat this row for pattern.  When you want to start decreasing, make the Decrease Row like this:  ch1, turn.  Skip 2sc, sc in next ch space.  (ch1, sc in next ch space) across, ending with sc in turning chain space of pr row.

To make a rectangle:  Work increase rows only until the piece is as wide as the short edge of the rectangle along the row ends.  Then alternate between Increase and Decrease rows until the longer row-end side is as long as you want.  Then work only Decrease rows until all stitches are worked off.

So that is my favorite stitch for right now.


Variations on a Rectangle

Suddenly I have seen several sweater designs based on rectangles.  

This one, for example, is
a 6-foot scarf, about 20 inches wide,
worked in a lacy-kind-of-entrelac stitch.
The short ends were sewn together to make a tube,
then ribbing was added on one side to make a neck,
and on the other side to make two cuffs and the lower edge ribbing.
I saw it in a store for about $30.  The pattern stitch and the concept both seems really cool, so I bought it (and took the ribbing all undone).  The shape was not particularly wearable - there is no underarm sleeve length, but we're talking about the idea, here.

Then recently, a friend described another sweater made from a similar rectangular tube:  on one open side, mark a space for an arm opening,
then sew a bit for a shoulder,
leaving an opening for the neck.
On the other open side, mark a space for the other arm opening on the opposite side,
then sew a bit for a side seam,
leaving an opening for the lower edge.
Using the undone ribbing yarn from the store-bought sweater, I crocheted in a ch-2 net stitch to add to the two open sides to add width, and ended up with this:

And finally, a local yarn shop offered a kit for a rectangle pullover with dolman sleeves.  The pattern calls for knitting it in a 1x1 rib, but I will most likely crochet it in a ch-2 net stitch.  The kit should come in in a couple of weeks.

I like the idea of making things from simple shapes, especially if they work.  But even if they don't work, starting with a simple shape leads to understanding how shaping can make really good sense.

MONDAY, JULY 2, 2012

Kitchen Kloths

Interesting that the subject should turn to boring stitching.  I happened to have a skein of worsted weight acrylic left over from mending an afghan.  Being acrylic, it is a little scratchy, so I made some of my favorite scrubby things for washing dishes.  Each is rather small (5-7 inches across), so it can be squeezed dry with one hand -- wringing out acrylic can be uncomfortably squeaky.  I'd make them bigger if I were using cotton.    Used a 5mm hook.

1.  SC Circle.  Ch3, sl st to join in a ring.  Rnd 1: Sc6 into the ring.  Place marker in last sc to mark the end of the round.  Rnd 2: Continuing in a coil:  sc2 in each st around (12 sc).  Move marker up each round.  Rnd 3:  sc2 in each st around (24 sc).  Rnd 4:  sc 1 in each st around.  Rnd 5:  sc2 in each st around (48 sts).  Rnds 6-8:  work even - sc1 in each st around.

For a smaller circle: Rnd 9: (sc in next st, sk1, 5dc in next st, sk1) around.  End with sl st in first sc of round.  This is an increase round, working 6 stitches in the current round over 4 stitches in the previous round.  Rnd 10:  ch2, dc2 in same st (half shell made).  (sk 2dc, sc in next dc, sk 2 dc, 5dc in next sc) around, ending with 2dc in same stitch as starting half shell, sl st in top of ch2.  Fasten off.  Remove marker.  Tuck in loose ends.
For a larger circle:  Rnd 9: (sc2 in each st around (96 sts).  Work even for 7 more rounds.  Sl st in the next 2 stitches to smooth the edge.  Fasten off.  Remove marker.  Tuck in loose ends.

2.  Heavy SC Hexagon.  Ch3, sl st to join in a ring.  Rnd 1: (ch1, sc1 in ring) 6 times.  Place marker in last st to mark end of round. Rnd 2: Continuing in a coil, (sc, ch, sc) in each sc around (skipping the chain stitches).  This sets up the 6 corners.  Move marker to last stitch made in marked stitch each round.  Rnd 3:  *(sc, ch, sc) in next sc (this is an increase, and you do this 6 times each round, always in the first sc of the increase of the previous round), skip the ch, sc in next sc, ch1. Repeat from * around.  Rnd 4: *(sc, ch sc) in next sc, skip the ch, sc in next sc, ch1, sc in next sc, skip the next ch.  Repeat from * around (6 times total).  Rnd 5:  *(sc, ch sc) in next sc, skip the ch, sc in next sc, ch1, sc in next 2 sc, skipping the ch in between, ch1.  Repeat from * around (6 times total).

This sounds really complex.  The stitch is (sc2, ch1), but staggering the stitches in each round so the ch1 is between the 2 sc in the current row.  Always sc into a sc.  Never stitch into a chain (except for the corner/increases).  It makes a dense fabric that is basically single crochet but does not stretch the way sc usually does -- the chain stitches keep the single crochets in place.  Start each side with (sc, ch, sc) to increase in the first sc of the increase in the round before.  Each side ends with either ch1 or sc, and that is just fine.  This sample has 9 rounds all together.  When yours is as big as you want, slip stitch in the next 2 stitches to smooth the edge, fasten off and tuck in the loose ends.

3.  Bag stitch Triangle.  Ch3, sl sto to join in a ring.  Rnd 1: (ch1, sc1 in ring) 6 times.  Place marker in last st to mark end of round.  Rnd 2:  continuing in a coil, (ch1, sc1 in next ch1 space) 6 times.  Do not move marker just yet.  Rnd 3: *Ch1, (sc, ch1, sc - 1 increase made) in sc below next ch. Ch1, sc in sc below next ch.  Repeat from * around - 3 increase points made.  Move marker from rnd 1 to last st made into that sc.  Rnd 4: ch1, (sc, ch, sc) into middle ch of increase in previous row, then (ch1, sc into sc below next ch) across the side to next increase point.  Repeat rnd 4 for pattern for desired size of cloth (4-6 inches across is a good size, but that is just a suggestion, moving the marker every 2nd round, when you stitch into the marked stitch.  Finish off with 2 slip stitches, cut yarn, remove marker, and tuck in loose ends.

4.  Crazy stitch Square.  This is worked on the diagonal, starting at a corner (lower left in this case) and ending at the opposite corner.  To start, increase:  Row 1: Ch5.  Sk 2 ch, dc in next 3 ch to end row.  Row 2: ch5, turn.  Sk 2 ch, dc in next 3 ch. Sl st in ch2 space of pr row.  Ch2, dc3 in same ch2 space.  Row 3:  ch5, turn.  Sk 2 ch, dc in next 3 ch. *Sl st in next ch2 space of pr row.  Ch2, dc3 in same ch2 space.  Repeat from * across.  Repeat row 3 for pattern until the 2 sides are desired size of square - the sample has 7 rows before starting to decrease.  Then decrease:  Row 1: ch1, turn.  Sl st to next ch-2 space.  *Ch2, dc3 in same space.  Sl st in next ch2 space of pr row.  Repeat from * across, ending up with one less block than in previous row.  Repeat this row until only 1 block remains.  Ch1, turn, sl st to the corner.  Fasten off and tuck in loose ends.

Washcloths or dishcloths or coasters are portable, no-stress ways to meditate on some nice stitches, keep your hands busy for a few minutes without having to think too hard.


Standard Body Measurements

Following a pattern for a crocheted garment can be tricky because gauge is tricky in crochet. You might match the stitch gauge but not the row gauge. You might want the fabric to be looser or more firm than what you are getting by following the pattern. You might very well be using a different yarn than the pattern indicates. There are lots of factors.

So, knowing what kinds of measurements are involved can be really useful. And it turns out that there are size charts out there that include a lot more information than just the bust/chest measurement that we usually depend on when buying ready-made garments. The Craft Yarn Council has pages on their website with this information. Here are some links:

The kinds of information shown on this page and listed in the body charts


and there are charts for women and men, too)

give you a clue of what kinds of measurements to look for, for example, with making doll clothes, too.

These charts are handy tools in my information kit.


Crazy Stitch, two ways

This is a stitch I first learned from Victorian Crochet by Weldon and Company, with a new introduction by Forence Weinstein, published by Dover in 1974. The entire Weldon series has since been bought by Interweave Press, the publishers of Knits magazine.

The stitch caught my eye because I remembered a shawl made using a checker-board-type stitch in the “Anne of Green Gables” series on TV (wonderful series). At first I thought the stitch was a two row repeat: [ch3 (counts as 1dc), turn, dc1, ch1, sk 1, (3dc, ch1, sk 1) across, and ending with 2dc], followed by a row of [ch1, turn, sc, ch1, (sc in the ch1 space and ch3 over the 3dc) across, ending with ch3, sc1, ch1, sc1].

That makes a nice enough fabric, but it is a two-row repeat, which involves more thinking than a one-row repeat.

Then I saw this stitch, and realized that a somewhat loose fabric in this stitch would look similar from a distance. And it is a one-row repeat. Not only that, it is easy to vary depending on the yarn you are using and on what kind of fabric you want to end up with -- lacier or thicker. Plus it works great on the diagonal, which is really good when you have a limited amount of yarn and you don’t want leftovers. And who wouldn't want to try a stitch they called 'crazy' over a hundred years ago?

What this stitch does is make a row of little blocks, kind of like micro-entrelac. Here is one way to do it, on the diagonal:

First Way - On the diagonal -- this is the stitch for the Wrist Warmers recently posted.

R1: Ch4, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook, leaving a ch-2 space. The two dc make a little block.
R2: Ch4, turn, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook to make another block. Sl st in ch-2 space from previous row -- this anchors the corner of the current block. Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make another block. At this point it looks like a little heart, or like three little blocks.
R3: Ch4, turn, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook to make a new block. Sl st in last ch-2 space from previous row to anchor the block. Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block. Sl st in next ch-2 space to anchor. Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block.
Pattern Row: R4: Ch4, turn, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook to make a new block. Sl st in last ch-2 space from previous row to anchor the block. (Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block. Sl st in next ch-2 space to anchor) across. End with ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block -- there is no place to anchor this, so this is the end of the row.

Repeat R4 until the piece is as big as you want. Makes a great triangle. Notice that the two short edges of the triangle are really straight.

If you are making an afghan on the diagonal, you can make a rectangle by keeping increasing on one side and starting to decrease on the other. If that sounds too much like math, just make a square and start decreasing when you are halfway through your yarn.

Here is how to decrease:
R1: Ch1, turn. Sl st between the 2 dc and in the ch-2 space to get to the corner of the little block. (Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block. Sl st in next ch-2 space to anchor) across. Repeat this row until only 1 block is left. Finish off, or edge as desired.

What is crazy about this stitch is that if you look at the fabric, half the stitches seem to be going one way (left to right), and the other half are going the other way (up and down).

Second Way - Rows: This way has a more traditional feel to it. You make a long chain, make each row as a bunch of blocks, each anchored with a slip stitch, and each row has the same number of little blocks. This makes a zigzag edge along all edges.

Here’s how: Loosely chain a length as long as you want the piece to be, plus about 20 percent -- the pattern stitch draws in a bit. For afghans, I usually do not count stitches, let alone chain stitches. Too easy to miscount, too easy to be off in the first row by not skipping the right number of chains at one point or another. But if you want to count, that is just fine, too. This pattern as given here is worked over a multiple of 5 stitches.

Setup row: Row 1: Dc1 in 3rd and 4th ch from hook to make 1 block. Skip 2 ch, sl st 1 in next ch to anchor this block. *Ch2. Dc1 in next 2 ch. Skip 2 ch, sl st in next ch to anchor this block.* Repeat from * to * across the chain, ending with a sl st to anchor the last block. Trim any excess chains, leaving a tail of a few inches so you can tuck in the loose end.

You may want to count how many blocks (repeats) you have in this first row, just to get oriented. That way, if things look a bit off later on, you can count repeats and see if that is the problem.

Pattern row: Row 2: Ch 4, turn. Dc2 starting in the 3rd ch from the hook to make 1 block. Sl st in the ch space of the last block of the previous row to anchor the corner of this block. *Ch2, dc2 in same ch space. Sl st in next ch space.* Repeat from * to * across, ending with sl st in last ch space. Repeat this row for the pattern.
1. For a more open pattern, do SC1 instead of Slip Stitch to anchor each block.
2. If DC2 seems a bit skimpy, do DC3 instead. Working in Rows, that makes it a 7-stitch repeat and you would ch3 at the start of each block. It makes a more open fabric if you chain 3. You can also chain 2 but work 3 dc into each space. Your choice.


Wrist warmers to crochet

The stitch for this is a variation on Crazy Stitch from Victorian Crochet, published by Dover in 1974, with an introduction by Florence Weinstein. It is a handy stitch.

Wrist warmers - a basic pattern

Suggested yarn/hook: dk yarn with 4mm hook

The idea is to make a square about 6 inches on each side, then edge it in shell stitch, joining two opposite sides to make holes for fingers, and for decoration. There are different ways to wear this. But to get started:

R1: Ch4, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook, leaving a ch-2 space. This makes a little block.
R2: Ch4, turn, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook to make another block. Sl st in ch-2 space from prev row -- this anchors the corner of the current block. Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make another block. At this point it looks like a little heart, or like three little blocks.
R3: Ch4, turn, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook to make a new block. Sl st in last ch-2 space from prev row to anchor the block. Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block. Sl st in next ch-2 space to anchor. Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block.
R4: Ch4, turn, dc in 3rd and 4th ch from hook to make a new block. Sl st in last ch-2 space from prev row to anchor the block. (Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block. Sl st in next ch-2 space to anchor) across. End with ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block -- there is no place to anchor this, so this is the end of the row.

Repeat R4 until the piece measures about 6 inches on each side edge, ending with an even number of rows.

This size fits a lot of hands, but if you want it larger or smaller, this is where you make that decision. Make more rows if you want it bigger; fewer rows to make it smaller. Remember that the edging will add about 2 inches to the width around, so you want the square to be too small to fit around the hand.

Now start decreasing:
R1: Ch1, turn. Sl st between the 2 dc and in the ch-2 space to get to the corner. (Ch2, dc2 in same ch-2 space to make a new block. Sl st in next ch-2 space to anchor) across. Repeat this row until only 1 block is left. Do not finish off.

Now make a round of shell stitch around 3 sides of the outside edge. Each shell stitch spans 2 rows -- the reason for the even number of rows. The edging on the 4th side is joined to the edging on the 2nd side to make the holes.

Here is how to work this round:
A slightly different shell stitch: Starting at the point where you finished the square, and working along the outside edge of the piece, *(2dc, ch2, 2dc) in the next space between two blocks. Sc1 in the next space between two blocks to anchor the end of the shell. You should end up ready to make a sc in the corner, but don‘t. Then actually increase at the corner by making (sc, ch1, sc) in the corner. Then repeat from * until 3 sides are done, ending with an increase on the 3rd corner.

On the 4th side, do pretty much the same thing, EXCEPT: do a different shell to join this side to the opposite side: do (2dc, ch1, sc1 in ch space of shell on opposite side, ch1, 2dc) across. End with a sc in the last corner and slip stitch into the top of the first dc of the round. Finish off. Make 2nd the same.

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