For the next several weeks, over on the Plymouth Yarn Magazine blog, I’m going to be hosting a free Crochet Along (CAL). I’d love to have you join us.
We’ll be crocheting a 5-Panel Blanket. Each panel is made with a different stitch pattern, and along the way I’ll show you not only the stitch pattern, but tips and tricks for making your crocheting easier.
Don’t love the colors? Not a problem! Choose colors that suit your decor. Find all the details here.
Gather up your yarn, and join me and Plymouth Yarn as we crochet along together.
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.
This post may contain affiliate links which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but don’t cost you anything.
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?
Sometimes you need just a small amount of yarn for a project, and it would be uncomfortable to use a full ball of yarn. That’s when you need a yarn butterfly! Here’s how to wind a yarn butterfly. It’s quick and easy.
A yarn butterfly is simply a “re-packaging” of yarn into a small butterfly-shaped bundle. If prepared right, the bundle stays wrapped and secured, making it possible to use the working end of the yarn for your project while the rest of the yarn waits patiently.
Yarn butterflies are usually used for the intarsia method (knitting or crocheting), but they can be used any time.
It can be easier to use a butterfly than a yarn bobbin. In my experience, plastic yarn bobbins get tangled more than butterflies. Plus, I can never find enough bobbins when I’m ready to start a complex intarsia project.
OK, I didn’t say that very well in words. It’s really quite easy to do, so let’s try some pictures. Follow these step-by-step instructions or watch the video at the bottom of the post.
Hold the yarn tail under your thumb and out of the way.
2. Begin wrapping the yarn around your fingers in a figure-8 pattern.
3. As you wrap, keep the strands parallel to each other. Don’t let them cross over each other.
4. When you have wrapped enough, pinch the yarn bundle together at the center point, and slide it off your fingers.
5. Leaving at least 12″ [30 cm], cut the working yarn. Wrap this end around the center of the bundle. Wrap tightly, but not too tightly.
6. Tuck the end under the center wraps. A crochet hook is handy to use for this task.
7. When you have finished, use the working end (the end that was under your thumb). It should pull out neatly as you need it, leaving the rest of the yarn still wrapped up in its butterfly shape.
Early Bird Tickets are only $55 now through Monday, September 2.
After Labor Day ticket prices will increase to $80, so buy now to lock in the lower price.
Tell Me More
Our experts are passionate about sharing their love of crochet with others. Whether your goal is to improve your skills in hat making, gather the bravery to begin your first sweater, or dive into short rows, our goal is to help you. We have handpicked these teachers and designers to bring you the best instructors on a variety of crochet topics.
Getting to an in-person conference can be a barrier for some crocheters. You want to improve your skills and meet new people, but work, family life and budget constraints can make that impossible. Stitch Makers Live is the affordable alternative, because you’re only paying for the classes, not for flights, hotel rooms, restaurant food, and so on.
Stitch Makers Live is the only crochet-only online conference, and we’d love you to be part of the excitement.
How Does Stitch Makers Live Work?
When you buy a ticket to Stitch Makers Live you’ll get access to a private Facebook group that is only open to Stitch Makers Live participants and teachers.
The event runs September 19-21. The live video classes and interaction with the teachers will take place on the private Facebook group. Instructors will be teaching and interacting with you from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm Eastern each of those days.
And we’ll be having a virtual party from 7:30 pm until 9:00 pm Eastern on Saturday night, September 21!
Edie, What Will You Be Doing?
I’ll be teaching techniques from The Village Hat pattern. You’ll learn my tips for great-looking crocheted motifs and join-as-you-go techniques. The Village Hat pattern includes both charted and text instructions, and it’s free with your Stitch Makers Live attendance.
Most new crocheters question where to put the first stitch of a crochet row. It’s not always clear from reading a pattern where that hook should go. If you don’t get it right, you may gain or lose stitches and have uneven edges.
Knowing where to put the first stitch of a crochet row in every situation will help you maintain the same number of stitches and keep your edges straight!
This article uses American crochet terminology. I’m assuming you want to keep the same number of stitches on each row, and to have straight sides. Be sure to watch the videos listed below to get a good close-up look of where I’m putting the first stitch of the second row in different situations.
The key to knowing where to put your hook lies in understanding turning chains. Turning chains are the chains at the beginning of a row that bring your hook up to the level of the next row, ready to work the new row.
Your pattern will tell you how many turning chains to work, and whether that turning chain counts as a stitch. If the pattern doesn’t indicate whether the turning chain counts, you can decide for yourself.
Type of Stitch
Typical Turning Chain
Does Turning Chain Count as a Stitch?
sometimes; you can decide
usually but not always
usually but not always
When the Turning Chain Counts as a Stitch
If the turning chain counts as a stitch and you don’t want to increase or decrease, the second stitch of the row or round (the first “real” dc, for example) goes into the stitch that is one stitch to the left of the stitch at the base of the turning chain. Or one stitch to the right if you are working left-handed.
The last stitch of a row goes into the top of the turning chain from the row below. The last stitch of a round goes into the last stitch of the previous round.
Here’s what that looks like in a stitch charts and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 13 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain counts as a stitch.
Watch How to Work Double Crochet to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, and count the ch-3 turning chain as a stitch.
When the turning chain counts as a stitch, if you put the first stitch into the same stitch as the base of the turning chain, you’ll increase. If you don’t remember to put the last stitch into the top of the turning chain, you’ll decrease.
When the Turning Chain Doesn’t Count as a Stitch
If the turning chain does not count as a stitch, and you want to maintain the same number of stitches, the first stitch of the second row goes into the stitch at the base of the turning chain because you completely ignore the turning chain.
The last stitch of the row goes into the last “real” dc, because the turning chain is ignored. Here’s what that looks like in a stitch chart and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 14 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain does not count as a stitch.
Watch Single Crochet with Edie Eckman starting at about 3:32 to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, but not count the ch-1 turning chain as a stitch.
When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, if you skip the stitch at the base of the chain and work into the next stitch, you’ll decrease. If you put the last stitch of the row into a turning chain, you’ll increase.
Reminders: Where to Put the First Stitch
Remember:When the turning chain counts as a stitch, treat it like one.
It has magically become a stitch (because the pattern told you so). Why would you put another stitch in the same place? And why would you not work into it on the way back?
Remember:When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, ignore it completely.
Your edges will be straight, your stitch count will stay the same, and you’ll stop worrying about where that stitch should go!