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Stitch Pattern Spin-Offs from Eilanner

A "spin-off" stitch pattern from Eilanner design, here tested in tencel thread and draped on a mannequin
This is the gauge swatch from the new Eilanner Shawl pattern, but I used tencel thread and a giant hook for kicks. So airy! It inspired me to try draping it on a mannequin different ways. View full size.

 

I released a new Tunisian crochet pattern the other day. There’s a lot going on in it! I think of the design as containing modules of mini-patterns. Some of them hint at new stitch patterns.

Seeds of New Stitch Patterns

Often if you change one thing about a stitch pattern you can get a whole new effect that’s cool enough to count as a new stitch pattern. (This would be a good newsletter issue, come to think of it…) Here are some I swatched while Eilanner was being edited, and the things I changed to generate them. I posted them to Instagram.

Change the Yarn and/or Gauge

An obvious way to get a new effect with a stitch pattern is to use a dramatically different crochet hook size, or yarn thickness/fiber type, or all of these (as in that first image above). Super summery look! Reminds me of tall grasses.

There’s something else going on with it too: it’s really just a gauge swatch pattern. The skill level for Eilanner is Experienced. Getting the exact gauge is not important for the pattern but I thought it would help some crocheters to focus on just the main stitch pattern without the fancy edging at both row ends and the constant increasing.

Know what else started out as “just a gauge swatch”? Fish Lips Scarf-to-Shrug!

By the way, if you’re interested in Eilanner but worry it’s too challenging, work up to it with its predecessors. Shakti is like “Eilanner 101” and Islander is “Eilanner 102”. (I named Eilanner after Islander.)

Repeat a Special Stitch Group All Over

Another way to do a stitch pattern spin-off is take a stitch group and repeat that. Here’s Eilanner’s “tattoo flower” eyelet group repeated as an all-over motif.

This right here is a fraction of the possible new stitch patterns to generate this way! For example, the eyelets could be grouped differently, or stacked in columns instead of spread out in an alternating way. Moving eyelets around is an art form in itself.

I haven’t even tried sprinkling in stitch texture contrasts. Have a look at what happened when I added a similar stitch texture: love knots!

I woke up this morning with another idea for a stitch pattern that will probably show up in Instagram once I swatch it up. (The way Instagram displays images helps me contemplate designs.)

Isolate One Key Stitch

Not every stitch pattern has a key stitch to isolate. Eilanner does, though: the shallow-extended stitch I blogged about last week. The swatch below is pretty rustic and it’s not easy to see what is different about the stitch, but have a look.

It’s kind of loose so that I can see what the stitch texture is doing. I chose Icelandic wool for this because I love that the shallow-extended stitch is like a reversible and non-curling version of Tunisian Knit stitch.

If you like seeing my experimental swatches, follow me in Instagram where I tend to post them first. And please tell me what you like or don’t about them! It inspires designs and class topics.

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Crochet Beginners’ Tip: Slip Stitch Fake Facts

Beginner Crochet tip: tune out the fake facts still being circulated about our most basic and versatile crochet stitch, the slip stitch!

About Today’s Tip for Crochet Beginners

I’m going to unpack that “outdated advice” part in the tip pictured above.

For reasons I still haven’t figured out, misconceptions and outright errors (“alternative facts”?) about slip stitches are still repeated uncritically in English-language crochet books.

This has been going on for decades. Think about how it affects whole generations of crocheters. It’s the only reason it took me 30 years to try crocheting a whole swatch of just slip stitches. I was immediately smitten. My first slip stitch design was the 2004 Pullover Shrug (the cropped purple top I’m wearing in the tip above).

I have distilled every fake fact about slip stitches into the following four sentences, below. I begin my Slip Stitch Crochet 101 classes with them so that we can deal with them head on.

Can you spot all the unhelpful advice?

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

(I underlined the fake facts to help you.) This false information discourages crochet beginners and all crocheters from exploring only slip stitches, not other basic stitches. Why? It’s not because slip stitches are tricky for beginners. It’s the most basic crochet stitch of all, along with the chain stitch! In my classes, the experienced crocheters struggle more—but that’s just due to the years of misinformation.

The more I explore slip stitch crocheting, the more insight I get into all crochet. This is why I want every crocheter to know about it. (The things you can make are also awesome.)

New Rules About Slip Stitches

1. Think of slip stitches as a group of stitches.

Lattice textured border of a 100% slip stitch crochet mobius "Bosnian" style (in rounds with no turning).
“Bosnian” crochet: slip stitches crocheted in the round with no turning.

Slip Stitch Crochet is actually a whole technique. When you know this, you can retain what you learn about them easier. It also spurs innovation, and aids pattern writing. I use the abbreviation SSC, as do others in the international SSC community.

Slip stitches look, feel, and behave very differently when crocheted with turning or without (“Bosnian”), and in just the front or back loop or both (or between stitches!). Invert them or twist their loops for more slip stitch types.

2. Go up at least two crochet hook sizes to crochet them loosely. 

Big-hook slip stitch is especially fun! Start with your bounciest wool yarns. 

3. 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.

A slip stitch 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 sometimes closes a picot better with some yarns or for certain patterns. For seaming, sometimes alternating a slip stitch or single crochet with a chain-1 is better. (I also like to use inverted slip stitches for seams.)

4. Slip stitches clearly have height.

How odd that it needs to be stated. The simple evidence is the heaps of very wearable scarves and sweaters. You should see the overflowing table of them that I bring to classes!

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. (This is the case for single crochet too.) 

Yes, you can even crochet around the post of a slip stitch.

Please Don’t Wait Like I Did.

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!

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Happy [inter-]National Crochet Month

This is my Crochetville NatCroMo blogging day.

Larger wrap size of DJC Curaçao Wrap in Emerald Deep Lotus yarn
New pineapple crochet lace wrap pattern for Lotus by Doris Chan in Emerald Deep Lotus yarn.

Thanks for stopping by! It’s certainly a big weekend for us crocheters.

Tomorrow is a very green holiday (St. Patrick’s Dayso check out our DesigningVashti Lotus yarn in the new Emerald Deep color. This is a rich, satisfying, inspiring green to take you from winter to spring.

Want to feel warm and cozy quickly? 

I’ve just returned from teaching “Big-Hook Slip Stitch Crochet” in icy Chicago. I urge everyone to gather up their jumbo crochet hooks and super bulky yarns! Some of my slip stitch projects take only an hour or two this way.

Expedient Cowl Took Only Two Hours to Make.

Beginner slip stitch crochet with a big hook!
Cozy Expedient Cowl: Use beginner slip stitches and a big hook. (Add a third ball and more rows for a trendy skirt!)

Warm up a big hook (size P/11.5 or 12 mm) for this toasty, speedy item. I named it “Expedient” because it took me just two hours tops to make one during LAST year’s surprise cold snap.

No super-bulkies handy? Create your own: just crochet with multiple strands held together of whatever’s in your yarn stash.

Tip: throw in at least one strand of alpaca or angora. These fibers are four times warmer than wool. Add a yarn with a halo like mohair, or a textured novelty yarn, to fill in any gaps between stitches.

Set of 5 Big Crochet Hooks: Perfect for NatCroMo

Set of 5 sizes of jumbo wood crochet hooks, and the crocheted "bucket" caddy for them showing the base that's reinforced by crocheting around a recycled plastic ring.
It’s displayed in my studio and I use it all the time now.

Be ready for the next cold snap with this set of five jumbo crochet hooks—sizes Q, R, S, T, and U—bundled with a free Big Hook Bucket pattern. (It’s already at a discount as a kit so I’m unable to discount it further for NatCroMo readers, sorry.) You can buy these crochet hooks individually here.

Armed with these hooks you’ll also be ready for when I release these new Big-Hook Slip Stitch crochet patterns (links currently go to their Ravelry project pages):

Zumie Lace Vest  I used a size S (19 mm) hook for most of it. This one-skein lace item took only 45 minutes to crochet. Yarn: the fun Hikoo Zumie by Skacel.

SS-Luscious Sampler  Size 12 mm (“P”) crochet hook and two skeins of luscious Berroco Noble.

Pink kitty-ears hat with only 95 yds and an M/9 mm hook. It’s simple back loop slip stitch in rows, then seamed on the top and side. It came out smallish on me and perfect on my friend (she kept it!). No yarn left over so I’m mulling a way to get a slightly more out of about 95 yds of yarn for this.

Slip Slab Neckwrap  It was the first prototype for the Expedient Cowl. I needed only 168 yards and a P/12 mm hook.

Also: Happy Spring Break!

Does it start this weekend for your family? My son’s starts this afternoon.

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Crochet Cable Boot Cuff Pattern in Progress

Lucky Twist Bootslip folded over boot top

New Crochet Cable Boot Cuff Pattern!

The Lucky Twist Boot Cuff in action!

A few days ago I sent out issue #65 of my Crochet Inspirations newsletter: “Mock Cables in Slip Stitch Crochet.” I’m getting questions from readers about the dark brown crochet cable boot cuff photo (shown below). I crocheted that one in November 2012. The gray striped one is fresh off the hook.

The 2012 brown one is actually a prototype of the new crochet slip stitch Lucky Twist Mitts. It’s my newest downloadable pattern. A matching Lucky Twist crochet cable boot cuff pattern is almost finished.

Update: The boot cuff pattern is done!

The early brown Lucky Twist swatch helped me test lots of things. For example, how stretchy the limp five-ply merino yarn would be as a mitt (not enough). How much to taper the ribbed edge with short rows. I wondered about the speckled dyeing and overall dark brown tones.

As I mentioned in the newsletter, I had to dramatically brighten these photos just so that the cabled stitch textures would show up! So in real life I’d need to be standing in full sunshine to see the cabled surface texture in a dark brown yarn. The short amber color flecks are pretty, but they distract a bit from the cables.

First swatch of Lucky Twists Boot Cuffs pattern

This was also the first boot cuff prototype I’d ever crocheted. So I learned about:

  • Finished dimensions for a good crochet cable boot cuff pattern.
  • Stitch surface textures and yarn colors that show up well on that area of the body. (Lighter colors help.)
  • Should one or both edges of a boot cuff taper? (I prefer it tapered at one end only.)
  • How much yarn and time does it take to crochet boot cuffs? (About as long as crocheting just 14 inches of a scarf!)
  • Thickness of yarn and of stitches that fit inside the boot top. (Medium weight yarn seems fine for the boots I own.)
  • Folded, unfolded, scrunched. All ways are fun!

Crochet Boot Cuffs, 2012 and beyond

Back in 2012, crochet boot cuffs were such a new trend that they might have just been a one-season fad. That November I traveled to northern Illinois to teach a crochet retreat. It was a boot-wearing opportunity that I don’t often get here in Florida.

It was in Illinois that I started the brown crochet cable boot cuff pattern prototype. I’d be able to test how much warmth they add, and if I enjoy wearing them.

I discovered that crochet boot cuffs feel great! I wore them over dark tights with skirts. They stayed put. I enjoyed wearing them all ways – scrunched, folded over the boot, and unfolded. Down low into the boot or up near the knee. I did find that I wanted longer ones that covered more of my legs for warmth.

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Not Tunisian Crochet Stitches: a Converted Filet Swatch

This is the first of 3 blog posts on the release of a new Tunisian crochet pattern. The 2nd is here and the third is here.

I used no Tunisian crochet stitches for the swatch on the left only.

Instead, I used single crochet, double crochets, and chains. (US abbreviations: sc, dc, and ch. Outside of the US: dc, tr, ch). The chs and dcs create lacy open spaces in the style of filet crochet. I alternated each filet row with a row of sc. Not traditional for filet crochet, but it does follow filet logic. (This is one reason I wanted to swatch it; see this newsletter issue about a similar experiment.)

Not Tunisian crochet stitches vs Tunisian crochet (filet-style Aeroette Scarf)
No Tunisian crochet stitches at left, converted from the Tunisian crochet Aeroette scarf at right.

The sc rows give the spaces thicker top and bottom “walls” around the spaces. This matches the thicker side “walls” created by the dc pairs.

This stitch pattern is converted from the Warm Aeroette Scarf on the right, which is 100% Tunisian crochet stitches. I was curious to see how much these two would differ in looks, surface texture, and drape.

Single Crochets versus Tunisian Crochet Stitches

The first thing I notice about the left swatch is the single crochets. Specifically, the backs of them. They’re raised, bumpy, and have a distinctive look. To me they emphasize a horizontal grain of the left swatch.

Unlike the rows of Tunisian crochet stitches on the right, I turned after every row of the left swatch. We’re looking at the right side of a dc row alternated with a wrong side of a sc row. The bumpy sc backs also cause the dc rows to recede a bit. This adds to the effect of the sc rows standing out, almost ridge-like.

This effect is mostly absent from the Tunisian swatch on the right. Its surface is uniformly flatter. Tunisian crochet stitches do have their own horizontal texture. They get it from the return passes – that second part of a complete Tunisian row when you crochet the loops off of the hook. In this pattern, the return pass textures are no more raised than the vertical stitch textures created during the forward passes.

Differences I’m Not Seeing

I expected to see a difference in how the yarn’s color changes look, but I don’t really. Maybe the swatch on the left needs to be much bigger. I also expected the Tunisian one to drape more. Perhaps it doesn’t because this is wool, and the hook size is smaller than I usually use for lacy Tunisian crochet stitches. I used a G-7 (4.5 mm) hook. For the non-Tunisian swatch I used a G-6 (4 mm) crochet hook.

The Warm Aeroette Scarf on the right is the next pattern I’ll be adding to the shop. I’ll announce it in my newsletter. You can also track its project page in Ravelry.