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Yarn Overs, Yarn Unders (Newsletter Overflow)

If an image is missing, view it herehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/vashtirama/

Close-ups of Yarn Overs, Yarn Unders, and Yarn-to-Front. If image is not displaying, go to https://flic.kr/p/DyV1A3

 

Yesterday’s issue 88 of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter had only enough room for yarn over highlights. Who knew I’d discover too much material for a newsletter?

Here’s the rest of the story.

More on Yarn Over Basics

I described the basics of yarn overs and yarn unders in the issue already, but that only goes so far. Yarn overs are actually kind of tricky—at least when you think about them and watch yourself in slow motion. I see this in classes. Yarning over is one our most ingrained habits. Prefer a video to the close-ups above? I like PlanetJune’s.

“Clockwise” Depends on Your Point of View

Mixed yarn overs in a foundation chain. If image isn't displaying, see it at https://flic.kr/p/DyXB97
This can also happen if the loop falls off the hook while crocheting the chains and twists before you place it back on the hook.

Another thing about yarn overs is the rotational movement. It would be easier to describe them if they were linear (just move your hook along a line from point A to B). Instead, we describe what the hook’s motion is, or focus on the yarn’s motion: a “yarn under” is also a “hook over”.

Some describe the motion as clockwise vs. counter (anti-)clockwise, which adds its own ambiguity. The motion your hook and yarn make for a yarn over is counterclockwise…IF you’re looking at it from the shaft end of the hook and IF you’re crocheting right-handed. The same motion suddenly appears clockwise if you watch it head on (from the head end of the hook).

Yarn Unders For Simple Stitches

I’ve swatched several kinds of familiar stitches with yarn unders instead of yarn overs. The stitch didn’t always look different, but in every case, it’s denser and tighter. I struggled at times to maintain an even gauge and to loosen up, depending on the stitch and yarn.

When I’ve preferred the feeling of using yarn unders, they seem lean and efficient, like taking a shortcut. It’s tempting to use yarn unders when finger crocheting and when completing reverse single crochets and loop/fur stitches.  I’m sure a large project with them uses up less yarn! Usually I prefer yarn overs though. I’m used to rhythm of it and the control they give me over my gauge. Sometimes they feel sort of “luxe” or fancy, compared to yarn unders.

Slip Stitches and Single Crochets

If you want to do the old style slip stitch crochet that is so dense it’s waterproof, use yarn unders!

The single crochet stitch (sc, or UK: dc) requires just two yarn overs and is visibly affected by changing just one of them to a yarn under. I expected to find yarn unders in Mark Dittrick’s Hard Crochet book on sculpturally stiff sc.

Change the first yarn over and you get sc with crossed or twisted fronts that look very much like my variation pictured here.The 1886 crossed stitch is significant to me because it was in the influential Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont. I’ve seen the same stitch repeated in other crochet books since. (I don’t know if it occurs before 1886.)

Change just the second yarn over and you get what Rebecca Medina‘s modified sc for tapestry crochet.

Here’s another interesting reason to use some yarn unders for your sc. In her Freeform Knitting and Crochet book, Jenny Dowde recommends alternating a yarn over with a yarn under when starting a surface sc. Doing this prevents the raised row of sc from slanting to the left or right.

Two other stitches that show off yarn unders nicely are half doubles (hdc or UK: htr) and love knots. See the issue for more on those. View the hdc swatch diagram from the issue in high resolution.

A newsletter subscriber mentioned to me that the designer Aoibhe Ni uses yarn unders for special texture effects in her lovely Tunisian crochet designs.

How Many Types of Yarn Overs?

Two crossed loops (half hitches) have been "cast on" at the end of a Tunisian forward pass row.
A method I used for the Five Peaks Shawl.

I think of yarn over types in terms of how to get more yarn on the hook for making stitches. So we have the two obvious types: wrap it one way (Yarn Over), or the other way (Yarn Under).

A third way to add loops to the hook is the crossed loop, which is a simple cast-on in knitting. It’s also a half hitch in macramé. This loop has a twist in one direction or the other, so there are actually two types of them. I used them for Tunisian crochet to increase stitches along one edge of the Five Peaks Shawl.

This kind of loop was the subject of one of my earliest newsletter issues: “A Very Different Kind of Crochet Stitch“. I love Sue Perez’ “Forward Loop Chain” blog post about them.

The yarn-to-front (ytf) shows at the top of this page with the two yarn over types even though strictly speaking it isn’t one. It’s easily confused with the yarn under.

The Yarn Over in other Languages

I found this handy information in the 1989 Vogue Dictionary of Crochet Stitches by Anne Matthews. Here are the non-English pattern equivalents listed for Yarn Over (US) and Yarn Over Hook (UK):

  • Jeté (French)
  • Umschlag (German)
  • Gettato, abbreviated gett (Italian)
  • Arrollado (Spanish)

One More Thing!

I mentioned Jane Rimmer in the issue because I want to make sure you know about her two-part article for CGOA’s Chain Link newsletter: “Yarn Over History and Technique” (Autumn 2014) and “Yarn Overs Part 2: Techniques” (Summer 2015).

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Crochet Tutorials – News

My crochet tutorials and tips (eventually all ten years' worth!) are now brought together under the "Learn" tab at the top of every page of the new DesigningVashti website.

All the Crochet Tutorials in One Place!

I set up a permanent home for my crochet tutorials and tips. Over the years I’ve posted some crochet how-to stuff on one blog and some on another. Still more are tucked away in newsletters, pattern PDFs, and class handouts. Eventually I’ll get all ten years of them under the “Learn” tab, which you can find at the top of every page of this new website. Huzzah! It feels so good to do this.

Crochet Tutorial Categories So Far

As you can see in the photo above, the Learn menu now has these two major categories:

  • Crochet Basics in Depth–For newer crocheters and anyone who likes a more thorough treatment of all things crochet. (My goal is always to write what I haven’t already read elsewhere.)

    Close up of two top loops of a row of crochet stitches slip stitches in this case), showing the distance and shape between the front and back loop of a stitch.
    From “Hook-Led Gauge“.
  • Beyond Crochet BasicsIf it’s something that might be considered an Intermediate skill or beyond, it goes here. Newer crocheters are welcome to use this section too. I try to connect each advanced or specialized topic directly to a basic crochet skill so that adventurous beginners can use some of it too.

Each category has a few how-to topics in them so far. Some will sound familiar to you if you’ve used my patterns or read my newsletters, such as “Hook-Led Gauge” in the Crochet Basics section and “When to Crochet BETWEEN Top Loops” in the Beyond Basics section.

Newly Updated

I’m rewriting each one—a little or a lot! Even if I’ve already posted a topic somewhere else. (I enjoy writing but it’s slow-going if I have to find the original images and optimize them.)

👉 “Crocheting the Love Knot Mesh” is so extensively revised that it’s now all new material.

Please let me know if you use one of my crochet tutorials here and the images are not clear enough. I’m still adjusting the image optimizing settings of this new site to get them truly…optimal.

Three More Tutorial Categories

I’ll be bringing back the Tunisian and Slip Stitch crochet sections that my old site had, but they had not been updatable for seven years. By the time I’m done revising them and adding lots of juicy tutorials, they might have nothing in common with the old ones! These will also be housed in the Learn menu:

  • The New Tunisian Crochet
  • Fun With Slip Stitch Crochet
  • Crocheting Jewelry

All three* are technique based unlike the first two that are purely skill based. The standard crochet skill level model tends to default to regular crochet, so these Tunisian and Slip Stitch categories should complement the skill categories neatly enough.

*Even though the jewelry crochet group is project based, I think of its tutorials as having a technique focus because it’s a specialized application of mostly regular crochet. (I don’t think my old site even had a page for crochet jewelry.)

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Wearing Crochet to a Memorial Service

Four views of Graven worn with its buttons in front or back.

I traveled over the weekend to attend a memorial service for the sudden death of a beloved uncle.

The chapel accommodates 280 people, and 360 attended. Fortunately the weather was ideal (around 80º and sunny) so that the building could be open on two (maybe three? sides. The overflow of people could sit comfortably outside and feel included.

I designed something specifically to wear to this event and had two weeks to make it. That includes all swatching, blocking, and any do-overs.

The Challenge: Accepted.

Wearing crochet to this event meant meeting three strict requirements.

The short, fixed deadline.

I had to rule out my very first idea: to crochet a Chanel-style jacket. Instead I started imagining something that would take two balls of yarn or less.

Result: The finished Graven weighs 108g (slightly over one 256-yd ball).

The second limit was its style and color.

The 3-button front Graven capelet and black dress and pearls.
A stop at Starbucks after the memorial.

Graven would have to be far more subdued than my default personal style, so I ruled out several initial ideas. It also had to be solid black; a challenge because that’s not what I tend to crochet. Sure, I often wear black clothing as a plain first layer that forms a background to a (sometimes crocheted) lighter-colored layer. I struggled at first to picture wearing crochet in solid black on a sunny Florida morning, not for evening, or in a northern office.

Result: I wore Graven all day. It was mostly easy and comfortable to wear, and felt elegant and proper style wise. I did have to adjust it periodically so that the buttons stayed centered. (I think this is because I accidentally increased some rows unevenly.)

It had to work with my dress and high heels.

The dress was a simple sleeveless deep V-front shift made of an inky black pima-modal fabric. Its surface had a woven linen look but it was actually a fine knit. Very comfortable to wear in Florida! It needed a dressy covering for the upper arms and chest though.

Result: Armed with these three requirements, I narrowed down my project to a fairly traditional shoulder covering, crocheted in a fairly tame lace stitch texture, with a polished-looking yarn that’s not too thin or thick: a capelet in Tunisian crochet with Lotus. (Our “Black Gleam” color matched the dress! whew.)

Other Requirements I Hoped to Meet

Half of the capelet shown flat along its hem while it blocks.
Half of the capelet shown flat along its hem while it blocks.

Learn something new about crochet: this was the first time I tried doing a Tunisian “wicker” mesh in short rows with a built-in shaped collar, and a distinctive twisted-loop edging at the hem.

Use yarn already in my stash, ideally my Lotus yarn. I try to feature a different Lotus color each time I design with it. This was the first time I designed with the black.

Try out a trendy style: The trend of using mesh textures in a modern, sort of sporty way inspired the stitch pattern. (The edging later added more of a medieval-ish wrought iron look.)

Give my handmade item the kind of polish that could even make someone wonder if it was a store-bought designer label. (I don’t know if this actually happened).

Wearing Crochet to Memorials

I’d do it again. It was a tangible comfort to me.

Although I don’t think I caught sight of all 360 people individually, I feel confident in saying that I was the only one wearing crochet, or even a hand knit item.

To me, fabric has a language, and crochet adds a necessary voice to the conversation, at memorials too. Time spent crocheting Graven was also time spent contemplating the uncle I will miss so much. Crochet caught and is holding my feelings for him.

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On the Hook: New Tunisian Crochet Design

Last week I started a new design that I need to wear soon. I’ll be attending a daytime memorial service in Florida. My plain black sleeveless dress just needs a light covering for my upper arms and chest. That’s why this project is in all black Lotus yarn. (It’s purely a coincidence that I’ll finish in time for Halloween tomorrow.)

Its tentative name is Graven because I first thought of raven’s wings, and it has an engraved-looking texture. I think the last all-black thing I designed was a 2007 mini skirt of single crochet for Caron yarns in their Simply Soft yarn.

Story—its Style and Texture

Early (earliest?) Wicker variation swatched
Early (earliest?) Wicker variation swatched.

The main stitch pattern is similar to one I created for Weightless and Liebling. I’ve planned to design with it for years. I chose short rows to shape it instead of steadily increasing in the round from the neck down, or gathering the neckline. This made it an interesting process.

Sleek black lace crew-neck capelet for daytime urban streetwear (Oct. 2016 Valentino ad for "Glamgloss" sunglasses)
Oct. 2016 Valentino ad for “Glamgloss”

A recent “Glamgloss” ad by Valentino inspired the design idea. Originally I was going to name it “Glaze” or “Lotus Glaze”. It evolved and now will probably be more of a capelet to be worn open in the front or closed in the back.

About the Edging

New Tunisian Crochet Mesh Design in Progress

Last night I tried out the edging you see here. It blocked overnight and today I’m very happy with how it resolved some issues.

Edging priorities:

  • Prevent flaring or ruffling at the hem
  • Add a bit of length because I made it too short for me
  • Give it a restrained but special design detail.

I hope it’s restrained enough! (I struggle with that.)

The stitch choices are very carefully picked to deal with how the hem hangs. This is my top priority because I feel like a little girl if something ruffles even slightly over my upper arms. Some of the stitches recede to create a subtle ribbing effect that pull the hem in just enough. I like the vertical texture they add.

The tiny twisted loops (the shortest I could make them) are actually energy coils that add resilience to the flexy rib, since this yarn has no wool or other stretchy fiber in it. The picots I tried didn’t do this. It’s also dense enough overall to weigh down the hem without the need for beads or a hidden chain.

Close up of the change in stitch pattern for the collar, in progress. These are twisted Tunisian crochet stitches in DesigningVashti Lotus yarn, "Black Gleam" color. (It's inky, glossy, deep black but doesn't look like it in this lightened photo.)
Close up of the change in stitch pattern for the collar, in progress. These are twisted Tunisian crochet stitches.

I first used a twisty loop edging for Aquarienne, my newest published pattern. For that design they’re beaded and a bit longer.

For the neck edge I used a different stitch pattern while crocheting the main piece. You’re looking at twisted Tunisian extended stitches. Interesting texture! I haven’t used them like this before.

As a Crochet Pattern

If/when I write up Graven as a downloadable pattern, it will be for an Experienced skill level and with a video. This is mainly due to what it’s like to do the main Tunisian mesh in short rows. Graven has a project page in Ravelry where I’ll post updates.

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Mamruana CAL “Wrap Up”

Sleeve cuff test for the Mamruana in progress.
Mamruana (unfinished): sleeve cuff test.

I put “Wrap Up” in quotes because this is a soft ending to a crochet along, not a hard one. In fact I remain inspired by some discoveries I made about it along the way. Plus, I can’t resist a pun.

It’s easy to imagine revisiting this CAL with a springtime project with CAL participants who also intend to start or resume their Mamruanas later.

Mamruana Evaluation Day

I’m going to do a behind-the-scenes evaluation of it as a crocheter of it (the process), wearer (the product), yarn provider (yarn brand choice), designer (art and craft of it), and pattern writer (is it patternable?).

Wearing the Ruana

Mine is in fall colors and I’ll be wearing it to parties here in Florida through the winter. It’s bigger and heavier on me than I expected, but not too much. It means I made a size Large to X-Large instead of a Small to Medium.

I will love dancing in it. It drapes beautifully and the colored diamonds flicker as it moves, vaguely like confetti.

As a Crochet Project

I really enjoyed crocheting it for three reasons:

  1. The half double stitches (hdc) are crocheted into spaces, not stitch loops (helps the crocheting pace). See the stitch close up below.
  2. The rhythm of color changes kept me looking forward to the next strip, with no color juggling or managing ends.
  3. Constructing this in MAM (“mile-a-minute”) strips gave me a satisfying feeling of completion and progress.

As a Design Idea

Mamruana crochet strips in other wearable shapes and striping.
Mamruana crochet strips in some other wearable shapes. Compare how the color stripes drape with first photo of the ruana.

Several inspiring discoveries here for the designer in me!

I love that you’re just crocheting little square patches in simple rows—so elementary—but they end up being diamonds on the bias. Changing the color of each strip adds a big visual effect to the drape. A ruana shape magnifies the effect because the sleeve sections also drape on the body at an angle.

Not only is a patch reversible, it’s rotatable! This excites me because it means a series of patches could be linked up while going in different directions and still look coolly consistent. Freeform-bitmappy, chic, powerfully versatile design-wise. A gazillion options are possible for other wearable shapes and kinds of projects. It’s like each patch is a fashionable “bit” for infinite design “pixels”.

Put a Cuff on It

I’m unreasonably inspired by putting sleeve cuffs on a ruana. I like how it feels to wear it, how it updates the look, and how easy it is to do. It’s a trendy effect I’ve wanted to explore since seeing it so much in Pinterest.

The Yarn Choice

Speaking as both a designer and a yarn provider, I’m very pleased with how the design and yarn go together. (I never really know if that will be the case.) YES I always want to have new crochet patterns for DesigningVashti Lotus yarn, and to show off new colors of it. For example, the new Orange Luxe color inspired the Mamruana.

Yarn-me will ask designer-me to tinker with the final pattern because it needn’t use quite this much yarn—approx. 525 grams or 1350 yds.

As a designer I always need a good design reason for choosing one yarn over another. So, of course I fantasize about other yarns too. Besides the sport weight (CYC #2) Lotus, I think thinner yarns (lace wt./CYC #0 and fingering/CYC #1) would be wonderful; I swatched some for the CAL. I keep picturing a wool or alpaca blend as a generous cowl, for example. What about fine crochet thread for a scarf, panels of a skirt, etc. Beads?!

My takeaways from using Lotus for this Mamruana:

  • Its sheen combined with its drape is key to the whole effect! (That “I want to wear it to holiday parties and dance in it” effect.) Check out the stitch close up at right.
  • For Lotus designs I tend to vacillate between using a G-6 and G-7 (4mm, 4.5mm) crochet hook size. I used a G-7 for Mamruana. For larger sizes at least, I’m thinking it should be a G-6. Probably not an F-5 (3.75m) but I’ll investigate.
  • The color range of Lotus is a significant element in its “just one more strip!” crocheting fun and visual impact. I’d need an inspiring color range in any yarn I use for this.

Mamruana as a Downloadable Pattern?

I’ve learned that you never know what it will be like to write up a design until you’re in too deep, but I’m not worried about this one. No red flags. Nothing that would require a video to be understandable. Unlike, say, a Bosnian color-pooled moebius.

It’s so Plus-sizable. Good Plus Size patterns are another thing I always want more of in my shop.

A nice thing about this CAL is that I wrote up the main pattern in sections and created visual aids as we went.