Reverse single crochet, also known as crab stitch, creates a decorative cord-like effect. But if you’ve never done it, it can be tricky to understand exactly what the instructions are asking you to do.
The most important thing to understand is that you are going to be working in the opposite direction from ordinary crochet. If you are right-handed, you normally crochet from the right to the left.
If you are left-handed, you normally crochet from the left to the right.
But in reverse single crochet, you are going the other way!
Follow the instructions below, referring to the right-handed or left-handed images to for additional help. I’ve also included a helpful video which you’ll find at the bottom of the post.
At the end of the last row, chain 1, but do not turn the work.
As you crochet this row, keep your hook headed in the same direction that you have been working. (Pointed to the left for right-handers and to the right for left-handers.)
Keep your index finger on the stitch on the hook so that it doesn’t jump off the hook. Insert the hook into the first stitch.
Yarn over and pull up a loop. Remember to keep the hook pointing to the left or right as described above.
Now yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook to complete the first single crochet.
Holding the loop on the hook, insert the hook into the next stitch and complete a single crochet.
Continue working all the way across the row. Remember to keep your hook pointing to the left if it’s in your right hand, or to the right if it’s in your left hand. Use your index finger to keep the loops on the hook when they want to jump off.
And relax! Breathe! You’ve got this!
Watch Crab Stitch in Action
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Intarsia knitting can be a fun color knitting technique! The trick is in understanding how to prevent holes at the color changes. While a lot of intarsia projects are knitted in stockinette stitch, it’s easy to do in garter stitch if you know how.
Let’s work through this simple intarsia sample together, and I’ll show you how wonderful it can be to knit intarsia in garter stitch. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a video.
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What is Intarsia Knitting?
Intarsia is a color knitting technique that uses one yarn color at a time to create blocks of color. You work across stitches in one color, then drop the old color and pick up the new color to begin working the next stitches.
The yarns are twisted around each other at the color change to prevent holes.
Compare this to stranded knitting techniques where you hold multiple colors across a row, or slip stitch techniques which use just one yarn and just one color across the entire row.
If you’ve never done intarsia before, it can seem intimidating. Just remember that you are only holding one strand of yarn at a time, so how hard can it really be?
There’s a simple rule for remembering how to twist the yarns at the color change:
Hold the old color to the left
Pick up the new color from underneath (and to the right of) the old color
Begin working with the new color.
The trick is to cross the yarns on the wrong side at each color change to prevent a hole. In stockinette stitch this becomes intuitive, because the yarn is just where it needs to be, at the front or back of the knitting, as you come to it. In garter stitch, however, when you are knitting wrong side rows, you have to bring the yarn forward between the needles to allow that yarn crossing to happen on the wrong side.
Confused? Me too. I’d rather show you.
Reading a Chart
Garter stitch is usually worked from a chart. While there are different ways of presenting the information for a garter stitch chart, we’ll be working from this one.
I’ve made a printable pdf of the chart available to make it easier for you to follow along.
This chart is read in the ordinary way, with each rectangle representing a stitch. Right side (odd-numbered) rows are worked from right to left and wrong side (even-numbered) rows are worked from left to right. Note that all the rows are knit.
Cast On and Row 1
You’ll read the chart beginning with Row 1, a right side row. If you use a long-tail cast on, you can count the cast on as Row 1. This is what I like to do when working garter stitch.
Using a long-tail cast on, cast on 10 stitches in blue, then 10 stitches in green. At this point, the cast ons will not be connected to each other.
Row 2 is a wrong side row, read from left to right. Knit 10 stitches in green.
Now that you’ve finished with the green for this row, it’s time to change to blue, but you need to twist the yarns to prevent a hole. This twist needs to happen on the wrong side. Since this is a wrong side row, that means that the twist needs to happen on the side closest to you.
Bring the old color (green) to the front between the needles. Hold it to the left. Pick up the new color (blue) from underneath the old color and bring it between the needles to the back.
Begin knitting with the new color, and knit to the end of the row.
This is a right side row, and the color change will happen on the back (wrong side). Knit 10 with blue, then hold the old color (blue) to the left
and pick up the new color (green) from underneath the old color. Knit 10 with green.
Once more on a wrong side row, for good measure: Knit 10 blue, bring yarn forward between the needles. Hold the blue to the left. Pick up the green from underneath the blue and bring the green to the back. Knit 10 with green.
It’s time to add a third color! Knit 9 stitches in blue. Leaving a long tail, knit 2 stitches in pink. Hold the pink to the left and pick up the green from underneath, knit 9 stitches in green.
Work in pattern according to the chart, crossing the yarns when the colors change.
Bind Off and Weaving In Ends
Bind off on a right side row, using the following trick to make sure you maintain a clean color transition. Beginning with blue, bind off until there is 1 blue stitch on your right needle and 1 blue stitch on your left needle.
Knit the next stitch in green (turning the blue stitch into a green stitch). Continue binding off in green.
Use the remaining pink tails to close up the holes at the beginning and end of the diamond, then weave in those ends on the wrong side of the pink section. Weave in remaining ends.
What are you going to knit next? Will you give garter stitch intarsia a try?
Plan now to join me in the Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket Crochet Along. Whether you’ve mastered all the basic crochet stitches, or you just know how to chain and single crochet, you’ll learn new skills with each square you complete.
The Crochet Along (CAL) runs February 4-March 19 on Ravelry, but you can join anytime. Pattern clues will be released on Mondays and Thursdays; each will contain both text and charted instructions, and most will contain video technique lessons.
The Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket is made up of 12 pieces crocheted separately. You’ll use a different stitch pattern for each square, and along with each stitch pattern you’ll learn a new skill. You’ll also pick up tips and tricks for making your crochet look its best.
When the squares are complete, you’ll block them, join them using a crocheted seam, then add an edging.
The list is long! You’ll learn to:
Crochet into the back bump of a chain
Understand the use of turning chains
Pick up stitches evenly along an edge
Read pattern instructions
Understand crochet symbol charts
Understand stitch multiples
Crochet twelve stitch patterns
Create linked stitches
Work rows without turning
Crochet Blanket in 2 Sizes
7″ squares for a baby blanket measuring about 24″ [61 cm] wide by 33″ [84 cm] long, using three colors
13″ squares for a large blanket measuring about 42″ [107 cm] wide by 57″ [145 cm] long, using four colors
I recommend using Plymouth Encore, a worsted-weight blend of 75% acrylic/25% wool. The wool content allows the yarn to be blocked nicely, and this yarn holds up to washing! Each skein of Plymouth Encore contains about 200 yards [182 m].
You’ll need a total of about 4 balls for the small size and 13 balls for the large size. Details about yarn colors and amounts are included in the pattern introduction.
Plymouth Encore is available at your local yarn shop. However, to make it extra easy to find the yarn, you can order kits directly from The Knitter’s Edge, a full-service yarn shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Email or call 610-419-9276 to order the yarn kit. You can choose the colors I used, or let them help you decide on colors that fit your decor. Order now, and they’ll have the yarn to you in plenty of time to start crocheting on February 4.
On February 4, and every Monday and Thursday through March 19, you’ll receive an updated pattern with the instructions for the next installment. The pattern price will go up when the CAL is over, so get it now and crochet along with us!