How to crochet

Last night, I sat down with a friend who instructed me in some basic crochet skills. While watching “Brokedown Palace” (somewhat bizarre movie, thought-provoking but… weird), I learned:

  • Chain: basic stitch, somewhat akin to casting on in knitting; just make a slip knot and iteratively pull a new loop of yarn through the one on your needle. Unlike knitting, there is only one stitch on the needle/hook at any given time.
  • Single crochet: insert hook through the top of the next stitch, wrap the yarn around it, pull it through to yield two stitches on the hook. Wrap the yarn once more and pull that through both stitches, leaving only one on the hook, and you’re reading to go again.
  • Double crochet: wrap the yarn around the hook, then insert it into the next stitch as to do a single crochet. Wrap the yarn again and pull it through to yield three stitches on the hook. Wrap the yarn again and pull it through the first two of those stitches, then wrap it again and pull it through the remaining two to leave one stitch.

  • Double crochet results in a lacier, more open stitch (and a wider fabric, at least in what I produced) than single crochet. I also observed that unlike knitting, crocheting appears to produce a symmetric fabric — there was no obvious “right” or “wrong” side. When you reach the end of a row, you just turn around and do the same thing back the way you came. Handy!

    I’m pleased to augment my knitting skillz with some crochet know-how, since this opens up new territory in terms of adding decorative edges or hems or frills to items you knit. By the end of the movie, I had crocheted enough to produce a headband, which I wore home (to the disappointment of my friend’s one-year-old, who had it on and kept saying “Mir! Mir!” because she wanted to admire herself. :) ).

    1 of 2 people learned something from this entry.

    1. Jim said,

      March 28, 2007 at 8:40 pm

      (Learned something new!)

      Would you consider crocheting easier to learn than knitting? And bonus question: is loom knitting still “knitting?”

    2. wkiri said,

      March 28, 2007 at 8:48 pm

      Easier than knitting? I don’t know. It’s hard to judge; it wasn’t too hard to pick up these basic stitches, although initially my coordination was unimpressive. :) But I’ve had quite a bit of knitting experience at this point, so I’m not sure whether it would be easier starting from tabula rasa. My crocheting friend says she’s found knitting to be harder, but maybe that’s because I’m a worse teacher than she is. :)

      Other benefits of crochet: you can take the hook out of the work, so long as you pull the yarn to make the last stitch hang out. Not so with knitting needles (in most cases)! This feature is handy for when you want to stop midway and work on something else for a while, or if you want to try something on (like the gorgeous hat my friend made herself in two days (!)). Crocheting may well be faster than knitting, because it produces work with more space in it (compared to garter or stockinette). Knitting is a better choice if you want a dense, smooth fabric. My friend also notes that certain kinds of intricate lacework (like the leaf motif in the baby blanket I made for her daughter) might be harder/impossible with a crochet hook.

    3. wkiri said,

      March 28, 2007 at 8:49 pm

      And yes, I’d vote for loom knitting still being “knitting”. :) I find it interesting that knitting by hand now has its own term (handknitting) to distinguish itself from other sorts.

    4. Michelle said,

      April 6, 2007 at 6:51 am

      (Knew it already.)

      Hi Kiri! :)

      I come down on the side of crochet being easier, but I’m no tabula rasa myself. I learned knitting first (from my grandmother) and then crocheting shortly thereafter (from a booklet, which is why I crochet right-handed even though I’m left-handed.) I never really got into knitting, and at this point would have to re-learn it, but I’ve been crocheting for about 20 years (yikes!) I find it much easier to recover from errors in crochet, since the hook only holds one stitch.

    5. Iain said,

      April 10, 2007 at 9:40 pm

      skillz? l33t yo!

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