Friday, August 3, 2007

Basic Crochet Stitches

The basic stitches used in crochet are, chain, slip, single, double, treble, and long treble crochet.

TO MAKE A CHAIN, form a loop on the thread, insert the hook in it, and draw the thread in another loop through this. Continue this to form a succession of stitches.

SLIP-STITCH is made by drawing a thread at once through any given stitch and the loop which is on the needle.

SINGLE CROCHET (written s.c.)—Having a loop on the needle, insert the hook in a stitch, and draw the thread through in a loop. You then have two on the hook; draw the thread through both at once.

DOUBLE CROCHET (d.c.)—Twist the thread round the hook before inserting it in the stitch, through which you draw the thread in a loop. Three loops being then on the needle, draw the thread through two, and then through the one just formed and the remaining one.

TREBLE CROCHET (t.c.) and LONG TREBLE (long t.c.) are worked in the same manner; in the former the thread is put twice, in the latter three times, round the hook, before inserting it into the stitch.

TO JOIN LEAVES.—When one part of a leaf, flower, etc., is to be joined to another, drop the loop from your hook, which insert in the place to be joined; draw the loop through and continue working.

TO PASS FROM ONE ROUND TO ANOTHER WITHOUT BREAKING THE THREAD.—In working mats and many similar articles this is very desirable. Having finished one round, see whether a s.c., d.c., or t.c. stitch begins the next; for s.c. make one chain, for d.c. three, for t.c. four; slip the needle out, and twist the chain, then continue working. This twisted chain will have all the appearance of a d.c. or t.c. stitch. Should the round not begin exactly in the same place, slip-stitch to the part where it commences, as it will seldom be more than a few stitches in advance.

SQUARE CROCHET is a term often used, and generally understood, as the engraved patterns are mostly in it. Lest, however, any of our readers should not be familiar with the name, we will explain it. The squares are either open or close. An open square consists of one d.c., two ch.—missing two on the line beneath, before making the next stitch. A close square has three successive d.c. Thus, any given number of close squares, followed by an open, will have so many times three d.c., and one over; and any foundation made for a pattern to be worked in square crochet will have a number of chains divisible by three, leaving one over.

TO CONTRACT AN EDGE.—In forming leaves and many other things, this is very useful. It can be done in d.c., t.c., or long t.c. Having twisted the thread round the needle as often as the stitch may require, insert it in the work, and half-do a stitch. Instead of completing it, again twist the thread round, until the same number of loops are on, and work a stitch completely. Thus, for two stitches taken in the work, there is only one head. This being successively repeated materially contracts an edge.

TO JOIN ON A THREAD.—Avoid joins in open work as much as possible. In close work, whether d.c. or s.c., they will not be perceived. Finish the stitch by drawing the new thread through, allowing a couple of inches for both ends, which you hold in.

TO WORK WITH SEVERAL COLOURS.—Hold the threads not in use along the edge of the work, and work them in. When the colour is to be changed, begin the stitch with the old colour, and complete it with the new, which continue to work with, holding the other in. If only one stitch of a colour is to be used, you finish one stitch, and begin the next with it; then change. Colours are seldom intermixed, except in solid work, such as the ends of purses, mats worked over cord, and the like.

TO WORK OVER CORD.—Hold it in the left hand, with the work, and work round it, as you would if it were merely an end of thread. The stitches must, however, be sufficiently close to cover it entirely.

TO WORK WITH BEADS.—Beads must be first threaded on the silk, or other material, and then dropped, according to the pattern, on what is usually thought the wrong side of the work. This side presents a more even appearance than the other. It follows that when bead purses are worked from an engraving, they are worked the reverse of the usual way—namely, from right to left.

THE MARKS USED IN CROCHET RECEIPTS.—These are very simple when understood. They are printers' marks—asterisks, crosses, daggers, and sometimes one or two others. They are used to mark repetitions, and save space. The principal thing to observe is, that in every row or round, if one of any kind is used, a second, similar one, is sure to be found; and that the repetition occurs between the two, however far distant apart. Suppose a row of a pattern to be written thus:—X 2 d.c., 4 ch., miss 4, * 5 d.c., 1 ch., miss 1, * three times, 5 d.c., X, * twice; it would, at full length, be—2 d.c., 4 ch., miss 4, 5 d.c., 1 ch., miss 1, 5 d.c., 1 ch., miss 1, 5 d.c., 1 ch., miss 1, 5 d.c., 2 d.c., 4 ch., miss 4, 5 d.c., 1 ch., miss 1, 5 d.c., 1 ch., miss 1, 5 d.c., 1 ch., miss 1, 5 d.c. It will be seen that one repetition often occurs within another, as in the stitches between the asterisks. Another mode of shortening receipts can be used only where a row has a centre both sides of which correspond; the latter being the same as the former, worked backwards. Then the letters b, a, are used, to mark that in the latter part of the row you reverse the instructions. b, 7 d.c., 3 ch., miss 2, 1 d.c., 2 ch., miss 1, a, 1 d.c. (the centre stitch), would be, 7 d.c., 3 ch., miss 2, 1 d.c., 2 ch., miss 1, 1 d.c., miss 1, 2 ch., 1 d.c., miss 2, 3 ch., 7 d.c. These letters and the printers' marks are equally used in knitting. It is easy to see how much space is gained by the use of these abbreviations, a knowledge of which is easily acquired. Probably many of our friends are already familiar with the substance of this preliminary lesson; but as daily experience convinces us that many are still ignorant of the principles of crochet, we trust the good-nature of the adepts will lead them to excuse this occupation of a page, in consideration of the benefit it will be to their less fortunate friends.

One word on the implement termed a crochet-hook. It should not be sharp or pointed, either in the point or barb, but smooth, and quite free from any angularity that can catch the silk. Cheap and common crochet-hooks are in the end the dearest, as they break cotton, ravel silk, wear out the patience, and prick the finger. They should be of the best steel, highly polished, and firmly fixed in ivory handles. Those we use have been made at our recommendation, and have the size engraved on every handle. This saves the tiresome and uncertain reference to a gauge. These hooks are termed "tapered, indented" crochet hooks.

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