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  • Crochet Beginners’ Tip: Slip Stitch Fake Facts

    About Today’s Tip for Crochet Beginners

    I’m going to unpack the “outdated advice” part.

    crochet beginners tip 0002 slip stitch misconceptions

    For reasons I still haven’t figured out, misconceptions and outright errors (alternative facts?) about slip stitches have been repeated uncritically in crochet how-to books for decades. I’ve distilled them all into the following four sentences, which are also found in my Slip Stitch Crochet 101 class handout.

    Can you spot all of the unhelpful advice?

    “There is one kind of slip stitch and it is crocheted tightly. It is useful only occasionally, for a few things, such as joining a round, closing a picot, or seaming. Don’t bother trying to make anything with it, it has no height. It doesn’t really count as a stitch at all; it’s a nonstitch.” 

    Crochet beginners have been discouraged from exploring slip stitches only, not other basic stitches. Why? It’s not because slip stitches are tricky for beginners. In my classes, the experienced crocheters struggle more (thanks to the misinformation).

    New Rules for Crochet Beginners About Slip Stitches

    Substitute the fake facts above with this:

    Thinking of slip stitches as a group of stitches is better than reducing them all to one stitch. It aids understanding, inspires innovation, and improves pattern writing. Go up at least two crochet hook sizes to crochet them loosely unless a pattern specifies otherwise. Also assume you’ll be crocheting into one top loop instead of both.

    Slip stitches are exceedingly versatile, useful, and pleasing for many of the things crocheters make. In fact, slip stitches are often preferable to other stitches, such as for ribbing, or for a thin, supple fabric that conserves yarn. They may also be fine for joining a round, closing a picot, or seaming, but not always. (For example, slipping a loop through to join is more invisible than a slip stitch; a single crochet makes a better picot in some patterns; a slip stitch or single crochet plus a chain-1 is sometimes a better seam.)

    Slip stitches clearly have height—how odd that it needs to be stated. The evidence is in the heaps of very wearable scarves and sweaters. You can also crochet around the post of a slip stitch. Not only does a slip stitch have height, the height varies depending on the type of slip stitch. As a starting point, expect front-loop types to be taller than back-loop types.

    I learned about crocheting slip stitch projects *decades* after learning how to crochet everything else. There’s no reason for crochet beginners to wait decades like I did!

    • May 23rd, 2017 by Vashti Braha

    2016 Crochet Stitch Games: Class Resources Page

    Clickable resources for my 2016 Crochet Stitch Games with Colorful Yarns class. Includes patterns for designs shown, and inspiration for new games. Also articles & books recommended in class. Click an image to enlarge it.

    Crochet Patterns & Crochet Alongs:

    Recommended Issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter:

    2016 Crochet Stitch Games, Blogged:


    • June 2nd, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Special Class Practice Swatches

    Today I get to crochet outside in my gazebo. The weather is gorgeous and the birds sound happy. We have plenty of coffee, chocolate, and fresh peaches. It’s a perfect holiday weekend. On the hook: very special practice swatches. What?

    Well, we’re nearing the end of May.

    One of my big conference prep goals is to complete the handouts for all five of my class topics by June 1. That’s why I keep blogging about how I prepare class handouts. It’s all I can think about. It’s like when I’m in the midst of solving a puzzle, or reading a good mystery.

    Practice swatches try to become new designs!

    I’m an unofficial pattern tester today, following my own directions in a class handout so that I send off the draft to my editor and pattern tester. I hope this doesn’t sound like work to you. It’s very exciting! So many designs happen this way by accident! Translating a class topic into ideal practice swatches for students is creatively inspiring

    For the Steeked Tunisian Lace class I designed a few short practice swatches that build on each other. It’s inspiring to compare these three basic ways to crochet the lacy extended stitch net: with 1 yarn (Seshen is a great example), or alternating 2 yarns (Mesmer Scarf), or the double-ended hook variation (á là Maze Vest). In class we’ll then have practice swatches to steek!

    Why this May 31 deadline?

    • It gives my editor enough time to go over the three new handouts. It also gives me time to incorporate her revisions without feeling rushed.
    • My close friend Annie arrives from Kentucky in two weeks. I can’t wait to see her! I don’t want to be mulling class handouts while she’s here.
    • The UPS truck is going to pull up one of these days and deliver five new colors of our Lotus yarn! I want to be able to turn my full attention to that when it happens! (You’ll know it because I’ll blog it.)
    • It’s for the best that I expect that the conference will sneak up on me. It always does. Plus, this is the first year I’ll have a booth while teaching. 
    • May 29th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Slip Stitch Crochet Hearts Free Pattern

    Slip Stitch Crochet Heart, reverse sc border, for my Slip Stitch Shaping Class 2014.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).

    Slip Stitch Crochet Hearts: Chart for free pattern

    Chain 4.

    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.

    Before edging. Slip Stitch Crochet Hearts: free pattern 2016.

    This is how it looks after quick blocking and before edging it with a round of slip stitches.

    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.

    • February 12th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Simple Pleasures Crochet Bling Bangles

    Crochet *Bling* Bangles: My Cheerful Distraction

    I’ve had several stressful challenges this month. Each evening I curl up with super sparkly yarn, crochet hooks, and simple stitches. I go to bed in a merry mood and drift asleep picturing other stitches or color combinations to try.

    As I described in yesterday’s post, these slip-on crochet bling bangles are based on the simplest ribbing stitches. The red one is rows of single crochet in the back loop only (outside of the USA it’s a double crochet). The silvery one in progress is rows of slip stitch in the back loop only.

    * Twinkly * sequined * ribbing * is very satisfying.

    I added sequined carry-along metallic threads to my yarn stash months ago. Now is the perfect time to crochet a *bling* strand of Premier Yarns Enchant with a strand of…my Lotus yarn! I chose Lotus for its cheerful colors that can stand up to all the bright bling action.

    I also chose Lotus because it’s sport weight: once you crochet double-stranded (with two strands of yarn held together), you naturally make thicker stitches. I didn’t want super thick stitches for these small crochet bling bangles. The Enchant bling yarn is slightly thinner (“fingering weight”).

    The yarn math: Add 1 sport strand + 1 fingering strand and you get “DK wt,” a.k.a. “light worsted.” A G-7 (4.5 mm) hook is a good all-purpose size to use for this weight.

    Sequin Management for Crochet Bling Bangles

    Sequins can get in the way while crocheting. Fun crochet means being able to pull loops through loops smoothly, but sequins can catch on a loop, slowing things down. Pairing a thick enough yarn with a bling strand can buffer or neutralize the sequins. To me, “thick enough” means it matches the diameter of the sequins. The tiny sequins in the Enchant yarn match the thickness of my Lotus yarn; the Lotus gives the stitch loops smooth passage through other loops. Result: the sequins are only piling on more joy. No interruption of the joy.

    The Right Kind of Stretchy for Crochet Bling Bangles

    One last thing I considered is how stretchy each yarn is. The bling yarn (Enchant) has zero elasticity. I expected this, but I don’t know its strength and durability yet. So to reduce the stress that could be put on the Enchant strand, I avoided stretchy yarns like wool. Lotus has no stretch either, so these two yarns are nicely matched for this. Lotus won’t let my crochet project stretch more than the Enchant strand will, so both yarns will share the wear and tear equally.

    By letting the ribbed crochet stitches provide all the necessary stretchiness of a slip-on bangle, I can use whatever yarns I wish.

    • December 18th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Slip Stitch Crochet Class Resources

    This clickable list of slip stitch crochet resources is mainly to aid students of my classes in exploring more about Slip Stitch Crochet at their leisure. (If you have not yet taken any of my slip stitch classes, I hope someday I’ll meet you in one of them!) You’re welcome to enjoy the links below whether you’ve taken the classes or not. They represent the extra information that doesn’t fit into a standard three-hour class. Some are the names of designers, books, other types of slip stitch crochet, etc., that I may have mentioned in a class.

    Below I also include a complete list of my downloadable slip stitch crochet patterns. In my classes, I show a huge amount of published and unpublished crochet designs to illustrate the stitches we learn in class, and what they can look like when they get dressed up for a party!

    Please bookmark this page and check back again. I’ll be updating it with more information as it develops.

    (Coming soon) You might also be interested in the pages I’m creating for my other class topics:

    I wish to specially thank Diane Moyer, Shari White, the Brown Sheep Yarn Company, and Chiaogoo.

    — Vashti Braha

    Slip Stitch Crochet Class Resources

    Page of my published Slip Stitch Crochet patterns at my Designingvashti.com website. (Also see my pattern shop at Ravelry.com)

    Page of my not-yet published Slip Stitch Crochet projects in Ravelry

    Back issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations newsletter that focus on Slip Stitch Crochet:

    Slip Stitch Crochet Overview article at my Designingvashti.com website

    Foundation Slip Stitch Photo Tutorial at my Crochet Pattern Companion Blog

    Slip Stitch Crochet group in Ravelry (free, open to all)

    Finnish blog post at Hillevisthreads (in English) about Bosnian Crochet

    Slip Stitch socks of the Pamir people at CrochetInsider.com

    James Walters’ Bosnian Crochet fabric images

    Inverse Slip Stitches

    David Burchall’s A Yarnified Life SSC blog

    “Inverse” stitches in regular crochet:

    Slip Stitch Crochet Books of Interest

    1. Tanja Osswald’s Kettmaschen (in German)
    2. Nancy Nehring’s Learn Slip Stitch Crochet and Slip Stitch Caps: http://amzn.to/zfRLYS
    3. Bendy Carter’s Knit 1 Purl 2 in Crochet.
    4. Dora Ohrenstein’s designs and articles in Interweave Crochet magazine, Fall 2010 and Winter 2011 issues.


    • July 10th, 2012 by Vashti Braha

    Newest Crochet Design: Undaria Flutter Scarf

    This is the first blog post using a new feature here at my DesigningVashti website headquarters: I can blog right here at my own website.

    I have some design news. The downloadable crochet pattern for Undaria is being tech-edited now. This means it will be available just after Thanksgiving, most likely this Monday, Nov. 28. You can see several wearing styles in the meantime, all possible with the same pattern:

    I really enjoyed designing and crocheting this exciting shape.

    The next pattern after Undaria will be the Thaxton Hooded Cowl. Both of these designs are cozy new ways to use crochet slip stitches. The short rows keep them interesting.
    …and now to see how this new kind of blog post looks!

    • November 23rd, 2011 by Vashti Braha

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