What Stitch shall I learn next?
What stitch shall I learn next? Hopefully, you are beginning to feel confident about the basic skills of casting on and off, and simple stitches like knit and purl, or single, double and treble crochets. Ready to move on? Well, its back to school for the kids this week, so perhaps its back to learning for us grown ups too!
Honestly, if you can do the basic stitches confidently, then you can master all the others with a bit of patience and practice. Don’t believe me? I taught myself to crochet about 3 years ago, using the pictures at the back of Inside Crochet and although I started with a lifetime of knitting practice, it was still very strange for me to be using a crochet hook, and holding the yarn in my left (wrong) hand. What I did realise is that I’m a pragmatic learner, I learn by reading then doing. Some of us are experiential learners, we have to work it out as we go along, and some are visual learners who need to watch something before they can have a go. What ever learning style suits you, the internet is a fabulous resource to use to learn new skills, decide what stitch to use, and how to “make” it. I have been busy “pinning” for you on the Pinterest Gorgeous Yarns board with lots of links and tips on how to master the basics as well as learn new stitches. These are ideal for pragmatic and experiential learners. Visual learners, have a look at YouTube for gazillions of video clips.
Stitch patterns can be represented in words; K2tog (knit 2 stitches in the normal way as though it was one stitch, by putting the needle through the back of 2 stitches at the same time.) or Tr,Ch,Tr (treble crochet one stitch, chain one stitch and treble crochet one stitch all into the same stitch) or as symbols on a chart. The chart will have a key to the symbols, and will have a written abbreviation beside it. If you are not sure, try enlarging the chart, and the key on a photocopier, and writing beside each abbreviation in your own words what each means. (I find, if I’m doing a new/complicated pattern, it helps to say the stitch names out loud as I work them too!)
Stitch patterns like Aran or lace often have panels of stitches, sometimes repeated, so I use loop and bead stitch markers to separate the panels and “remind” me that the stitches change with each section.
I use the safety pin style mini stitch markers for my crochet to mark the last stitch at each end of the row as I make it. This helps to ensure the edges of your work don’t wobble in and out with missed stitches!
This brings us to the use of cable needles. If you are working on an Aran project, and one of the stitches calls for a cable needle, don’t worry. Its a short, double ended needle which holds a few stitches to the front (CF) or the back (CB) depending on the way the “rope” is twisting. The stitches on the cable needle are held our of the way, the next ones on the left needle are worked as directed, then the stitches from the cable needle worked back into the pattern, Brilliant! In crochet, sometimes the same stitch is worked several times to create a cluster or raised effect, or a stitch is missed to create a gap. Just follow the pattern chart carefully and you’ll be fine!
Do let me know how you are getting on….
Bye for now,