This blog post is an overflow page for issue #76 of my crochet newsletter. Scroll down to see the heart shape chart, and then the full text of the Slip Stitch Crochet Hearts Free Pattern. To print, click on the little printer icon at the end of this post.
We Need to Talk: Slip Stitch Skill Levels
I rate this pattern Intermediate for slip stitch crocheters, and Advanced if you’re new to Slip Stitch Crochet. A good free crochet pattern for slip stitch beginners would be Eva’s Ribs Scarf. After that, Slip Tectonics or Undaria would bring novices solidly up to speed for these hearts.
I originally designed these crochet hearts for a three hour intermediate-level class on slip stitch shaping methods. “Slip Stitch Crochet 101” class was a prerequisite. After crocheting this heart, students would be equipped to crochet fitted sleeve caps and gracefully shaped armholes!
You’ll be adding or subtracting only a stitch or two to make this heart. Not a big deal if you’ve ever increased and decreased with single crochets. It takes practice, though, to shape every row of slip stitches. Consider that even if you’ve already completed some slip stitch projects, most existing slip stitch crochet patterns involve only occasional shaping, if any. (If you’ve crocheted a slip stitch pattern with a significant amount of shaping, please tell me about it in the comments.)
For a slip stitch beginner, the biggest challenge is recognizing what the stitches are doing to avoid increasing or decreasing by accident. It’s like learning to crochet all over again—and that can be humbling if you don’t expect it, but what a beautiful thing! How many of us long-time crocheters remember what it was like to learn how to crochet for the first time? If you’ve been crocheting for at least ten years already, you can revisit this life changing moment!
I recommend that you cross off each row when you complete it to easily keep track of where you are. (I have to. For these crochet hearts I’d rather count stitches than rows.) For pattern help, visit my fabulous forum.
Challenge Accepted? Great!
Welcome to the “heart” of slip stitch country. Start with a thick smooth yarn and a big hook.
Slip Stitch Crochet Hearts: Project “Shortbread Cookie”
A Valentine Heart Pattern in Vertical Fss Rows.
Abbreviations: ch=chain, Bss=back-loop-only slip stitch, Fss=front-loop-only slip stitch, sc=single crochet, ss=slip stitch, st(s)=stitch(es).
Row 1: Skip ch nearest your hook, ss in any loop of each remaining ch, turn: 3 ss. Easy, right?
Notice that every odd-numbered row ends at the top of the heart and every even-numbered row ends at the bottom of it. The yarn end (referred to as “tail” from now on) is at the top of the heart, so whenever you crochet toward the tail end, you must be on an odd-numbered row.
Row 2: Ch 2, ss in 2nd ch from your hook (an increase of one st), Fss in first ss, 2 Fss in each of next 2 ss, turn: 6 ss.
- Increasing: There are lots of ways to increase with slip stitches. Try a slip stitch in the front loop, and then in the back loop of the same stitch. Or, use the method you prefer. I described my favorites in the newsletter issue.
No row will ever have more than 10 sts in it. If you have trouble seeing which loops to crochet into:
- It will get easier after 3 rows or so. You won’t see the heart shape develop until you’re halfway there (Row 9).
- The st count matters more than choosing the correct loop. Count as you crochet and add a st in a good enough loop if need be. The most common problem for slip stitchers is identifying which st is the last one of the row. Counting as you go helps and you won’t need to use a stitch marker.
- I don’t count my rows. As I complete each row I put a checkmark next to it on the pattern. I also rely heavily on the yarn tail–whether I’m crocheting a row toward the tail or away from it.
- Questions? Ask in my forum!
Row 3: Ch 2, ss in 2nd ch from your hook, Fss in each ss, turn: 7 ss.
Rows 4 & 5: Repeat Row 3. At the end of Row 5 you’ll have 9 ss.
Row 6: Ch 1, Fss in each ss, turn: 9 ss.
Row 7: Repeat Row 3: 10 ss.
Row 8: Ch 1, skip first ss (a decrease of one st), Fss in each remaining ss, turn: 9 ss.
Row 9: Ch 2, ss in 2nd ch from your hook, Fss in each ss to last st, turn leaving last st unworked: 9 ss.
Row 10: Ch 1, skip first ss, Fss in each ss to last st, 2 ss in last st, turn: 9 ss.
Row 11: Repeat Row 10: 9 ss.
Row 12: Repeat Row 9: 9 ss.
Row 13: Ch 1, Fss in each ss to last st, 2 ss in last st, turn: 10 ss.
Row 14: Ch 1, Fss in each ss to last st, turn leaving last st unworked: 9 ss.
Row 15: Repeat Row 6: 9 ss.
Row 16-18: Repeat Row 14. At the end of Row 18 you’ll have 6 ss.
Row 19: Ch 1, skip first ss, Fss in next ss, [skip next ss, Fss in next ss] twice, turn: 3 ss.
Round 1 (add a border of ss): Fss in each ss of Row 19, ss in one loop at the end of each row to bottom point of heart, [ss, ch 1, ss] in it, continue edging row ends to first row, ss in each of the 3 foundation chs, ss in remaining row ends, join to start of round with a ss.
Note: Edging these crochet hearts is not as laborious as it might seem. Even though it’s not easy to identify each row end, this needn’t slow you down. I mostly just estimate where to put my next stitch, and it comes out looking perfectly nice, especially after simple blocking.
Finishing: Fasten off, or add another round of ss, or reverse sc. Be sure to damp block: stretch all edges in every direction then let it settle into a smooth, symmetrical-enough heart shape and let dry. Make another like the first so that you can seam them together with a ss seam, add a bit of stuffing and hide the ends.
Experiment Freely with this Free Heart Chart
The grid rows of the chart are tailored to Fss stitch height, but why impose limits on your heart? You could try using single crochets instead, for example. The heart shape may widen or narrow a bit. Or, try back-loop slip stitches (Bss) after you’ve made a few crochet hearts in all front-loop slip stitches (Fss). (The back loops of slip stitches are trickier to identify than front loops for some folks at first.)
I hope you’ll show us your crochet hearts in my fabulous forum.