Saturday, May 17, 2014

How to: Taller crochet stitches

  Most lists of the basic crochet stitches end with the triple crochet. Call it a new technique, or call it breaking the rules: I'm tired of being limited to the height of a triple crochet, and I'm not going to take it anymore! 


  Why isn't there a taller stitch? I've received varying answers from many crocheters, but I've never heard the suggestion "try it".


  There are two basic points of view I've heard about the subject: It doesn't exist, or, there's no purpose for it. With all due respect, I have two responses: I've made it exist, and there is a purpose. The purpose is to create whatever you want, without the limitations. 



  This tutorial will teach you how to make a stitch of whatever height is physically possible for you to make. Beginning with an explanation of what the basic stitches consist of and how they work, we will move on to understanding how to use this knowledge to create stitches taller than the triple crochet.




  As a bonus, I'm using a variegated yarn to show you the interesting results you can achieve with taller stitches. For practice, use whatever size yarn and hook is most comfortable for you.




For beginners:

  There is a solid rule of how a crochet stitch is made. For a moment, forget what stitch you are making, and consider what makes it happen
  All basic crochet stitches (excluding half-stitches) are created by pulling up a loop through a stitch, then you yarn over, pull through two loops, until there is only one loop left on the hook. The amount of times you yarn over before you begin the stitch determines what height it will be. 

We'll cover the three most common basic stitches quickly:


Single crochet (sc) - 1 chain high. Do not yarn over. Insert hook into stitch, pull up one loop, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.



Double crochet (dc) - 3 chains high. Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through remaining two loops.



Triple crochet (tr) - 4 chains high. Yarn over twice, insert hook into stitch, pull up a loop. (Yarn over, pull through two loops)  three times.



Then there is the less common five chain-high Double triple crochet (dtr), which requires three yarn overs. Although its use has been documented, this stitch is often left off the list of basic stitches.


As you can see, each basic stitch increases one chain in height with each extra yarn over. So what is stopping us from making a stitch any height we want?


The formula:

  Get out your calculator, you'll have to do some complicated math to figure this out... 
I'm kidding, relax. The simple, magical formula to make a stitch in any height is:

(Number of chains high - 2) = Number of yarn overs.


How do you figure the starting chain? Once you have worked the number of chains needed, chain the amount equal to the number of chains the stitch is high. This counts as your first stitch. Add one to the number you just chained, and that is how many chains away from the hook you will begin.

(Starting chain + stitch height) = Total number to chain 


(Stitch height + 1) = Number of chains to skip for beginning stitch


And to make sure you are completing the stitch correctly, count the number of steps you make to complete the stitch, beginning with the first loop pulled up. The number of steps will be the same as the number of chains high the stitch is.


So, if you wanted to make a stitch 100 chains high, you would yarn over 98 times before inserting your hook in the 101st chain away from the hook. Starting the count with the first loop pulled up, the stitch would take 100 steps to complete.

I would love to complete such a stitch, just to say "I did it", but I don't have room to yarn over so many times on a regular hook.


I just finished designing a cowl using a stitch 10 chains high, but I don't know what to call the stitch in the pattern. I considered using metric prefixes, calling it the "deca-stitch", but then what would you call a stitch 20 chains high? A double-deca? Spoken aloud, it sounds silly to me. Maybe you can help me decide. 


What is the tallest stitch you can accomplish? Would you give these stitches names or just label them by height? I would love to hear comments or see pictures of your results.


To make a stitch 10 chains high:

The formula is 10 - 2 = 8, so you will yarn over 8 times.

Insert hook into designated stitch, pull up a loop.
(Step 1)

*Yarn over, pull through 2 loops*
(Step 2)

*2 times
(Step 3) 

* 3 times
(Step 4)

 *4 times
(Step 5)

*5 times
(Step 6)

 *6 times
(Step 7)

 *7 times
(Step 8)

 *8 times
(Step 9)

*9 times
(Step 10)

Now you've completed a stitch 10 chains tall, twice the height of the double triple.

Ready to push the limits? This one is 20 chains high. Lacking a longer hook, I was unable to yarn over any more times without losing the loops off the back of the hook while working the stitch. It would also be an awful lot of pictures. Do you have a longer hook? Go for it!


20 - 2 = Yarn over 18 times.

Yarn over, insert hook, pull up a loop.
(Step 1)

*Yarn over, pull through 2 loops*
(Step 2)

*2 times
(Step 3)


 *3 times
(Step 4)

 *4 times
(Step 5)

 *5 times
(Step 6)

*6 times
(Step 7)

 *7 times
(Step 8)

 *8 times
(Step 9)

 *9 times
(Step 10)

 *10 times
(Step 11)

*11 times
(Step 12)

*12 times
(Step 13)

*13 times
(Step 14)

*14 times
(Step 15)

 *15 times
(Step 16)

*16 times
(Step 17)

*17 times
(Step 18)

*18 times
(Step 19)

*19 times
(Step 20)

It takes some practice, especially for a beginner. When I first began experimenting with these stitches, the top of the stitch would be twice as wide as the bottom, because the loops at the back of the hook would loosen as I worked the stitch. Originally, I assumed tighter tension would be better, but I was wrong. I found it best to keep my tension slightly loose when I yarn over, which becomes more difficult with each additional loop. Experiment, practice, hone your skills, and change the way you think of crochet. 

Can these stitches be utilized in everyday crochet? Would you use taller stitches in a project? What would you make?

4 comments:

  1. I love making taller stitches. I have found that using your index finger to control the yarn helps. Just lay your finger on top of the wraps keeps them under control. A little awkward at first but gets easier with practice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've messed with taller stitches as an experiment, so you're not alone, Jenny. :-) I just never knew it was something others did, too. I even ran stitches perpendicular into the tall stitches. I experiment a lot, lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you're not alone either, then! :) It is rare, but it is done. I would like to start creating more patterns utilizing these stitches, so maybe they would gain some popularity.
      Experimenting is fun. Keep it up!

      Delete

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