copyright 1998 by Mary Rhodes
These tips were re-printed with permission from the author. The tips are for your own personal use and may not be sent to others, posted on bulletin boards, posted on crochet lists or published anyplace else without the designer's written permission.
One of the handiest tips in crochet is the idea of the foundation stitch. It is kind of an advanced idea, but it is so totally powerful that everyone should play with it. The idea, for me, came from the instructions for Foundation Double Crochet, printed in the green Coats and Clark HOW TO BOOK, copyright 1959.
One thing about this idea is that it's a composite stitch:
a stitch made up of two partial stitches melded together. (Other composite stitches include Fan Stitch and Clones Knot.) In this case, you start a double crochet, create a chain stitch at the base, and then work off the loops to finish the double crochet. The three really cool things about this technique are:
This, like crab stitch (reverse single crochet), or anything else, takes getting used to. If you haven't played with foundation stitches yet, try it a bit until you can see what you are doing and how it really does work. The base chain stitches you have here are just like regular chain stitches: you can insert your hook different ways to make a different look along the edge. if, when you insert your hook into the previous base chain, you insert your hook under one loop, the edge will have an open eyelet look -- very nice for baby things, but looks strange for a bulky sweater. If instead, you insert your hook under 2 loops, the edge will be solid.
I know I am not the only person to figure these things out, so you may already know all this. But what about the next step? What if you want your first row to be something other than straight single, double, or half double crochet? What if your first row is in V-stitch or shell stitch or open file? Get some scrap yarn and a hook, and try this with me -- or the next few paragraphs will seem too complicated.
Using open filet as an example, one way to try making foundation row is simply to extend the idea of the foundation double crochet: Chain 3 to start, ch 1 more for the open space of the first block, yarnover, insert hook in last chain, yarnover, draw up a loop. Yarnover and chain 1 -- this makes the chain 1 that you would be skipping in an open filet block. Yarnover and chain 1 again to make the base chain for the double crochet, and then complete the double crochet.
What is wrong with this picture? The yarnover that you need (because it is
double crochet) stretches all the way over to where you inserted your hook
for the stitch to start. You really don't want that. You want the yarnover
to go to the base of the double crochet. Here is a way to fix this:
Chain 4. Yarnover TWICE. Insert your hook in the last chain from the hook. Yarnover, draw up a loop. Yarnover and pull through 2 loops to make that middle chain, Then yarnover and pull through 1 to make the base chain for the current stitch, and finish the double crochet.
Is that not so much better? I think it is. And the same idea goes for V-stitch: Chain 4-- this counts as ldc and ch1 for the first V. Dc in the last chain from the hook -- NOT a foundation stitch -- to complete 1 V-stitch. *Yarnover 3 times. Insert the hook into the same base chain you did before. Yarnover and draw up a loop. You want 2 chain stitches between Vs, so (yarnover and pull through 2 loops) twice. Then, when you have 3 loops left on your hook, make the base ch1, and finish the double crochet stitch. Ch1, dc into the base chain stitch, and repeat from * for the next V.
What about shell stitch? Ch3, 4dc in the last chain from the hook. *Yarnover 2 times. Insert hook in the same base chain, yarnover, draw up a loop. (Yarnover and pull through 2 loops) twice, because you are skipping two stitches here. Yarnover and pull through 1 loop to make the base chain of a single crochet, and finish the single crochet. Yarnover 3 times. Insert hook into the base chain of the foundation single crochet. Yarnover, draw up a loop. (Yarnover and pull through 2 loops) twice, to skip 2 more stitches, make a base chain stitch, and finish a double crochet. Make 4 more dc into that new base chain to complete the shell stitch. Repeat from * for as many shells as you want.
The shell stitch is complex enough to bring up another technical idea. Rows can begin or end either at the single crochet or with the middle dc of the shell. You need to think about where in the pattern stitch you are starting, and go from there.
Sometimes it is necessary to add double crochet (dc) at the end of a row in order to balance an increase of more than one stitch at the beginning of the same row. This is done in a special way.
|1. Make 2 rows of double crochet (dc) on a foundation chain. Do not turn at end of second row.|
|2. Thread over, insert hook in same place as last double crochet was made and draw up a loop. There are three loops on hook.|
|3. Thread over and draw through one loop. This makes a chain one (ch 1) stitch (st) and three loops still remain on hook (Fig. 27).|
|4. Thread over and draw through two loops. Do this once more to complete a foundation double crochet (dc).|
|5. Thread over, insert hook in the chain one (ch 1) at the base of the previous foundation double crochet (dc) and draw up a loop (Fig 28). There are three loops on hook.|
|6. Repeat Step 3. then Step 4. another foundation double crochet (dc) completed. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 ia many times as needed (Fig. 29).|
1. Make a double crochet (dc) to the point where there are two loops on
2. Keep the two loops on hook, thread over, and insert hook from the front under the two top threads of next stitch (St).
3. Thread over and draw through stitch (st). There are four loops on hook.
4. Thread over again and draw through two loops. (Three loops remain on hook.)
5. Thread over and draw through the three loops. (One loop remains on hook.) You have now worked two double crochets together and there is one stitch less on row.
6. The directions instruct you where to decrease.