Thursday, March 31, 2011

Picot Stitch

Picot Stitch

The Picot is typically seen as a decrotive edging. Use it to ruffle up a scarf, add hair to a hat or it's popularly used in lace work. Today we're going to use it to 'pretty up' the square of arches we made yesterday. 

Of course the first thing you're thinking is, what's with the numbers? And then you're thinking, those Picots don't look like they're the same size. -- you are right!!! The number indicated the number of chains I used to make the picot. I did this to show you how the look changes the longer or shorter you make your picot. If you've seen any of my flowers - like these red ones- I used a type of Picot stitch to make the petals. 

So how do you make the Picot stitch? Well, first start with a piece you'd like to add picots too - or a base chain of 12 or so loops for practicing. To crochet the chain 3 picot, first chain 3...

Great! Next you're going to insert your hook in the first of the chain 3 you just crocheted.

There you go!  Now pull a loop through the chain and the loop on your hook.

Your first Picot is created!

When adding Picot's around a piece with 90degree corners, add 2 or 3 picots per corner. You'll need to play around to see whether 2 or 3 works best without puckering.

Continue to go around.

After you complete each Picot work a single crochet stitch in the next stitch (or row stitch if you're going down the side of your piece)

When you finish, slip stitch into the first single crochet stitch you made. And there you go!! Try it out on that scarf you've been working on. Or use the arch pattern with Picot trim to make some great placemats and coasters!!

Thanks guys and remember to say HI! on Facebook and Twitter :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crocheting Arches

(Multiple of 2 +2)

You'll see arches used a lot in lace work and doilies and they very popular in circular items because they can be used to help expand your circle without it being obvious. Today cover the basic mechanics of arches. I'm going to be making chain -3 arches, but there are also chain 4, chain 5, etc etc arches. It all has to do with what size yarn you're using and what you're trying to achieve.

So crochet a base chain of multiple of 2 plus 2 stitches. For the above example I crocheted 12 stitches. Single crochet in the second loop from the hook.

This will be the start of your first arch. Chain 3 (body of the arch) and add a single crochet in the second chain from your current location (so skip a space and crochet in the next).

First Arch!!!! Repeat "Chain 3, sc in second chain" across. This will leave you with five arches.

The entire piece will look a bit bowed, that's why it's important to wet and 'block' your pieces when you're done.

Blocking = A technique of wetting and stretching a piece to ensure that it dries in the correct shape. To block your piece, wash or wet it and lay it flat - I like to lay it on a piece of cardboard - and use pins to stretch the item to the desired shape. In this case I want a square so I'll add a pin to each corner and a few around the edge to make sure it dries in a square shape.

For your next row, chain 2 and single crochet in the chain 3 arch from the previous row.

Next, chain 3 and single crochet in the next chain 3 space. 

Repeat across until you've SC in the last chain 3 space. To finish the row, chain 2 and single crochet in the SC from the last row.

For the next row, chain 2 and sc in the first chain 3 space, chain 3 and sc in next chain 3 space. Repeat across until you reach the last chain 3 space. Chain 2 and sc in the chain 2 space from the previous row.

Continue for each row until you reach the desired length.

You can now
(1) leave it as is.
(2) join a piece of yarn to the beginning base chain and repeat the same pattern going in the opposite direction.
(3) or add a 2 single crochet stitches in the chain 2 space, a sc to each chain 3 space and sc stitch from the previous row and 2 single crochet stitches in the last chain 2 space.

Here's what option 3 looks like. (Remember you'll be 'blocking' so it'll look way better later.)

Next you can leave it or add a decorative border.

Tomorrow we'll be using Picot stitch to add a decorative border to the above item. Tune in!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The True Popcorn Stitch

Popcorn Stitch
Imagine my embarrassment when I was informed that what I thought of as the popcorn stitch was really a cluster!!! I have since amended my previous posting to identify the stitch as a Cluster and will now show you the *correct way to crochet a popcorn stitch. BUT I am not changing the name of my skirt... it still 'looks' like popcorn!

Anyway, lets talk about the real slim....I mean popcorn stitch. As seen in the photo above, the popcorn stitch projects out of your piece much more than the cluster, this is because the stitches themselves are thrust out. Let me demonstrate. 

First, crochet a bunch of stitches for your base chain. In the above example I crocheted 13 stitches, plus 2 for the turning chain. Next, add a single crochet stitch to each stitch across starting with the second loop from the hook. Chain 2 and turn. 

In the next row, add a half double crochet stitch to the first three stitches. Than add 5- double crochet stitches to the fourth stitch (pictured above) The 5-dc will become your first popcorn.

Remove your hook from your current chain and insert it in the first double crochet you added. Make sure the hook is pointed towards you. (pointed away will put the popcorn on your side of the piece)

Grab your previous loop with your hook and pull it through the double crochet stitch.

Pull tight to close the loop and crochet your first double.

And that makes a Popcorn stitch. For the example, I then crocheted 5 half double crochet stitches, followed up with another popcorn, than crocheted 3 more hdcs to the end. Chain 1 and turn.

Here's what your first 'popcorn' row looks like. 
You can just see the popcorn stitches on the other side. Chain 1, and turn

I like to add a row of single crochet stitches between each popcorn row. I think it helps to better space them, but you should try different approaches and designs to find out what you like. 

For the next row I am going to add a popcorn before and after the popcorn from the previous row.

Remember when doing this to insert your hook,

Grab the previous loop,

And pull tight.

For this row I crocheted 2 hdcs, popcorn stitch, 1 hdc, popcorn stitch, 3 hdcs, popcorn, 1 hdc, popcorn, 2 hdc - chain 2 and turn.

For the next row, just to mix it up, I crocheted hdc stitches until I reached the mid point and added 5 double crochet stitches to the middle stitch. Next I added a front side popcorn.

To do this:

Insert your hook so you're pointing away from you and hook your loop. 
Pull tight to make a front side popcorn. HDC to the end.

My finished example looks kind of crazy, but I wanted to add lots of popcorn stitches to show you how they'd look. From the top view you can see the curled top where all the double crochet stitches are pulled together and it almost looks like flowers sewn to your piece.

I'd love to see how creative you guys can get with this one. Find me on Facebook and Twitter and say hi.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Single Crochet Fence Stitch

Single Crochet Fence Stitch
(Multiple of 4 +3)

This type of crocheting has limitless possibilities and looks great as a sweater or scarf. Sit down and draw out a pattern of single crochet stitches and spaces and then implement. In this example my pattern is 2 single crochet stitches followed by two spaces. 

To create this pattern crochet a multiple of 4 plus 3 additional stitches. Next, add a single crochet stitch to the second and third loop from the hook. Chain 2 and skip the next two stitches, add a single crochet to the next two stitches. Repeat across.

See the bumps at the top - these are my chain 2 spaces. Chain 3 and turn.

In the next row you will add a single crochet to each of the two chain spaces and chain 2 to skip the single crochet stitches from the previous row.

See in the above picture how the chain 3 makes the first chain 2 space. Your single crochet stitches are then worked in the chain loops.

When you end a row which has a chain space at the end, add a single crochet to the chain 1 space at the end. (you will not single crochet in this stitch in the next row) Chain 1 and turn

In the third row, add a single crochet to each of the two chain spaces from the previous row. Repeat pattern across.
This would look great on top of a colored fabric for a bag. Or you could alter the design to make larger spaces, crochet Morse code or to 'draw' a picture. This can also be done with double crochet or triple, but keep in mind that the holes will get bigger and bigger with the larger stitches. So consider what you want to be able to hold in the bag or how loose you want your sweater to be.

Thanks guys! I'd love to see your original fence patterns - post to my Facebook page or Tweet me!

Happy Hooking!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

5-DC Cluster / Shell Circles

Shell Circles
(Multiple of 5 + 4)

This is a pattern I've been playing with and I finally feel like I've conquered it. You could make long strings of circles and switch between two or 3 or more colors. I also see that as a cool head wrap or scarf.

The formula for the base chain is a multiple of 5 chains, plus 4 and is made using double crochet stitch. For the above example, chain 19 and add a double crochet to the third loop from the hook.

Next chain 2 and add a 5-DC Cluster starting in the third chain space from the one you just crocheted in.

To crochet the 5-DC Cluster you will  crochet five partial double crochets - crochet a double crochet, but don't finish it - and then pull a loop through all six loops on your hook. (see above picture)

Great! You have now crocheted your first 5-DC Cluster. Chain 4 and add another cluster starting in the next chain space. Chain 4 and add another Cluster. Than chain 2 and add a DC to the end.

You should end up with a double crochet stitch at the beginning and end of your chain and three 5-DC Clusters. Next, chain 2 and turn.

Add a Double Crochet to the first stitch. Than add a 5-DC Shell to the top of the first Cluster.

This will give you a pretty circle appearance. Add another 5-DC Shell to the next Cluster, repeat across and add a DC to the end.

If you want you can now switch colors. For the next rows you will repeat the steps of the first and second row except work your Cluster using the tops of the Shells from the previous row.

This is a great example of stitches being pretty all on their own. Even if you only ever crochet blankets and scarves, these great patterns will make your pieces look interesting, colorful and unique.

I have a few good ideas for what I'll use this for and will post pics to my Facebook page as I move ahead. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter and give me your feedback. We only get better with good advise!

Interweaved Fence Stitch

Interweaved Fence Stitch
(multiple of 2 +4)

Since we covered how to crochet the fence stitch yesterday I thought we'd spice it up by showing an example of how you could use the fence stitch in an unusual way. This would look great as a black belt with white dress or as a bag. But I'd love to see what you guys do with it.

So to work this technique you need to crochet your starting rectangle (or square depending on how many stitches you add). See my previous post for instructions on the starter rectangle. Once you've got that down you'll want to crochet your base chain for the next square. The base chain formula for this pattern is multiple of 2, plus 4 - this is for a triple crochet stitch. If you're crocheting a double remove one stitch. (mult of 2, plus 3).

Here's what you'll be attaching your next rectangle to. I'm alternating colors, but this would also look nice in one color against a contrasting outfit or fabric.
For the rectangles I'm making I crocheted a base chain of 10 +4 = 14 stitches, then added a triple crochet to the fourth loop from the hook. Chain 1.

Next, take that base chain with your first triple crochet and weave the chain in and out of the posts of the previous rectangle. To accomplish the weaving you'll be adding a triple crochet in the back side of the piece, chain 1, adding a triple to the front .... etc all the way across.

Ok, so here I've added the back Triple crochet. For each you will be skipping one stitch on the chain and crocheting in the next one so look carefully from the back to make sure you're adding your stitch to the second stitch from the last. Then chain 1 and jump to the other side. 

In the above two photos I am adding the front triple crochet. Notice how all work is done on either the front or the back of the piece. 

When you get to the end add a triple crochet to the last chain space, chain 3 and turn. 

For the next row no weaving is necessary. Add a triple crochet to the first stitch, chain 1 and skip the next stitch, add a triple to the next stitch (every second stitch across). Sew in the ends and prep for the next square. 

I think this has a lot of possibilities for fun outfits, bags, and scarves. I might try this in maybe a dark blue/light blue combo for a bag. If so I will post pics to my Facebook page or check my Twitter page for comments.
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