Crocheters, expand your stitch pattern knowledge with linked treble crochet! While regular treble crochet stitches are quite tall, with space between the posts, linked treble stitches are connected post-to-post, creating a solid fabric.
Linked stitches are sort of a cross between regular treble crochet and Tunisian crochet, worked with a regular crochet hook. Note that I’m using American crochet terminology here. UK crocheters will know this as linked double treble crochet.
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Grab some yarn and an appropriately-sized hook, and practice along with me. I’m using Marly Bird’s Chic Sheep yarn from Red Heart, with a Clover Amour crochet hook, size 5.5 mm.
Be sure to watch the video, where I demonstrate two different ways to work into the chain on the first stitch of the row. Choose your favorite.
Linked Treble Crochet
Special Stitches Beginning Linked Treble (Beg Ltr): Ch 4 (does not count as a st), insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into next ch, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into st at base of ch-4, yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops are on hook) [(yarn over, pull through 2 loops] 3 times.
Linked Treble: Insert hook into upper horizontal bar of previous st, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into lower horizontal bar of previous st, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into next st, yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops are on hook) [(yarn over, pull through 2 loops] 3 times.
Chain any multiple.
Set-Up Row: Ch 1, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn.
Row 1: Beginning Ltr, Ltr in each st across, turn.
Rep Row 1 for pattern.
Abbreviations Beg Ltr: beginning linked treble crochet (see Special Stitches) ch: chain Ltr: linked treble crochet (see Special Stitches) sc: single crochet
On Monday, March 25, and Tuesday, March 26, 2019, I’m taking over the Leisure Arts, Inc. Instagram and Facebook pages. Visit me there, and check here for more information on some of the things I’ll be sharing there.
My most recent books with Leisure Arts are:
On Instagram Live, I took you on a quick tour of my studio. The knit scarf I was wearing is the Stoneybrook Shawlette. It’s knit in garter stitch, and is perfect for beginners.
Knowing how to block knitting and crochet is a crucial skill. Blocking may be the most important step in getting a professional-looking finish for your project. It sets the stitches and can even out irregularities. It makes it easier to work seams and edgings and it can even make minor size adjustments.
While most projects will benefit from blocking, it’s important to do it right. Some crafters are afraid of blocking because they’ve heard blocking horror stories about someone killing a sweater. Blocking doesn’t have to be scary, but it does help to know what you are doing.
This a big topic. What follows is an overview of blocking basic two-dimensional knitted and crocheted fabric. Projects worked in three dimensions or those with highly textured surfaces may be blocked a bit differently.
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You’ll need a few simple supplies for
Interlocking floor mats – not pretty, but large and inexpensive. These can be used in many different configurations and sizes. A better option might be a set of grid-printed blocking mats, like the ones from Knitters Pride or KnitIQ.
Large blocking board – made of three 24″ x 58″ Styrofoam panels in a cotton canvas casing. The panels unfold and create a surface that’s even larger than my dining room table. It’s great for blocking shawls and other large items. As far as I can tell, it’s no longer sold, but it wouldn’t be difficult to make.
Spare bed – covered with beach towels. It works surprisingly well. Just be sure to collect all the pins when you are finished!
The Importance of Pins, The Allure of Wires
At some point in the blocking process, you’ll be pinning your pieces to a flat surface. Depending on your blocking method, this will happen before or after the fabric gets wet. Make sure your pins are rustproof. Nothing is guaranteed to ruin a project faster than pins that will leave a permanent stain on your yarn!
Some people swear by the Knit Blockers from KnitPicks. I haven’t used them yet. Let me know in the comments if they work for you.
Blocking wires are not a necessity, but they make it so much easier and faster to block. You’ll use fewer pins, your edges will be straighter and your pointy bits pointier if you use blocking wires. I have two sets!
Whether you are using pins, or a combination of pins and blocking wires, begin by securing the corners (if any) of your fabric. Use a yardstick or tape measure to ensure that the piece is the desired size from edge to edge and corner to corner. I prefer a yardstick because I can measure one-handed, and use the other hand to make adjustments. Make sure right-angle corners really are 90 degrees.
Blocking can be used to make minor corrections to the finished size of a piece, but it’s not a substitute for making the piece the right size to start with. Don’t use blocking for that purpose!
Choose a Blocking Method
Proceed to add pins along each edge every 1 1/2-2″ [4 5 cm]. If you are using blocking wires, use enough pins to keep the wire straight where it should be straight.
If the fabric rolls, gently unroll it and use
pins to keep it in place. If there are points or scallops, pin each one out
individually. This is where a blocking wire comes in especially handy, as the
wire can go through each point.
The blocking method you use will depend on the
content of the yarn. Acrylic, cotton, wool, cotton, and other fibers require different care. If your yarn is a
blend of fibers, choose the method that is appropriate for the most delicate of
the fibers. Wool and many other animal fibers can be steam blocked, cotton is
often wet-blocked. With acrylic and other
man-made fibers, cold blocking is often the safest method.
Another consideration is the stitch pattern you used, and how aggressively the fabric needs to be blocked. Fabric with lots of openwork, for example, needs to be stretched to allow the holes to open up. If the fiber allows, wet blocking or steam blocking will be your best options for lace.
Highly textured fabric like cables, ribbing and bobbles may not react well to too much steam. There are nuanced ways to deal with these textured stitches, but that will be the focus of a future blog post.
Always practice your blocking method on a swatch or two before trying it on your finished project!
Wet blocking is appropriate for cotton, silk, and
wool, as well as for any fiber that can get completely wet.
To wet block, fully immerse your fabric in water, either by washing it or simply by putting it in a sink. Allow the water to fully soak the fabric. Gently squeeze out the water – don’t twist or wring – and pin the pieces to shape on the blocking surface.
Wait until it dries completely before removing the pins. Obviously, this is the most time-consuming blocking method. It’s hard to be patient and wait for that yarn to dry, especially in humid climes.
Steam blocking works well for wool and most
animal fibers. Be careful, however, of using it on fibers that can be damaged
Begin by pinning your pieces to the blocking surface. Use a steam iron or steamer that’s shooting out plenty of steam. Hover the surface of the iron or steamer over the fabric, about 1.5 – 2″ [4 – 5 cm] from the surface. Never touch the iron to the fabric! You are using the moisture from the warm steam to do its work, not the heat from the iron.
Get the fabric warm and damp with the steam, then allow it to dry completely. When the fabric is cool and dry to the touch, remove the pins.
Cold blocking is the safest method to use with
acrylic yarns, which can be damaged beyond repair with too much heat.
Pin your pieces to the blocking surface. Use a plant mister to spray water over the fabric, taking care to dampen the entire fabric thoroughly. Allow it to dry completely before removing the pins.
Killing Acrylic Yarn
Did you know that you can kill yarn? Yes, that’s an official term for an actual thing. It
happens when you use too much heat on an acrylic fiber — such as when you
press a hot iron onto acrylic yarn. This causes the fibers to melt together and
changes the characteristics of the fabric permanently. It can’t be undone.
Despite my warnings to you not to steam block acrylic yarn, I confess that often do. I always always always practice on a swatch first. I’m very careful to use as low a heat as possible and to hover the steamer (or iron) above the fabric. I watch carefully to make sure I’m not killing anything. I understand the consequences of failure. So if you decide you want to steam block your acrylic yarns, that’s up to you. Your mileage may vary. You didn’t hear it here.
More About Blocking
I could write another thousand words on blocking. Or teach an entire three-hour class. In other words, there’s a lot to learn! Just remember: tailor your blocking techniques to the project, the fiber, the stitch pattern and the finished use of the project. Some projects (like amigurumi) don’t need to be blocked at all, while others demand it.
Ask your questions about blocking in the comments.
Now that you know how to block knitting and crochet, go forth and practice what you’ve learned. Your projects will thank you!
While I’m more of a generalist in that I love to do a bit of this and bit of that technique in my all fiber arts, I’m in awe of crafters who delve very deeply into one aspect of a craft. Last month I had a chance to see the recent work that double-knitting guru Alasdair Post-Quinn has been doing and to talk with him about his work.
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Alasdair’s designs are both beautiful and mind-boggling. When I heard about a new learning opportunity that Alasdair is offering, I decided you needed to hear from him directly. Here’s an interview:
For those unfamiliar with double knitting, give us a quick explanation of what it is.
Alasdair: Double-knitting is a method of knitting a fabric with no “wrong side”. The way I use it involves colorwork motifs that reverse in color on the other layer. There are two separate layers of fabric, worked simultaneously, which are linked together at the color changes (unlike brioche, for example, which is a fully integrated fabric).
This looks difficult. Do I need to be an expert knitter to start double knitting?
Alasdair: Not at all! As with anything, you can start with the basics and build on them as you get more proficient. Basic double-knitting, as I teach it in my intro classes, requires only that you know how to knit and purl. If you’ve done other colorwork before, it may help you follow the chart – but it’s not necessary.
Who does double knitting appeal to?
Alasdair: I think it appeals to anyone who’s ever looked at the wrong side of a knitted item and wished it was more presentable. It is a double-thick fabric, so it may appeal more to those who live in colder climates (or who have loved ones who do) – but depending on the weight of yarn and how you use it, you can make three-season garments as well.
You have taken double knitting to the “extreme”. Explain what makes your designs unique.
Alasdair: Since I started double-knitting in the early 2000s, rather than simply playing with motifs and patterns, I have been striving to find the “limits” to the technique. I have adapted many single-layer techniques to double-knitting (including cables, lace, intarsia, and entrelac, among others). I’ve also developed techniques that are specific to double-knitting. I’ve documented these in my books Extreme Double-knitting and Double or Nothing, and I am continuing to expand on my existing techniques and develop new ones.
What are the benefits of learning this technique in person?
Alasdair: In my books, I have done my best to anticipate all kinds of questions (gleaned from thousands of students over more than a decade of teaching the technique) about double-knitting. I try to show the step-by-step instructions as clearly as possible. However, there’s often no substitute for hands-on learning, and being able to get real-time answers to your questions and feedback on your work will help you reach that “A-Ha!” moment even sooner.
Tell us about your special series of workshops coming up soon.
Alasdair: I’m trying something new this year that I’ve never done before. When I go to Stitches or one of the other shows, not to mention smaller workshop weekends at a local yarn shop or retreat, I’m most often running four to six workshops; sometimes one may even be offered twice. To be able to teach all nine of my double-knitting workshops in a single event is an unprecedented opportunity for me as a teacher – and to be able to take any workshop I offer is a huge opportunity for you as a student. That’s what the BuildingBlox Workshop Week, running from April 27 to May 5 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is about.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to double-knit, I’ve got an intro workshop on April 27 and another on May 5 – but between those two dates, I’m available to take you as far into the technique as you’re interested in going. If you already know how to double-knit, I can teach you how to create letters that read correctly on both layers; how to add a third color to the mix; how to use increases, decreases, textures, cables, lace, and more.
The BuildingBlox Workshop Week isn’t a retreat (nothing outside the workshops is planned, and you can take as many or as few as you like), and all the classes run on evenings or weekends to accommodate those with 9-5 jobs, so for those who may be coming in from afar, you’ll have your weekdays free too. You can get more info and sign up at the BuildingBlox page on my website. Thanks!
A Note from Edie
I’ve done double knitting – and even teach an online class about it– but I’d take Alasdair’s workshops in a heartbeat. If I didn’t live so far away and didn’t already have commitments for the last week of April, I’d vacation in Boston during the day and learn from Alasdair in the evening workshops. If you can’t make it to the workshops but want to learn more about double-knitting, start here:
Each day during March, you’ll learn about a different crochet designer who will share a free crochet pattern or a 25% discount on a premium pattern. The Showcase has partnered with some great companies to provide prizes in the form of yarn, hooks, notions, and more.
All of the designers participating in this month’s Designer Showcase are members of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). CGOA is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to crochet.
What I Love About CGOA
The annual CGOA Chain Link conference is for crocheters of all skill levels, ages and backgrounds. Everyone is welcome!
At this one-of-a-kind show, I get to hang out with the geekiest crocheters I know. Ones willing to talk for an hour about the best way to weave in ends. Ones inventing yet another new and improved way to start a row without a turning-chain gap. Ones who invent new stitches on purpose (or not). Ones who are passionate about improving their skills and improving the skills of others. And ones who crochet just for the love of crochet.
I love to learn, and I love to teach, in such a crochet-rich environment. (And yes, I’ll be teaching at the Chain Link Conference in July 2019.)
Read how another crocheter felt about her first CGOA show.
Save on the Melbourne Shawl
To encourage you to make something special for yourself to wear, I’m offering 25% off my Melbourne Shawl pattern through March 31, 2019 with promo code NatCroMo2019. This generously shaped shawl wraps you in comfort and style, and includes both text and charted instructions. You can wear it with joy year-round! (And if I spy you wearing it at a CGOA conference, you’re in for a special treat!)
More on the International Designers Showcase
March is an awesome time to discover new-to-you crochet designers, learn more about crochet, and to join CGOA. To find out more about participating designers, follow the schedule, and enter to win prizes, visit Underground Crafter.
What’s special about the Endless Shamrock Garland? Most crocheted shamrock garlands are made up of individual shamrock motifs. This means you have to weave in a lot of ends. But the Endless Shamrock Garland is made without having to cut the yarn!
Make it any length you want. When it’s as long as you please, just weave in two ends and you’re finished!
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Use the chart to help you understand stitch placement. The pattern uses American crochet terminology. You’ll find a video tutorial at the bottom of this post.
Worsted Weight yarn of your choice Size H-8 / 5 mm crochet hook OR use any yarn size/hook combination you choose
The long garland pictured on the wall was made with a green cable-spun yarn from my stash. The short garland was made with Chic Sheep by Marly Bird in color Polo.
Crossover slip st: Insert hook into stitch indicated, pass chain over working yarn, yarn over and pull through all loops on hook to complete slip stitch.
Each shamrock measures about 2″ / 5 cm wide x 2″ / 5 mm tall. Gauge isn’t crucial in this pattern.
Ch 8. Row 1: *Ch 8, crossover slip st in 4th ch from hook to form a ring, ch 4, (tr, dc, tr, ch 4, slip st) in ring, ch 5; rep from * for desired number of shamrocks, ch 8, turn.
Row 2: Slip st in back bump of 2nd ch from hook and in back bump of next 7 ch, *(tr, dc, tr, ch 4, slip st) in next ring, ch 5, slip st in back bump of 2nd ch from hook and in back bump of next 3 ch, slip st in same ring, ch 4, (tr, dc, tr) in same ring, skip 4 chs from previous row, slip st in back bump of next ch; rep from * across, ending slip st in back bump of last 7 ch. Fasten off.