Friday, March 4, 2016

Lessons in Love Triangles

Crocheting the Love Knot, that is... And how to make triangles with it!

  In this tutorial, you will learn how to make the love knot, the corresponding long single crochet, and how to use them together for a triangular mesh design. Then, get ready for a free crochet pattern! (Coming soon.) I'll be using some el-cheap-o acrylic, because this pattern is actually just a test for another pattern... Since I'll be using different yarn for that, this won't help me at all with my gauge. But... Since my experiments came out quite nicely, I've decided to turn them into a tutorial as well as a free pattern. Practicing? Grab that cheap yarn. Interested in the pattern? You may want something nicer. Hint: It's wearable, but gauge doesn't matter!

love knot, solomon's knot, lover's knot, granny square, crochet, mesh, tutorial

  Creating the Love Knot stitch is simple. Making it pretty is a bit harder. Can you pull up a loop longer than normal, then make a chain? Good. Can you then make a single crochet inside that chain? (That's easier than you think, if you're a newbie to it.) Using those stitches combined with the long single crochet to create a mesh... Now that's where it get's more complicated. But the first thing to cover is: GAUGE!

crochet, gauge, love knot, tutorial, how to

  The Love Knot is a variable stitch; you control the size of it no matter what hook or yarn you're working with. You can see in the example above how much difference can be made just by changing the height of the stitches. If you're following a pattern to create something wearable, then you want to make sure your gauge matches as closely as possible. In the next two examples, you can see how little change it takes to create a big difference in those squares.

love knot, gauge, tutorial

  • The size of this stitch is all about the length of the loop you pull up. A pattern will usually state "pull up a (long) loop the the height of...", and here it would say "1/2 inch". I use my thumb as a guide to keep my stitches consistent, because I know that will give me the 1/2" loop I need. 

crochet, how to, love knot, gauge

  • Other patterns might call for a longer loop. To create the lacier square, I pulled the long loops up to 1", using my index and middle fingers as a guide instead of my thumb. If your pattern calls for a stitch height that you can't meet by using your fingers as a guide, then you'll need to do some measuring. Do you have to measure each and every loop you make? No. But you'll need to check them once in a while to make sure you're staying close to gauge. Working over a cutting mat with marked measurements can be a lifesaver for this.

  To make what is known as the basic "Love Knot", you'll simply pull up that long loop, then complete the stitch. (We'll cover the closing of the stitch in a few moments...) To make a mesh pattern out of it, you'll need to combine those long "chains" with a long single crochet. For an example, let's get a look at the design I'm working with:

crochet, love knot, triangular mesh, granny square

  This mesh uses the same geometrical design as my Mayflower Lace Scarf, without the modified stitches. The problem is that this pattern is worked in the round, which can make a Love Knot mesh confusing. The alternating point-up, point-down triangles all run together as you work around, and it can be difficult to find your beginning stitch if you lose track. If this is your first time working the love knot stitch, you might want to start with an easier pattern.

(And that's why the pattern will be as a tutorial, too, instead of just written instructions! Okay, so I might make a graph for you chart lovers, too...)

Let's learn how to make that stitch!

It may seem like this tutorial goes backwards... But I did that on purpose. You would typically start off a Love Knot pattern with a base chain of love knot stitches. The tutorial for the pattern will cover step-by-step how to start a base chain.

I'm beginning this tutorial in the middle of a round, starting with the long single crochet. If you've never, ever worked the love knot stitch before, then I highly encourage you to begin with a row of basic stitches, and practice the long single crochet first. That will give you a solid base to practice getting your long loops even, and you can fiddle with the more-complicated love knot base when you're more comfortable with the stitch. 

crochet, how to, love knot

  •  Long Single Crochet: Here I'm making the second half of a point-up triangle. To create this shape, you'll start with a long single crochet in one stitch (already made in photo), and pull up a long loop in the next love knot. 

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  • Holding the base of the long loop secure, yarn over and pull through the long loop as for a chain stitch. (2 loops on hook)

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  • Yarn over and pull through both loops as for a single crochet. One long single crochet complete! 

  • Standing alone, you can easily see the point-up triangle shape of this mesh. Written out, this shape would be: Make 1 long single crochet in first stitch, make 1 long single crochet in the next stitch.

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  • Love Knot Stitch: Starting from the top of a long single crochet, or from the end of another love knot stitch, pull up a long loop. Hold the loop secure, yarn over, and pull through as for a chain. 
*See that single strand to the left? The bottom bar of the stitch? That's where you'll work next.

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  • Insert the hook under the bottom bar of the long chain.

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  • Yarn over and pull up a loop. (2 loops on hook)

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  • Yarn over, pull through both loops on the hook. One love knot stitch complete!

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  • Since I'm working this pattern in the round, but it's a square, I need to create corners. I'm adding an extra love knot stitch to the top of a point-down triangle to achieve the shape I need.

  • Working across without an increase, a point-down triangle would be written: (Make long single crochet, love knot, long single crochet) all in the same stitch.

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  • If I'm working a love knot pattern as one piece, I'll fold it over once in a while to check my stitches for consistency. Since this pattern is made of squares, I double-check against another square after every round to make sure the size is the same.

crochet, love knot, gauge, how to

  • You wouldn't want two squares to come out like this! I did that on purpose, because I was still playing with what size I should make the stitches... But it's a good example of why you should check the size of those loops just to be sure. 

So you can see how there are many ways to modify this stitch to achieve the results you want. What will you make?

Happy Crocheting!

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