Exploring crochet stitches and yarns

Here are blog posts about pattern stitches and choosing yarns and textures:

SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, 2014

Crochet for knitters

RS of sample - includes edge samples, some bobbles,
surface slip stitch, and seams.  Also looks like a goofy person.
As practical as knitting is for all kinds of things, sometimes crochet is faster and easier for a few details.  Most common is the crab stitch edge to finish a knitted garment.  This sample has a number of examples of crab stitch edging.

Crochet can also be useful for seams and for embellishment.  When adding crochet to a knit fabric, choose a hook that is small enough to work comfortably into your knit fabric and is also big enough for your yarn.  F/G/4mm is a common size to use with worsted or DK weight yarns.  

Note that yarnovers in knitting are counter-clockwise Q, while yarnovers in crochet are clockwise P.  If that sounds confusing, just remember to wrap the yarn the normal way when knitting and the other way when crocheting. 

Crab Stitch
Edges:  Crab stitch is a name for doing single crochet from left to right, so the stitch is twisted.  If you haven't tried it before, there is an existential learning curve, and you may need to keep at it for a dozen or more stitches before it starts to make sense.  It really is just single crocheting from left to right, but the trick is for each stitch to be twisted.  A variation is to start a single crochet the normal way (from right to left), but rotate (twirl the hook around one time) to twist the stitch before doing the final yarnover and pull through.   

Lite Crab Stitch 
Crab stitch makes a very solid corded edge.  For something just a little lighter, consider lite crab stitch:  alternate a crab stitch with a chain stitch.

You can crab stitch directly into the edge of the knitted fabric, but sometimes the stitching can look different depending on whether you're stitching into row ends or into stitches.  In that case, it can be useful to start with a setup row, using the same yarn as the fabric, to make a consistent base for the contrast edging.
Shell Stitch border - very traditional

Other traditional edges include simply stitching a single row of a pattern stitch, like Shell, or Open Shell, or Crazy Stitch.  Including Picots makes the row look fancier by adding little pointy bits.  
Shell Stitch with picots

For a flared edge, consider - instead of binding off - doing a (slip stitch to bind next stitch off the left needle, then chain 1) all the way across.  To add a flared edge to an edge other than the last row, pick up stitches along the desired edge, stockinette a few rows (enough to make a ruffling fabric), then do the (slip stitch, chain) combination to bind off.  The massive increase of (a) switching from knit to crochet, and (b) adding the chain stitches will make the edge ruffle out a bit.  Working into the live stitches makes the knitted fabric shape itself into the expanded edge.

Seams:  Three-needle bind-off, mattress stitch,  and Kitchener / grafting are such perfect ways to join fabrics in knitting, you'd think crochet wouldn't have anything to add.  (An aside:  Did you ever notice that mattress is just like grafting, only tighter and on row ends rather than in stitches?)  If your yarn is really textured or delicate (like mohair), it may not be suitable for using with a yarn needle, and the three-needle bind-off is only for, well, binding off, which still leaves other seams to do.  

I learned the (slip stitch 1, chain 1) seam when altering a store-bought knitted sweater where the sleeves were too long and could not be shortened at the wrist.  Taking the sleeves out and shortening the sleeve cap worked just fine -- and the armhole seam had been joined that way.  Here, the seam is worked in a contrasting yarn, and you can see it on the right side.  It blends in much more if you use the same yarn as the fabric. 

Other seams make sense with projects like joining motifs.  In a pattern the instructions may simply say to whip-stitch, or just 'join'.  I generally don't care for whip-stitching seams because it tends to come apart easiest.  If the motifs, joined together, are coming out too small or too dense, it can make sense to join them with a lacy zigzag crochet that adds more fabric as well as 'give' between the squares.

Embellishments:  Even the most sensible knitter can have an embellishment emergency, and a few very simple concept tools in your kit can come in handy.  The simplest basicflower and leaf is easy, quick, and makes you look clever.  Other common embellishments include the Bobble (either worked in or added after), and Slip Stitch (as an alternative to Duplicate Stitch, and it is handy for designs that don't follow the grid-like structure of the knitted fabric).  

SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2014

Sturdy Baskets to crochet

One popular project with simple single crochet is the Basket.  It usually goes something like this: Start at the center with a small chain ring.  Single crochet 1 round into the ring, then continue in a coil in single crochet, increasing as needed (it generally averages out to about 6 stitches per round) until the base is as big as you want.  Then stop increasing, but continue stitching until the basket is as tall as you want (or you run out of yarn).  Finish the top edge simply with a round of slip stitch to make it nip in a bit.  For a fancier top edge, consider a pattern stitch:  Ripple, or chevron, adds a fancy edge and nips in, too.  For stability or extra sturdiness, make it tall enough for the top to fold down.  For a basket that holds its shape, use a sturdy yarn (more like cotton or a tough acrylic), nothing soft like alpaca or any acrylic intended to be soft.  All very well and good. 

Some years back, I made a bunch of sturdy baskets, holding 4 strands of worsted weight acrylic and stitching with a size I (5.5mm) hook.  It felt good and sturdy, and made baskets that did not stretch out of shape.  I was going through a divorce at the time, my life was in turmoil, and I had a lot of emotional energy to channel through my hands.  It felt perfectly normal.

Now that my life is much calmer, I simply cannot work that tightly.  It hurts my hands.  But I still make sturdy baskets – with bag stitch.  Here are samples of the old and the new:


The single crochet versions have rows that go straight across - two blue baskets in back.  The bag stitch versions have rows that look more diagonal.  The big one in front is made out of Zpaghetti, from Lion Brand.  The 2nd from the left is upside-down, making it a teacozy.

In rows, the stitch looks like this:  Set-up row:  Ch2, turn.  *skip 1sc, sc in the next ch space.  ** Repeat from * to corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1 in the corner space.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with sc1 in the last stitch.
Pattern row:  Ch2, turn.  *Skip 1sc, sc into the sc of the row before last, enclosing the ch1 of the last row. ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1) in the middle of the corner turn.  

Here is a sample instruction for a triangle, made in the round (from a previous post):   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.  

I will have samples at my booth next month.

SUNDAY, JUNE 8, 2014

Net backdrop.

Booth construction is a new challenge.  Fishing line, specifically 20 or 25 pound fishing line, 10mm crochet hook.  Ch-3 net stitch.  Fairly quick to make.  Very stretchy.  Feels kind of fun.  Tied to the side beams and a few points across the top, I have a net ground for hanging things.  Still need to arrange how things will hang, but here I’m just testing to make sure it won’t break easily – some archival pieces (contest winners from the 70’s and 80’s, plus sweaters pictured in my Threads articles, and some fun little cardigans for smalls).  The black background simply covers my bookshelves – at the show it will be a clear view to the next booth on each side.  I may like this.  We’ll see if it works.

THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 2014

Small Hounds-tooth check in crochet

Going through my swatches and samples, I came across a simple cap in one of my favorite garment stitches:  (sc1, dc1) across, then in each round sc in the dc and dc in the sc.  (It looks a little different in rows.) If you change color each row/round, you get a small hounds-tooth check without even trying. I love that about crochet.

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.


THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2014

Three balls of yarn


Casablanca wound in balls - long
stretches of color
There is a common wisdom that hand-dyed yarns should be worked 2 balls at a time, mixing rows from both balls, to minimize the dye-lot variations that happen with hand-dyed yarns.  Working between two balls of yarn can also help mix things up a bit so the colors don't pool so drastically.  Thing is, with two balls of yarn, you have to work two rows of each before switching.  With crochet rows being fairly tall, that can be pretty stripey.  As an alternative, I started working with three balls of yarn, changing yarn at the end of each row.

I recently started a sweater using Cascade's Casablanca yarn, which has long stretches in each color.  If I used only 1 skein at a time, the short rows of my sweater would have wide stripes, and the wider parts of the sweater would have skinnier stripes, and it would all look fairly color-blocked - an effect I didn't want.

By starting with three balls of yarn, each starting at a different point in the color sequence, my sweater is coming out with a more fair isle look. Still need to make more progress on the sweater to see how it all works out.

I also used the 3 balls of yarn trick on atoddler sweater, this time with one ball each of two solid colors and a coordinated ball of a variegated that includes those two colors.  Because they all blend, the variegated yarn helped soften the stripey effect of the solid colors, and made the whole piece more lady-like.

If you use 3 different colors (A, B, and C), changing every row, the color sequence will be ABCABCABC - a 3-row repeat.  If you use four colors (W, X, Y, and Z), and switch yarn at the end of each row, picking up the yarn that has been waiting the longest, you end up with an 8-row repeat:  W-X-Y-Z-X-W-Z-Y.  That puts the colors in slightly different sequence, making the fabric look fancier.  It's another easy way to look clever.

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.

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.

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.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2013

Single Crochet 1, Chain Stitch 1




Sc1, ch1 Sampler notes


I didn't used to like single crochet, how it looked by itself, how easily it stretched out of shape.  But combining it with chain stitch changed my mind.  Here are a few variations that make really useful fabrics.

This sample is a Log Cabin construction, starting with a central rectangle in one stitch, working a variation along two sides of the block, then working another variation along two more sides, and continuing for a total of 6 different variations of the same (single crochet/chain stitch) combination.

1.  Chain-1 Net stitch on the diagonal
In a really loose gauge, makes a lacy scarf.  If you have trouble seeing the turning chain at the end of the row (it can be tricky), just work the last stitch into the last sc of the previous row.  This makes a stretchy fabric – I am experimenting with it to make socks.
Row 1:  Chain (ch) 3, single crochet (sc) into last stitch (st) from hook.
Row 2 (Increase Row):  Ch2, turn.  Sc in last sc, *ch1, sc in next ch space (sp).  Repeat from * across, ending with sc in turning chain from previous row.
Repeat Row 2 until piece measures 4 inches on each side.
Next row (Decrease Row):  Ch1, turn.  Skip 2 sc, sc in next ch sp.  *ch1, sc in next ch sp.  Repeat from * across, ending with sc in turning chain from previous row.
Repeat last two rows until the long edge measures 6 inches.
Repeat Decrease Row only until 1 sc remains. Do not finish off.

The Math:  Count how many rows there are in the swatch, how many are along the short sides (_____), and how many are along the longs sides (_____).  Next step is to figure your gauge:  The other stitches are all (sc1, ch1), so the stitch gauge is about the same, even though the row gauge will be different for each because of how they are worked.  Measure along a row, which is diagonally on the rectangle.  This is a good time really to see your stitches.

Stitches over 4 inches: _____ Stitches per inch: _____

Multiply the stitches per inch by 4: _____.  That is how many stitches to work along a short edge of the rectangle.  Compare this with the number of rows to see how they match: _____ sts per _____ rows.
Multiply the stitches per inch by 6: _____.  That is how many stitches to work along a long edge.  Compare this with the number of rows to see how they match: _____ sts per _____ rows.

Now, back to stitching:

2. Chain-1 Net stitch
This has a square gauge (same number of rows and stitches to the inch) so it is really handy for a log-cabin afghan.  By itself, it is an easy stitch for afghans.  You are always inserting the hook in a chain space, which makes it go fast.
Row 1:  With the hook in the loop from the last stitch, rotate the piece to work along the long side.  Ch2 to start the row.  Remember how many stitches to work for how many rows (from THE MATH).  Working along the long edge and stitching into the row ends, (sc1, ch1) to the next corner, ending with a sc in the corner.  (ch1, sc1) in the same stitch to turn the corner.  Continue along the short edge to the next corner, ending with a sc in the corner.
Row 2:  Ch2, turn.  *Skip 1sc, sc in the next ch sp. ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1) in the corner chain space.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with a sc1 in the ch2 turning chain.  Repeat this row for a total of 9 rows for this sample.

Note:  working an odd number of rows means you always end up in the correct position to start the next stitch section.

3. Single crochet lite
This makes a fairly solid fabric that is almost single crochet.  It is flat and about as plain as you can get with crochet, which is a very texture-oriented craft.  I like it for sweaters.  The chain stitch keeps the single crochet stitches from stretching out of shape.
Row 1:  With the hook in the loop from the last stitch, rotate the piece to work along the long side.  Ch1 to start the row.  Remember how many stitches to work for how many rows (from THE MATH).  Working along the long edge and stitching into the row ends, (sc1, ch1) to the next corner, ending with a sc in the corner.  (ch1, sc1) in the same stitch to turn the corner.  Continue along the short edge to the next corner, ending with a sc in the corner.
Row 2:  Ch1, turn.  *Sc in the next sc, ch1. ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (ch1, sc1, ch1) in the corner chain space – note the middle sc of this increase.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with a sc1 in the last sc of Row 1.
Row 3:  Ch1, turn.  *Sc in the next sc, ch1.  ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1) in the sc in the middle of the turn.
Repeat these two rows for a total of 9 rows for this sample.  Do not finish off.  Keeping 1 loop on the hook, rotate the piece to start the next stitch.

Note:  At this point, all the edges of the original 4x6 block are covered, and from here on, new stitches are worked mainly into stitches and only into a few row-ends.  Because the row ends are now straight, and not on the diagonal – and there are only a few of them – figure one stitch per row end.

4. Chain-1 net stitch in back loop only:
Working in the back loop only makes the fabric more textured and lacy, depending on how the fabric hangs.
Set-up row:  Ch2, turn.  *skip 1sc, sc in the next ch space.  ** Repeat from * to corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1 in the corner space.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with sc1 in the last stitch.
Pattern row:  Ch2, turn.  *Skip 1sc, sc into the Back Loop Only (BLO) of the chain stitch. ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1) in the BLO of the corner chain stitch.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with a sc1 in the ch2 turning chain.  Repeat this row 7 more times, for a total of 9 rows for this sample.  Do not finish off.  Keeping 1 loop on the hook, rotate the piece to start the next stitch.

5. Bag stitch
Makes a very solid, non-stretchy fabric.  I like it for bags and button-bands – anywhere I want a solid fabric.  I work it in a slightly looser gauge in wool for a purse, then felt it to make a bag that does not need lining.  Lately, I have worked it in the round, in a coil, to make baskets. I like it a lot.
Set-up row:  Ch2, turn.  *skip 1sc, sc in the next ch space.  ** Repeat from * to corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1 in the corner space.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with sc1 in the last stitch.
Pattern row:  Ch2, turn.  *Skip 1sc, sc into the sc of the row before last, enclosing the ch1 of the last row. ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1) in the middle of the corner turn.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with a sc1 in the ch2 turning chain.  Repeat this row 7 more times, for a total of 9 rows for this sample.  Do not finish off.  Keeping 1 loop on the hook, rotate the piece to start the next stitch.

6. Bag stitch in back loop only
This is just like bag stitch, but slightly more relaxed.  The visual effect of the front loop that is not enclosed makes this stitch look different from Bag Stitch.
Set-up row:  Ch2, turn.  *skip 1sc, sc in the next ch space.  ** Repeat from * to corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1 in the corner space.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with sc1 in the last stitch.
Pattern row:  Ch2, turn.  *Skip 1sc, sc into the sc of the row before last, enclosing the ch1 of the last row. ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1) in the middle of the corner turn.  Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with a sc1 in the ch2 turning chain.  Repeat this row 7 more times, for a total of 9 rows for this sample.  Do not finish off.  Keeping 1 loop on the hook, rotate the piece to start the next stitch.

7. Lite crab stitch
Now for the edging:  Ch1.  WORKING FROM LEFT TO RIGHT – this will feel strange, but it works.  *Insert hook in the next st to the right.  Yarnover and draw up a loop.  Yarnover and pull through both loops to finish a backward single crochet, also called a crab stitch.  It is a single crochet that is twisted around.  Ch1.  Skip 1 stitch.  Repeat from * to the next corner.  Ch1, and make another stitch in the same stitch, to turn the corner.  Repeat from * around the remaining edges.

When you get back to the beginning of the row, you will see that you can’t really continue because this stitch makes an edge you can’t work into.  Finish off and tuck in the loose ends.

These stitches have a dramatic effect on color work (using variegated yarns or changing color each row).

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

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.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2012

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.

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012

Flower and Leaf


Computer card games can be really addictive.  I have managed to go almost two weeks without playing, with the result that I am crocheting a lot more - washcloths, sweaters, shawls, and even some fiddly stuff, like this carnation and leaf.  The card games are still on my desktop, and I can see them, but now I have to make a conscious choice about what I want to spend my time doing.  As almost anyone knows, this is not as simple as it looks. The flower and leaf, on the other hand, are remarkably easy to make, look clever, and take not very much yarn at all.  Whatever yarn you use, it is good to use a hook that will make a fairly firm stitch, and not too loose.  The crisp definition of the leaf, especially, wants a firm gauge.  A loose gauge makes a more frilly flower, where the loopiness of the stitch competes with the loopiness of the gauge.

About the flower:  This is made from a hank of embroidery floss, using a 3.5mm hook.  Ch3, slip stitch in the last ch to form a ring.  (ch3, sc in the ring) at least 6 times, or as many times as you can squeeze in.  I did 11 in this case and had enough in the one hank of embroidery floss.  The fatter the yarn, the fewer chain loops you will have.

Continuing in a coil, *ch3, sc in next ch space, (ch3, sc in same space) 5 times.  Repeat from * around one time.  Ch3, slip stitch in the starting ring on the underside to position your yarn to use in sewing the flower in place.  Finish off.  A friend of mine made these instead of pompoms on hats for her granddaughters.

Now to go with that flower, you might want a leaf, especially if you happen to have some non-flower color, like green or black (as in this case), and not enough to make a flower.  The easiest way, for me, is to use foundation stitches.  That way, I can make the leaf as long as I want without having to plan ahead.  One version: Ch2, fsc, fhdc, fdc, ftr, fdc, fhdc, fsc.  Ch1 (optional: sl st in same base ch, ch1) and rotate piece to work back along the bottom of the stitches just made.  Sc in base of last fsc made.  Hdc, dc, tr, dc, hdc, sc all along the row, ending up where you started. Sl st in starting chain to finish off.  Leave a tail of a few inches to sew leaf in place.  For a short, stubby leaf, skip the dc, tr parts.

If you really don't like foundation stitches, ch6.  Sc in the 2nd chain from the hook.  Working along the chain row, hdc1, dc1, hdc1, sc1.  That should get you to the end of the row.  Ch1, sl st in the same st, ch1, and rotate the piece to continue along the remaining loops back to the beginning:  sc1, hdc1, dc1, hdc1, and sc1 in the last st.  Slip st into the chain at the end to have a little closure to finish off.  Leave a tail of a few inches to sew the leaf in place.  For a longer leaf, ch8, and work up to a treble before going back down to a single. Of course, there are lots of variations, but it can be satisfying to find something simple that does the trick just fine.

When I run across a little more of a flower color that looks good with this bright red, I will add one or two more flowers to fill out the pin - that way the pin backing won't show.  It is just so easy to do.

THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2012

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.








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