Crochet Workshop

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Overview


An outstanding resource for crocheters of all levels, this guide covers all aspects of stitches and technique. In addition to offering the perfect introduction to the craft, this versatile volume will also appeal to more experienced practitioners seeking to develop new design ideas. Crocheters are encouraged to explore their creativity and develop their own styles with detailed advice on planning, sketching, and adapting designs.
Starting with basic technique, Crochet Workshop ...
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Crochet Workshop

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Overview


An outstanding resource for crocheters of all levels, this guide covers all aspects of stitches and technique. In addition to offering the perfect introduction to the craft, this versatile volume will also appeal to more experienced practitioners seeking to develop new design ideas. Crocheters are encouraged to explore their creativity and develop their own styles with detailed advice on planning, sketching, and adapting designs.
Starting with basic technique, Crochet Workshop explains a variety of stitches as well as how to follow pattern instructions and handle materials and equipment. Scores of drawings, diagrams, and photographs illustrate suggestions for working with motifs, patchwork, crochet lace, jacquard and color work, surface and woven crochet, and free-working and finger crochet. The book includes tips for incorporating decorations and accessories, selecting yarns, making up and finishing, and after care. Helpful appendixes feature information on equipment and terms as well as conversion tables.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

A self-taught crocheter, James Walters is an expert in handspinning, natural dyeing, and experimental crochet and has produced crochet garment designs for yarn manufacturers.

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Read an Excerpt

Crochet WORKSHOP


By JAMES WALTERS

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1979 James Walters
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-78303-1



CHAPTER 1

Basic Technique


The Groundwork

What do you need?

To start with, just a 5.00mm crochet hook and a ball of light coloured double knitting yarn. Of course any hook and any yarn which fits the hook snugly will do, but a fairly large hook and a pale coloured smooth, non-feathery yarn make things easier to begin with. A pair of scissors is handy too. (For more detailed information on hooks and other equipment, see the Appendices at the back of the book.)


Lefthanders

If you read 'left' for 'right' and vice versa, you will be working a perfectly satisfactory mirror-image of what the righthanders are doing. Keep a mirror handy to check the drawings and stitch diagrams. Beware of the terms 'right side' and 'wrong side' of the work (see page 35)—they are the same for you as for righthanders.


Abbreviations

For the sake of brevity basic terms in crochet are abbreviated. In the main text the words will be spelled out in full and, to begin with, the abbreviations will follow in brackets, so that you can pick them up as you go along. When in doubt consult the full list on page 244. Relevant abbreviations are always given at the beginning of commercial pattern instructions, but before long you will know them all by heart anyway.


Diagrams

The diagrams in this book are mostly self-explanatory, but if you have any difficulty understanding the details of stitch diagrams, please refer to page 244. It pays to become familiar with this simple method of annotating crochet as a means of sorting out both other peoples' and your own original stitch patterns at the drawing board stage.

Note: The instructions in this book use British terminology for the names of the stitches. For the American equivalents, see the chart on page 244.


The Action

Crochet means making a succession of loops in a continuous thread with a hook. The right hand holds and works the hook; the left also holds the work and controls the supply of thread from the ball. Before you even pick up the hook, it is best to find out how the left hand works.

Left hand: Take the end of the thread between forefinger and thumb. Lead it over first and second fingers, under the third and round the little finger.

Allow the fingers to relax and curl up slightly. Make sure that there is plenty of unwound yarn from the ball. Then, releasing forefinger and thumb, pull the short end with the right hand, so that the thread slips continuously through the fingers, but also so that, whenever you like, you can hold and stop the thread running through your third and little fingers by squeezing. Release again, squeeze, release, and so on. When you can do this more or less without the thread constantly jumping off your fingers, stopping your circulation or giving you cramp, try this exercise: tie a small pair of scissors, or something of roughly the same weight, to the end of the yarn, arrange the thread around the left hand as before and repeat the movements.

You are simply flexing the left hand so as to make the thread pass in controlled stages from left to right, by stopping first at one side of the hand, then at the other. When you are actually crocheting, it is the working of the hook which takes up the thread. The middle finger is always kept in gentle tension against the loop of thread spanning the back of the hand, not only to ease the thread through, but also so that the hook has something positive to engage and pull against. In practice the flexing movements merge into one continuous action.

Do not spend too much time on the exercise, which is only to give you some idea of what should be happening.

Right hand: Hold the hook at the flattened part of the stem (or about 5 cm/ 2 in from the tip) like a pencil between forefinger and thumb just so that you can tap the end of the hook with the tip of your middle finger. Crochet movements are very much like writing in the air and just as the tip of a fountain pen must be turned round in a particular way in relation to the paper, if it is to write at all, so must the tip of the hook in crochet normally be turned on its side with the notch or hook facing you. The flattening on the stem not only defines the best place to hold the hook and makes continued holding of it for long periods more comfortable, it also keeps the tip at the best angle preventing 'twiddling', or rolling between the fingers, which should not be necessary for the majority of the movements.


Initial Slip Knot

Crochet starts with a slip knot at the beginning of the yarn which you make like this:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Pull up the short end to tighten the knot itself gently and on the supply thread to slide the knot up to the hook where it should be snug round the wide part of the stem. The slip knot disappears when you remove the hook and tug the short end.


Yarn Round Hook (yrh)

To make all the stitches in crochet the hook has to engage the supply thread, forming a new loop, which is drawn through the previous ones. In different patterns this action may be called 'yarn round hook (yrh)', 'yarn over hook (yoh)', 'wool round hook (wrh)', or 'wool over hook (woh)'. It will be called 'yarn round hook (yrh)' in this book. It means duck the tip of the hook under and round anticlockwise (lefthanders—clockwise) to catch the supply thread. All pattern instructions assume you will take the yarn round the hook in this way, but see page 83 for other ways.


The Stitches

Chain (ch)

The chain (ch) is the basis of all crochet stitches (sts) and a series of chains (chs) forms the foundation of most patterns—this is sometimes called the Foundation Chain or Base Chain.

Start with the slip loop. Take the knot in the left hand and arrange the thread round the left hand as before.

Raise left hand middle finger. Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through loop already on hook. You have made 1 chain (1ch) and there is a single new loop on the hook.

Remembering the original exercise, practise making a length of continuous chains (chs), shifting the left hand position after each one to bring the forefinger and thumb up close to the hook again. If this seems tricky, it may help to drop the righthand middle finger over the loop on the hook whilst you reposition the left hand. Presently you will only have to do this after every 3, 5 or maybe even more chains (chs).

You should aim for an easy and flowing rhythm, producing a stream of neat and even chains (chs). Every so often, try poking the hook into some of the earlier ones. If this proves difficult and the hook will not penetrate, you are working too tightly. This probably means the thread is not easing through the third and little fingers properly at the right moment: this in turn could mean that your control is not yet very good, or that your ball of yarn is stuck. Always make sure that there is some unwound yarn between the ball and left hand.

If on the other hand you could easily get two hooks at once into the same chain (ch), you are working too loosely. This probably means that your third and little fingers are not managing to stop the thread sliding through at all, the middle finger is not therefore able to make any tension and the hook is having to fish for the supply thread.

Perfection lies somewhere between. Do not bore yourself trying to achieve it yet, though; move on and learn how to do the other stitches (sts), then, if you still have problems, look at page 22.

You will discover that your length of chains (chs) unravels very smartly if you remove the hook and pull the supply thread. Because of its construction most crochet work unravels in this way right back to the beginning, or to where the last ball was joined in. To prevent this happening, cut the yarn a few centimetres (a couple of inches) away from the hook, draw the cut end through the last loop and tighten gently (see also Fastening Off, page 36).

Counting chains: Before you begin any particular piece of crochet, you must know the total number of chains (chs) to be worked (pattern instructions usually tell you; if they do not, see Chapter 3). Count them as you make each one. Do not count the initial slip knot, but count 'one' for the first actual chain (ch) made. When you think you have the right number, to make a check, keep the length of chain (ch) untwisted and count each set of links back to the beginning. Again do not count the loop which is still on the hook, but count 'one' for the first full set of links.

Inserting the hook into the base chain: You will notice that in each chain (ch) there appear to be three threads lying together. In order to make all the stitches (sts) that follow, you have to poke the hook through a previously made chain (ch). Always do this so that there are two threads above the hook and one thread below. Make sure the same side of your base chain is always facing you, otherwise individual chains (chs) will be difficult to identify.

Do not pull the base chain too tight lengthwise. Have your left hand forefinger directly behind the chain (ch) in question, to prevent it moving away from the hook, and to feel the tip of the hook coming through.

If the loop on the hook tends to slip off, drop your right hand middle finger onto it while you are finding the correct place to go in.


Slip Stitch (SS)

The slip stitch (SS), sometimes called Single Crochet (sc), is like a chain (ch), which is worked after you have poked the hook through another part of the fabric, or into one of your base chains first. For beginners working slip stitches (SSs) directly into a base chain is more difficult than any of the other stitches. Why not leave it until later, or practise it first by making some slip stitches (SSs) into some other piece of fabric altogether, such as the hem of an old sweater? Insert the hook, yarn round hook (yrh), draw the thread through the sweater and through the loop on the hook. That is a slip stitch (SS)—a chain (ch) with some other fabric caught up between the threads. You can make a row of slip stitches (SSs) along the hem of the sweater by repeating these movements.

The slip stitch (SS) is the shallowest stitch (st) in crochet, that is, it adds least bulk to what you have already done. Consequently it is not normally used alone as a fabric stitch (except see Belts, page 196), but as a means of joining the end of a row to the beginning in a circle (see page 30), or manoeuvering the hook from one part of the work to another invisibly without breaking off the yarn, or as a decoration in Surface Crochet (see page 139).


Double Crochet (dc) +

The double crochet is like a slip stitch (SS) with one extra step. The first row of crochet after the base chain—usually called the Foundation or Base Row—is very often worked in double crochet (dc), because it is firm and neat and makes an excellent edging. It is also useful for narrow contrast stripes (see page 147). As a complete fabric, however, it tends to be rather heavy and inflexible—not to say laborious to make—unless it is worked loosely on a large hook or with springy yarn. Double crochet (dc) can also be worked backwards (see page 190) as a decorative edging.


Half Treble (h.tr)

The half treble (h.tr) is like a double crochet (dc) with one extra preliminary step. It is slightly deeper than the double crochet.


Treble (tr)

The treble (tr) is like a half treble, but with one extra step. It is deeper again than the half treble (h.tr) and is the basic, utility stitch. It can be used solidly by itself, or in various combinations and arrangements to form groups, clusters, mesh and openwork effects (see Chapter 3).


Double Treble (d.tr), Triple Treble (t.tr), etc.

These and all longer stitches (sts) are like trebles (trs) with one more preliminary wrapping of the yarn round the hook before you start and one more step at the end each time. Each makes a deeper stitch (st) than the last. This process can be extended indefinitely to produce as long a stitch (st) as you like. In practice any stitch (st) longer than a triple treble (t.tr) is normally explained fully in pattern instructions, because it does not appear often. If only one such type of long stitch occurs in the pattern, it may be called simply a Long Treble (1. tr).


Slip Stitch (ss)

Start with a length of base chain — 1 chain (1ch) for each stitch required.

Prepare

Insert hook in chain next to hook.

Step 1

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread straight through chain (ch) and loop on hook. You have made 1 slip stitch (1ss) and there is a single new loop on the hook.

You may need to make two movements out of this. After drawing through the base chain either revolve the hook through 180° and fiddle it through the loop on the hook, or bend the righthand end of the base chain down and round, so that the lefthand forefinger and thumb can grasp this together with the rest of the chain (this becomes easier after you have worked a couple of stitches). Then draw through without revolving the hook.


Double Crochet (dc)

Start with a length of base chain – 1 chain (1ch) for each stitch required plus 1, e.g. 11 chains (11ch) for 10stitches (10sts).

Prepare

Insert hook in 3rd chain from hook.

Step 1

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through base chain only = 2 loops on hook.

Step 2

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw through 2 loops.

You have made 1 double crochet (1dc) and there is a single new loop on the hook.


Half Treble (h.tr)

Start with a length of base chain = 1 chain (1ch) for each stitch required plus 1, e.g. 11 chains (11 ch) for 10 stitches (10sts).

Prepare

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Insert hook in 3rd chain from hook.

Step 1

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through base chain only = 3 loops on hook.

Step 2

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through all loops. You have made 1 half treble (1h.tr) and there is a single new loop on hook.

If the last loop tries to 'run away' take a new grip round the lower part of this and the previous stitch or turning chain and complete the final pull-through with a semi-rotary, semi-levering movement.


Treble (tr)

Start with a length of base chain -1 chain (1ch) for each stitch required plus 2, e.g. 12 chains (12ch)for 10 stitches (10sts).

Prepare

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Insert hook in 4th chain from hook.

Step 1

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through base chain only = 3 loops on hook.

Step 2

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw through 2 loops = 2 loops on hook.

Step 3

Repeat (rep) the last step once.

You have made 1 treble (1tr) and there is a single new loop on the hook.


Double Treble (d.tr)

Start with a length of base chain – 1 chain (1ch) for each stitch required plus 3, e.g. 13 chains (13ch) for 10 stitches (10sts).

Prepare

Yarn twice round hook (yrh twice). Insert hook in 5th chain from hook.

Step 1

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through base chain only = 4 loops on hook.

Step 2

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through 2 loops = 3 loops on hook.

Step 3

Repeat (rep) step 2 once = 2 loops on hook.

Step 4

Repeat (rep) step 2 again.

You have made 1 double treble (1d.tr) and there is a single new loop on the hook.


Triple Treble (t.tr)

Start with a length of base chain – 1 chain (1ch) for each stitch required plus 4, e.g. 14 chains (14ch) for 10 stitches (10sts).

Prepare

Yarn 3 times round hook (yrh 3 times). Insert hook in 6th chain from hook.

Step 1

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw thread through base chain only = 5 loops on hook.

Step 2

Yarn round hook (yrh).

Draw through 2 loops = 4 loops on hook.

Step 3

Repeat (rep) step 2 once = 3 loops on hook.

Step 4

Repeat (rep) step 2 again = 2 loops on hook.

Step 5

Repeat (rep) step 2 again.

You have made 1 triple treble (1t.tr) and there is a single new loop on the hook.


Problems

Hands, Hook and Yarn

The position of the hook in the right hand as described and shown in this book is the most logical, efficient and comfortable for the majority of people in the context of relatively small scale work using soft, light yarns. It presupposes that most of the necessary movement will be the responsibility of the right hand—and this is easily obtainable from the articulation of the wrist and fingers in most cases; the elbow remains still and the weight of the arm can be supported on the arm of a chair. Some people ignore the flattened part of the hook, holding it instead at the end. Others prefer to hold the hook altogether more firmly and rigidly, giving the left hand most of the task of providing the movement; they frequently adopt the full hand grip, or one of its variations. When thick, stiff, or heavy yarn or rope is involved, the full hand grip becomes essential. Then the whole right arm is brought into play, since the hand alone is not strong enough to perform the movements.

As far as the left hand is concerned the most usual variation is to hold the work between middle finger and thumb and use the first finger to brace the supply thread. Some dedicated knitters have to hold both hook and supply thread in the right hand and flick the yarn over the hook from that side—which is of course 'quite wrong' ! Try and make a reasonable effort to train yourself into the orthodox style, but, if you do not win this particular battle with yourself, do not despair; you may have difficulty finding ways of working certain special things, such as loop stitch (see page 86), but in general there is no clear-cut reason why this technique should not be serviceable.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Crochet WORKSHOP by JAMES WALTERS. Copyright © 1979 James Walters. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction,
Chapter 1 Basic Technique,
Chapter 2 Reading Pattern Instructions,
Chapter 3 More Technique,
Chapter 4 Shaping,
Chapter 5 Decorations,
Chapter 6 Introduction to Related Techniques,
Chapter 7 Yarns,
Chapter 8 Making Up, Finishing and After Care,
Index,

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