Foundation Stitches

Here are post about foundation stitch:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013

Foundation stitches



Foundation Stitch Sampler

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

Definitions:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These observations apply to the following four examples, too.


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008

And Finally...

So, about those foundation stitches, I thought I'd provide some photos. For trying out foundation double crochet, I would recommend opening the link to the instructions (below) in a new window, and then adjusting both that window and this so that they may be viewed side by side. That way, you can use this page as a reference as you work.


If you want to start a project with foundation double crochet, start with 3 chain stitches, and begin with step two on this page, except that you insert your hook in the third chain from the hook:


http://members.aol.com/Sbaycgoa/foundatn.htm

Following these instructions, your work should look like this at the end of step four:


The loop right above the head of the hook (that the double crochet seems to be coming out of) is the chain stitch made in step three. It is where you will insert your hook to make the next stitch. It's hard to keep an eye on if you aren't used to it, so stretch it out a little and hold on to it while you finish the double crochet.

After step six, your work will look like this:


Again, the top of the hook is touching the loop where you insert the hook for the next stitch. Once you have these first couple stitches done, it gets much easier to see what you are doing. After several stitches, your work will look like this:


As you can see, it looks exactly like a row of double crochet, and that's how you treat it. And you treat the initial three chains like a turning chain.
I hope that helps. Next up for harper (that's me): color work.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2008

More about Foundation Stitches

I'm seeing more interest in the idea of foundation stitches, which is very cool. A description, including pictures for foundation double crochet, is at

http://members.aol.com/Sbaycgoa/foundatn.htm

This was put up by my friend Mary Cahill, who also thought up the name Slam Dunk Slippers for the slipper pattern a few posts ago. Some of the information there, including the pictures, are scanned from the Learn How Book, put out by Coats and Clark -- my copy is dated 1959, and the pictures are on page 11. Not every edition of the Learn How Book (and there are lots of editions) have this technical tidbit. Earlier crochet books refer to any stitch used to begin a project other than chain stitch as a Foundation Stitch.

Some people are so excited when they learn about foundation stitches that they ask, "Why don't they teach you this stuff at the very beginning?" I hesitate to teach this concept until the crocheter is advanced enough to see the structure of the stitches. If a stitcher doesn't know what s/he's looking at, being specific about where and how to insert the hook can just be really confusing.

More visual aids for this technique, including how to do it with stitches other than double crochet, are on the DVD Crocheters' Guide, put out by Victorian Video.

The article in Interweave Crochet a few issues ago was interesting because it compared foundation double crochet with extended double crochet, also known as the Elmore Stitch. The only difference between the two is where you insert your hook. With extended double crochet, you are stitching into a row that is already there. With foundation stitches, you are making new stitches. While this may not seem like much, it makes all the difference in the world. Kind of like the difference between a winch and a wench, even though there's only one letter different.

Most important, with foundation stitches, you want to keep an eye on that chain stitch you're adding at the base of the stitch. You want to mush the stitch around a little so that chain is at the base of the stitch you end up with.

The posting on the South Bay Crochet site has been useful for a number of people -- it helps if you have some yarn and a hook in hand to try it yourself as you read. That way you can see what you are doing and compare it with the description and the pictures.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2007

Oh! The beauty of Foundation Stitches!

Foundation stitch is one of the coolest, most practical concepts for crocheters. I learned Foundation Double Crochet from the Green Learn How booklet ten million years ago -- it's a way of adding double crochets at the end of a row in filet crochet to match increases made at the beginning of the row. But then I realized I could use it as the base row, that it is good for any kind of yarn, and that it can work with all kinds of stitches, including pattern stitches.

Interweave Crochet had a little article about the concept in their last issue, but they explained it differently than I do, so here's my take on it.

First, you have a chain row to start a project. Then you have the first row that you work into that chain row. Would it not be wonderful if you could combine the two rows and work them all in one swell foop? That is the foundation concept.

Foundation double crochet (fdc) looks the most like a row of double crochet, so it is easiest to start with. Here's how: Chain 3 to turn.

- yarnover/yo (because you're doing a double crochet)
- insert hook in last chain from the hook, yo, draw up a loop (3 loops on hook)
- yo, pull through ONE loop to make the chain stitch. (3 loops are still on the hook)
- look at the base chain stitch you just made -- see where it is
- finish the double crochet just like normal: (yo, pull through 2 lps) twice

That is one foundation double crochet. To make more fdc's, *yarnover, and insert the hook under two strands of the base chain you just made. Yarnover, draw up a loop, yarnover and pull through one loop (to make a new base chain), look to see where that base chain is, and finish off the double crochet. Repeat from * as much as you want.

You may want to stretch or ease how the stitches line up so they look straight.

Incorporating the base chain into the first row makes a wonderful, much better edge. PLUS, you are spared the torture of working into the initial chain row.

I'd love to hear how other people like this technique. It is really adaptable to other stitches, too. Do you have a pattern stitch you'd like to see worked as a foundation row? Let me know.

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