Double crochet stitch, tension and joining pieces
Double crochet stitch (US single crochet)
Double crochet is probably the most commonly used stitch; it is hard wearing and durable and the fabric produced has a dense, sturdy feel. It is a very good stitch to use for things for the home, such as cushion covers and blankets. The abbreviation for this stitch in a pattern is dc (sc in the US).
To work the first row, make a foundation chain to the required length, adding 1 chain to allow for turning. Insert your hook into the second chain below the hook.
* With the hook facing forward, pass the hook under the yarn so that this crosses over the hook.
Rotate the hook counterclockwise until it faces down, in order to catch the yarn. Draw the yarn through the chain stitch so that there are two loops on the crochet hook.
By rotating the crochet hook as before, catch the yarn again and draw the yarn through both loops on the crochet hook.
One complete double crochet stitch has been made. To continue, place the hook into the next foundation chain and repeat from *.
When you were a child, you were probably taught to write in the same way as your fellow students. However, even though the formulation of each letter was constructed and taught to you all in the same manner, the style of writing that you eventually adopted almost certainly varied from person to person within your school class. If you assume this thinking in terms of crochet it's obvious that although everyone may all be formulating the stitches in the same way, each person will achieve a fabric that is unique to them.
One of the main reasons you end up with these distinctive fabrics is the tension (or gauge). Achieving an incorrect tension could mean that your project comes up the wrong size and that the drape/feel of the fabric created is either inconsistent,
- Working a tension swatch
Before you start a crochet project, it is advisable to work a small swatch to measure the tension. This means the number of stitches and rows that you achieve to a pre-defined measurement — usually a 10cm (4in) square. In some cases you may be asked to count pattern repeats within a set area rather than individual stitches, but either way the crochet pattern should give you an ideal tension.
It is advisable to work a few more stitches and rows than the pattern tension instruction suggests, so a true tension is achieved within the square.
Using the correct hook, yarn and stitches for the project, make a tension swatch then use a metal ruler to measure 10cm (4in) horizontally across the square. Mark this length with a pin at each end.
Do the same vertically. Count the number of stitches and rows between the pins.
- Adjusting tension
If you find that you have more rows or stitches than the pattern suggests, then the tension is too tight and you should switch to a larger hook. If there are fewer stitches or rows, then switch to a smaller size.
Working a spiral cylinder using double crochet
When using stitches with shallow posts - such as double crochet - you can work the cylinder in a spiral. Working in this stitch means that you do not need to complete each round with a slip stitch or start a round with a chain to reach the height of the stitch.
Make a chain to the required length, making sure it is not twisted. Work a slip stitch into the first stitch to form a ring. Work one round of stitches into each chain. Join the round by working a slip stitch into the first stitch made.
Insert a stitch marker into the last stitch made. Work another row, working a new stitch into every stitch of the previous round.
At the end of the round, do not work a slip stitch into the first stitch of the previous round but continue in a spiral by working into the first stitch of the round and replacing the marker in the new stitch to mark the end/beginning of the round. Continue in this way, replacing the marker at the end/beginning of each round until piece is the required length.
Joining pieces with double crochet
Some crochet stitches can be used to join crochet pieces once complete, or you can join pieces using crochet stitches as you work the piece, which is especially effective when joining blocks.
Crocheting along a top seam is quick and easy; where possible, join stitch for stitch. If the stitch count differs between the pieces, then decrease by working stitches together where needed.
Hold the two crochet pieces together with right sides facing inwards and the top seams running parallel to each other. Place your left index finger between the two pieces to open the seam. Insert the hook through a stitch on the front piece then through its corresponding stitch on the back piece. Draw the yarn through from the reverse of the work and complete a stitch.
The content on this page is taken from Ultimate Crochet Bible, published by Collins & Brown.
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