Tag Archives: crochet

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 Loosen those knots

Linkety Link!

Encoding “Hug” in crochet stitches.


(click on any image to enlarge.)

I’ve been thinking about ways of making my secret code grids work for crochet, and I’ve got a few starting points here. I haven’t written them up as stitch patterns, though I think it should be possible to reverse engineer what I’ve done. Please feel free to ask if you’d like more information!

The first thing was to think about how to transfer the numbers into crochet.

The numbers I’m using for the letters of the word HUG are 12 33 11. These are the numeric equivalents of the letters, only counted in Base 6. For more on this, see my original secret code post on choosing numbers. As described in my posts back then, there’s a range of ways to make a layout to work with once those numbers are generated.

Continue reading Encoding “Hug” in crochet stitches.

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.


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.


Put your other hook through this stitch


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


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.


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?

Random fiber arts links, part 3

Random links. I’m going to be using my sewing machine again soon. Can you tell?

I’m afraid the extent of my interesting crochet links this week involves using a crochet hook to decorate knitting. I’m very much in favor of combining the two. 🙂

Make easy plaid (or vertical lines) on your knitting with a crochet hook and chain stitch.

Sew these ribbon holders, useful for headbands, or, you know, circular hooks or needles.

Sewing darts with a single thread in both sewing machine bobbin and needle. I must try this; human ingenuity is immense.

Popsicle stick rigid heddle looms for use with a simple backstrap loom setup.

Sewing narrow hems on the sewing machine.

Fancy Stitch (smocking)

A stitch from S.F.A. Caulfeild’s Dictionary of Needlework, p. 122, figure 221, rewritten.


This one reminds me more strongly of sewn smocking than the other Tunisian smocking stitches I’ve seen. (Though I am still new to this! So who knows what I’ve missed?) I also keep seeing the Greek letter pi in the stitches, which amuses me very much.

* * repeat the instructions between these until the end of the row.
YU yarn under; that is, bring the yarn forward under the hook, then wrap it around the hook.
TPS Tunisian purl. This video by Kim Guzman shows the maneuver:

TPS2tog instead of working the purl through one vertical bar, work it through the next two bars as if they were one bar.
TSS Tunisian simple stitch, also known as afghan stitch.

Make the foundation row as usual.

1. Work the first stitch as usual. *YU, TPS2tog* Work the last stitch as usual, and then chain back.
2. Work the first stitch as usual. TSS. *TPS2tog, YU* TPS. Work the last stitch as usual and then chain back.

Repeat these rows as desired.

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:


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?

Link round up

A website I found early on when I was learning to read crochet charts is MyPicot. It’s got an extensive guide to crochet chart symbols, with both UK and US terminology in the key, and a bunch of free crochet stitch patterns as charts. They seem to be branching out into knitting as well, and I’ll be interested to see how that section grows.

A good source for knitting stitch patterns and knitting abbreviation explanations is KnittingFool. There’s also sweater pattern generators, where you choose from a small set of very basic sweaters, plug in your gauge and the desired chest measurement, and it gives you the information to knit a sweater. You do have to be comfortable with not having everything spelled out, though. I haven’t used it myself; I mostly go here for the stitch patterns.

A nifty crochet stitch, which the Pinterest post I found it through says is called sunburst. The text is, I think, in Finnish, but it has a clear photo tutorial.

Avoiding ugly joins in crochet, when working in the round.

Awesome crocheted globe.