Thursday, July 12

I don't knit

I crochet. It's different, sort of. Okay, same basic idea ... long piece of string and lots of fancy knots. But knitting uses two long pointy needles. You work your stitches onto one of the needles until you have a long row of them hanging there. As you work your second row, you pass the stitches from that first needle onto the second needle, and back to the first needle for the 3rd row, and so on. Crochet is like the orphaned stepchild of sewing: there's a ton of info on knitting, but very little on crochet. But I think that's starting to change, largely thanks to the Internet.

Crochet (silent "t" folks, French style pronunciation) uses only a hook, and only one of them. You add on to your work by using the hook to grab the yarn, thread, or whatever and pull a loop of yarn - or series of loops - into the next stitch. But as a general rule, you only have one stitch at a time on your hook.

The exception to this rule is the afghan stitch, also called the Tunisian stitch. It's a cross between knitting and crocheting. Here is an example:

Notice that each row looks woven. With this stitch, each row is actually worked twice: once forward and once backward. The "posts" you see in the above picture are the row of loops formed on the hook as you work forward. The yarn that appears to be threaded under them was then pulled through, a little at a time, during the second, backward, pass. Confused yet? It's easier than it sounds and leaves you with the nifty grid pattern you see. Here's what the finished product looked like:

I just love this blend of colors. It was a wedding gift for friends of mine. Since it was a gift for two people, neither of whom is the fussy type, I wanted something colorful yet gender neutral. I think the woven look of the stitches also keeps it from looking too feminine. I don't think a guy would shy away from using it, do you? As you can see, the stitches are very close and tight, not lacy at all. So it's also a very warm afghan. Of course they live in Florida, and it's July, so they probably won't get much use out of it for a few months.

My next project is a baby afghan for the neighbors who are expecting their new little one in a matter of days. Yikes! I guess I'd better get cracking on this.

This is being worked in 3 very basic stitches: single crochet, double crochet, and chains. Do you see they way the colors seem to fade into each other? I'm working each row with two strands of yarn at the same time. It's a baby, or sport, weight yarn so the strands are finer, more slim, than in a typical afghan. With a heavier weight of yarn it's a little more tricky to keep two strands on your hook at the same time. As I go from one color to the next, I do two rows inbetween using one strand of each color. This way there is no clear line between one color and the next and they just sort of blend together, rainbow fashion. I hope Baby will approve.


Sheryl said...

I like both of them. I never thought of using that technique to have one colour blend into the next. I knit and crochet. When I'm not writing. Which seems to be never these days.

GatorPerson said...

McB, those are both spectacular!

McB said...

Thank you. GP you may get to see it on Saturday because little Salvatore was born at 4:30 a.m. I'm going to have to work on this every spare moment.

for which Xavier claps slowly

Louisa said...


Oh, how pretty! I know the baby will love it, and I love that he's called Salvatore. Long, long ago my Sunday School teacher was Salvatore (pronounced with four syllables) Curioni, and he was grand. Hope the same for your new neighbor.

I've kind of wanted to try the Tunisian stitch, as I never got the hang of granny squares, but I've not had the nerve so far.
Very pretty.

McB said...

Thanks Louisa. Hate granny squares. Not so much making them as having to sew them together. I just refuse to do it. That and skinny little stripes. Way to many ends to be tucked in. Tunisian stitch is pretty easy and I found some great guides online.

Scope Dope Cherrybomb said...

I was a knitter. Tried crochet, your dreaded granny squares and made a great looking afghan for my son. I did do a couple of other things but never really got the hang of it. Would loved to have really learned. I taught Sheryl granny squares and she went on to teach herself everything else. She is multi-talented. :)