Scalloped cast on

f5666752-2

I saw a link to a phototutorial for making this cast on on Pinterest, so I tried it out for knitting and Tunisian crochet.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? I wish I could credit the original instructions for it; the page linked from Pinterest was using photos that had a watermark for a Russian LJ blog, but I couldn’t find the original there, either.

Summary:

  1. Using a long-tail cast on, cast ten stitches onto a knitting needle and crochet hook held together.
  2. Yarn over the crochet hook, and pull the loop through those ten stitches, holding the hook against the needle so it doesn’t catch on anything.
  3. Slip all ten stitches off the knitting needle.
  4. Slip the new stitch from the hook to the needle.
  5. Slip the original tenth stitch back onto the needle and pull on the yarn to create a scallop.

This all creates two stitches for now, but you’ll add three more on the next row, so each scallop counts as five stitches cast on. Repeat as desired and turn.

I picked up and knit a stitch from the corner of the end scallop, and liked the effect.

This is as shown in the tutorial: knit one of the cast on stitches, then cast on three stitches. (I like to do three yarn overs and then knit through the back loops on the next row to twist them, as in my blog post about dealing with multiple yarn overs.) Knit the second cast on stitch and repeat to the end.

Since I’d picked up and knit a stitch from the corner of the end stitch, I did the same at this end, so it would match.

I thought I’d try it with Tunisian crochet, and it came out beautifully. Where the knit version has a larger knitting needle and smaller crochet hook, I switched things around for the Tunisian crochet since the stitches needed to end up on the hook.

f5702528-2

Each scallop has two loops. Work the first loop you come to as usual, then chain two (where the knit version of this has cast on three) then work the next loop. Work to the end, and voila!

f5738496-2

A trick for making long-tail cast on looser

(Good for Tunisian crochet as well as knitting.)

Some people will tell you to do a long-tail cast on with a larger needle or with two regular needles doubled up.

f5386944

Then pull out the extra needle. But why? Doesn’t that mean you’ll just end up with loose stitches but the bottom part still tight?

f5454976-2

Well, have a look at this:

f5466816-2

If you stretch the stitches out as far as they’ll go, you might hear a quiet pop-pop-pop! (Don’t worry; nothing broke.)

f5478848-2

When you let the stitches relax, look what happens. The bottom part has moved up into the stitches, kind of shortening them, and the whole thing is more relaxed. It will only work up to a point, but it’s a lot better than you might think.

Let’s have a look at the same thing in Tunisian crochet.

f5491584-2

I used a knitting needle with my Tunisian hook because it would be harder to pull another hook out.

f5593920-2

Here you can see how much less squinchy that first row of looks than in this photo where I didn’t use this technique:

20130317-150821.jpg Ta-dah!

Loosen those knots

In both knitting and crochet, there are a number of places where one begins a piece by making a slip knot and then working a stitch into it. This is all very well and good, except that knots can be irritating and can wear badly.

A few years back, my friend Harena showed me a trick for starting a crochet chain without one, and ever since then, I’ve mostly given up on slip knots for both crochet and knitting.

Well, not exactly. It turns out that the trick is to avoid tightening the initial loop of the slip knot and treat it as a stitch in its own right. It works a treat, regardless.

Continue reading

Knitting cast-ons and Tunisian crochet

In my playing around with Tunisian crochet, mostly in the form of swatches, I’ve fallen in love with using knitting cast-ons instead of the usual crocheted base chain. (I really dislike the usual crocheted chain. I have trouble getting a good gauge.)

There are lots and lots of knitting cast-ons in the world. I’m going to show you what Tunisian crochet looks like with three of them, and then I’m going to show you a different experiment. I’m not going to explain how to do them, because there’s a lot of good introductory material out there. I will link to videos elsewhere; just imagine that there’s an afghan hook there instead of a knitting needle.

There are some things I’m not entirely happy with in these swatchlets. However, I learned from my mistakes, and so I’m going to share both the mistakes and my thoughts about them. Learning is never wasted!

First up, the long-tail cast-on (here’s the video at knittinghelp.com):

20130317-150821.jpg(click on the pictures in this post to make them bigger)

This swatch shows two rows of Tunisian crochet, including the cast-on row. That first row looks a little squinchy, doesn’t it? It’s tight and stiff. If I were to do this again, I would use a larger hook for that first row.

I like the way the edge looks like a twisted rope, just as it does in knitting.

Next up, a different kind of long-tail cast-on, often called Twisted German (video at knittinghelp.com):

20130317-150816.jpgAgain, that’s two rows of TSS; a bigger hook would probably help that first row a lot. It works well for me to use a larger needle in casting on that row for knitting when this sort of things happens.

Thirdly, a cable-cast on (video at knittinghelp.com).

20130317-150827.jpgI used a larger hook to help me work the stitches (you’ll need an extra hook or knitting needle to form the stitches on your afghan hook). You can see that this made a huge difference.

I do like the way this looks like a braided edge. This edge would actually be the back of the cast-on row for knitting, and this is an artifact of this not being a long-tail cast-on. The solution to this is to purl the stitches instead of knitting them as you’re casting on. You’ll see this in the next example.

I was reading the Tunisian Crochet group on Ravelry, where I saw someone suggest using a foundation base chain for Tunisian instead of the usual crochet chain. I thought that was an excellent idea. And then, wait a minute, why don’t I try using a knitted cast on for a row of Tunisian and then use that as a base for regular crochet?

Hence this next swatch:

20130317-150833.jpgI used the cable cast-on, only purling instead of knitting my way across. I kept the larger hook for working the stitches, and am I glad I did! It’s not very stretchy compared to the crochet stitches.

I like this a lot, regardless, and might prefer it to a foundation base chain for regular crochet in certain circumstances. I might try making the afghan hook larger as well; I think the return chain is what’s making the cast-on tight.

There you have it! I will probably return to this theme in future posts. I have some ideas for other knitting cast-ons that might be interesting with Tunisian crochet, and therefore interesting as a foundation for regular crochet as well.

I’d also love to see what you come up with!

Eno Twist – an unusual decrease

eno twist

Here, at last, is the unusual double decrease I unvented for a shawl that I’m in the midst of writing up. The shawl is called Eno River, and so I called this the Eno Twist, because the abbreviation got a little unwieldy otherwise: SSTSKPSSOYO2K3tog? Yeah, I don’t think so.

This is not a usual sort of double decrease. A normal double decrease takes three stitches and turns them into one. This one takes six stitches and turns them into four. Only two stitches are decreased, though perhaps I shouldn’t really call it a double decrease.

You won’t see this decrease in its original habitat until the Eno River shawl pattern is available, but it looks pretty nifty in a column as shown above, so maybe you’ll want to play around with it and use it for your own devices. Raglan decreases, maybe? Go for it!

Continue reading

for combination knitters: Double decreases

Or any other knitters whose stitches often sit like this on the needle:

20130216-092658.jpg

All the stitches here assume three stitches sitting on your needle like this:

20130222-100126.jpg

I’m going to put them in the same order as my previous post, but with different names. Be wary! If you’re looking at a pattern you got from someone else, you need to pay attention to the definitions used. Charts will be easiest to figure out, since you’ll see which way things are supposed to lean.

Continue reading

Double decreases, common and less so.

A double decrease is a technique used in knitting to knit three stitches together to make one; two stitches are decreased. There are six possible permutations of the three stitches involved; I’m only going to describe five, as the sixth is indistinguishable from its mirrored stitch.

If your stitches usually sit like this on the needle, wait for next week to avoid unnecessary frustration!
20130216-092658.jpg

All the stitches shown here assume a starting point of three stitches like this:

20130216-092707.jpg Continue reading

Picot cast on for Tunisian crochet

I was a knitter before I was a crocheter, and so it made sense to me to use knitting cast ons for my Tunisian crochet. Not that I’ve done all that much in the way of finished objects with Tunisian crochet yet (I keep playing with swatches), but the one I’m proudest of used Judy Becker’s Magic Cast on as the join between a Tunisian crochet sweater yoke and a knitted body. But I digress.

P2099572

A pretty cast on in knitting is the picot cast on, and I was wondering if it would transfer successfully to Tunisian crochet. The answer is yes, though it doesn’t look quite the same. (One could, of course, do a knitted picot cast on in the traditional way and then use it for Tunisian crochet, and then it would be identical.)

The first step is to cast five stitches onto your hook. I used the knitting on cast on for this swatch, but the cable cast on would also work.

You’ll need an extra crochet hook or knitting needle the same diameter or a smidge larger than your Tunisian hook.

First, put either a backwards loop or a slip knot on your Tunisian hook.

20130209-094400.jpg

Put your other hook through this stitch

20130209-094508.jpg

and pull a loop through. Slip this loop onto your Tunisian hook, leaving both hooks in the loop.

20130209-094700.jpg

Pull a loop through with the extra hook. Place this new stitch on the hook and continue until there are at least five loops on the Tunisian hook.

20130209-094824.jpg

Now, turn your hook around. If you had come to the end of a normal row of Tunisian stitches, you would work back all the way, right? In this case, you’ll work back so that two stitches are consumed.

Turn the hook around and cast on four more stitches.

Turn your hook and finish off two more stitches.

Repeat as desired. You can space the picots further apart by casting on more stitches between each picot so they’ll line up with a particular stitch pattern, if you like. You can also make the picots shorter or longer by making them take up fewer or more stitches.

Have you used knitting cast-ons for Tunisian crochet? What do you think about them?

Yarn every which way! The direction of yarn overs in crochet (with some comparisons to knitting).

Just when I think I’m getting a handle on things, something comes along and shakes me up. In this case, it’s a good thing, if seemingly simple. (Though sometimes things that seem simple, aren’t.) I’m talking about yarn overs.

Here is as craft-neutral an illustration of the subject as I can manage:

20130201-124554.jpg20130201-124603.jpg

A just-worked stitch on the needle/hook with a yarn over following it. The one above is the one that is “correct” for knitting, according to most instruction given in the US and Western Europe. (If the scare quotes give you the idea that I don’t agree that there is a single correct yarn over for knitting, you’d be right. But that’s a subject for another post.) The one below is the one that is “correct” for crochet, and it might in fact be the correct thing in many circumstances. I have yet to do any experimentation with basic crochet stitches, but I already know that it is not always correct in all circumstances.

PlanetJune has a discussion of yarn overs and unders which talks about correctness and shows a swatch in single crochet that shows a huge difference in results (though as June points out, the fabric has its own desirable characteristics). I’m going to have to play around with this myself.

So how did I become aware of the difference between the two?

As some of you know, I’ve been very sporadically working my way through some Tunisian crochet stitches from a Victorian era needlework book by S.F.A. Caulfeild. I wanted to publish another such post recently, but found myself baffled by a simple yarn over.

I was following the directions for this crochet stitch faithfully, or so I thought, and yet I couldn’t make it look like the picture. I looked at it more closely, and then I realized that the yarn over in the picture was wrapped in the opposite direction from what I was used to in crochet. Could that be the problem? It was. (I have yet to finish writing up this stitch pattern, but you’ll see it soon.)

Serendipitously, at around the same time I started muddling through this problem, I started reading Tuni C. Weaver’s posts on the topic of yarn overs, starting with this one.

This sent me looking for standardized terminology for the two wraps in crochet–why I thought there would be such, when there isn’t standard phrasing in knitting, I don’t know. However, I did end up finding phrasing that I’m happy to use for crochet, if not for knitting. The terminology that’s been presented that seems most descriptive is yarn under for the top one and yarn over for the bottom. In the former case, the yarn is brought under the hook before going over it, you see, and in the latter, the yarn is just brought over the hook and never goes under.

Some people refer to one yarn over as clockwise and the other yarn over as counterclockwise, but those terms can be confusing to people, because you have to remember which end of the tool you’re using to look along to define what’s clockwise.

Some knitters who’ve read a lot of geographical comparisons of knitting compare Eastern and Western knitting. I’ve used those terms in the past, but I think I’m inclined to give them up as being unhelpful, especially since East and West are such relative terms, and there’s plenty of US and European knitters who knit with “Eastern” stitch mount for at least half their stitches. I’m still looking for useful terminology for knitting purposes, for two reasons: first, the yarn under is far more common in knitting than it is in crochet, and everyone calls it a yarn over; many knitters have never had need for the crochet style yarn over. Secondly, I don’t think the yarn goes so obviously under anything when it comes to knitting.

I don’t have much more to say on the topic for now. What do you think?