Friday, July 14, 2017

Lovely Lace

crochet, how to, tutorial, stitch pattern, free, lace, mesh, easy, joining, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, in the round

  I love it when experiments work out in my favor! Today I have a little mini-lesson for you that contains a few different tips, like how to work this lovely lace stitch. But first, I'd like to share with you the story behind how I made one of my favorite mesh stitches into an even-more-delicate lace...

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  Rheumatoid arthritis is still doing its best to cripple these hands of mine, and there are days that holding an "average" size hook is difficult. When I can't close my fingers, I lose hold of the narrow hook and drop it continuously. But I crochet with more motion in my wrists than in my fingers, so I'd have no problem working if I could only keep hold of my hook!

  Sure, a set of ergonomic hooks with big handles might solve the issue, but there's no room for that in the budget after the financial hits I've taken lately. While working on a (top-secret) two-strand afghan with a large plastic hook, I noticed that the bigger hook wasn't causing pressure on my joints and it was easier to hold. I started experimenting with large hooks and worsted weight yarn (like for the textured 1-2-3-Beautiful Scarf). I was pleased with the results at first, but now I think I've blown my own mind with this new project...

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An unusual method:

A size "P" hook meets Woolike yarn by Loops & Threads... This is a super-fine (1) weight yarn with a little bit of stretch, perfect for lace. But WAIT! A 10 mm hook with such a light yarn??? YES. It was a minor battle at first as a tried to keep the springy yarn on the large hook without pulling my loops too tight, but with some practice I started producing a pattern. The result is the same lace mesh I love, but even better. The big loops created by the hook add a bit of a Love Knot look to the stitch. The super-fine yarn works up into a fabric that's light as air and stretches to fit.

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The stitch:

Chain 3, then single crochet in the next available chain space.

Worked in the round, I started this pattern with a magic circle, chained 1 (skip that when joining), and began with a single crochet. I worked a total of 8 chain-spaces in the beginning loop.

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But... How to join?

First, back up... Don't chain 3 for the last space! I showed you in the tutorial for the Be Square Top how to join with a single crochet for a chain-1 space. Now, there's a few options you can make for a chain-3 space:

If you want to begin the next round at the left side of your chain space, you can chain 2 and join with that single crochet. 1 single crochet = 1 chain high. So, 1 single crochet + 2 chains = 3 chains across.

(My method) To begin the next round in the middle of the chain space, chain 1 and join with a half-double crochet. (Half double = 2 chains high)

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To move your beginning spot all the way over to the right side of the chain space, just join with a double crochet stitch. (Double crochet = 3 chains high)

What's next?

This project is worked as a square (in the round), so the stitch pattern stays the same for each space across. To create corners, make an additional (chain-3, single crochet) in the corner space. (Joining space shown above is a corner.)

To start each round in a corner space, begin with one single crochet in the chain space. Work across and around the square, back to the beginning space. Make one single crochet in the beginning chain space, then join with your preferred method.

Here's a chart:
(Click to expand if needed.)

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Now, let me ask: Can you find the joining spaces in the pattern?

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With the corner stitch I'm using, you might think it would be better to join with (chain-2, single crochet) to begin at the left side, right? Yup, I started with that, but noticed my square twisting after round 2. I ripped it out and tried (chain-1, half double crochet)...

Keep in mind that I begin the round with a chain-1 that does not count as a stitch, then make a single crochet after it. This moves the beginning stitch back over to the left a bit, so that I'm not actually beginning the round in the middle of the chain space.

If you want to work a fully round (not square) pattern, you'll need to begin in the middle of that chain space. In that case, you can still use (chain-1, half double crochet), because you're not fighting the twist of a square.
-You can also use the double crochet for a join if you're skipping the beginning chain-1, because the first single crochet will be moved over as it is in my square... Try out different stitch combinations and see which you like best.

In closing...

  As for the rest, I'm keeping it top-secret. I want you to take one, two, or all three of these tips and go create what your imagination wants. Don't care to work with the big hook? You can still use the stitch pattern to work up some beautiful lace. Working a different lace stitch? Go ahead and try some of those stitch combinations for a better join.

  I hope you find something new and fun in the stitch, the join, or by using a bigger hook. I had a more-detailed tutorial planned for the joining combinations, but summer thunderstorms have sabotaged my photos once again. So, I found some fun myself by trying to take some pretty pictures of this romantic lace in the moody lighting... Enjoy!

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crochet, how to, tutorial, stitch pattern, free, lace, mesh, easy, joining, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, in the round

crochet, how to, tutorial, stitch pattern, free, lace, mesh, easy, joining, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, in the round

Happy Crocheting!


  1. Good idea!! And I love the look of this lacey crochet you designed. Perfect joints too!
    PS: I've been working with a large hook myself lately and discovered it went very well. Didn't really have a problem with arthritis, but like you say, you use your wrist and that was a relief for my fingers.
    Have a great weekend, Sigrid

    1. Thanks, Sigrid!
      Arthritis or no, a crocheter's hands take a lot of abuse! The bigger hook is a great way to give them a break. But this is the first I've tried it with a lighter-weight yarn, and I'm amazed at the results. :)
      Enjoy your weekend, too!

  2. Truth be told: I though you'd made this granny out of love knots! Still baffled you haven't. It looks absolutely awesome! It took me so long to respond (and read) cause my hubby was hobgobling around the house and I got not a second of peace all weekend... And I did want to understand the stitch before writing anything down...
    Odd. A friend of mine with rizarthrose always grabs her favourite N°5 hook (or a larger one) when her hands (err... thumbs) get tired and hurt (or she refrains to knitting for a while). Our hands do suffer indeed and though I often think the way one holds a hook may be part of the issue, my biggest problem is my elbow (the right one). I hold my hook pencil-like. To me that's perfect for hooks ranging from a N°3 up to a N°6. If I take a larger hook (anything larger than a N°6) I have to switch to holding my hook knife-like and then my elbow starts howling.
    On top of that I noticed that when working grannies (plain or not) all goes well for a very long time. When I was making those flowers though my hands did tire very quickly (one reason why I'm not into amigurumi). It was blissful and relaxing to make some plain traditional grannies for a change (though I still have to make more flowers for another project).
    Maybe we should try to stop doing any crochet as soon as joints, fingers, wrists or elbows tire or start hurting and give them a rest (even if it's just half an hour). But it's hard to do so as we're always desperate to finish "just" this last granny/row/round...
    Have a lovely week,

    1. Marjan, I'm not the one to help with form, but I wonder if you work elbows-out and that's the cause of your stress? I work with mine at my sides, except for when I'm making a video and need my arms on the table. But then, I can't pencil-hold the hook no matter what I do... Perhaps my form is why I can't make it work.
      I'm starting to think I might not be able to go back to "regular" crocheting after my last round of swollen joints left me with an unusable index finger. The bigger hook was just an experiment, but the results make me want to see how other designs might come out. (I feel like it's "cheating" at creating the love knot.) Something that was supposed to make work easier has inspired more work, of course! But hey, I do take breaks... I have to put the hook down once in a while to drink my coffee, you know.
      Hope you have a wonderful week, too!
      PS - I love those flowers you're working on!
      Oh, and...
      My prescription to cure hobgobling husbands: Bring out a pile of yarns in pinks and purples, then ask which he thinks goes best with the furniture. He'll most likely disappear from sight shortly afterwards and may not return until dinner. Follow-up treatment if the condition persists: Mention that you'd like to rearrange the furniture. ;)

    2. I love your tips for curing hobgobling husbands!!!

    3. Lol :) It tends to work for me. Thanks, Lorna!

  3. I'm so sorry you're experiencing this issue from RA as well. I have Sjögren's syndrome, Lupus and RA and Fibromyalgia and ALL of them
    Cause joint issues of their own kind so I totally can sympathize with you hun and it's torture to keep wanting to create with our hands when we have so much creativity in us that we can't let out of our hands!!! That's why I can really appreciate your tutorial as it's beautiful and hopefully I can pay attention long enough to follow your directions which are very well written! My rheumatologist keeps rooting me on to continue to use my hands daily by crocheting or coloring.. anything that gets them going but it's so hard... I make myself and my poor husband says "there's no crying in crocheting!!" He says it's horrible to watch me try so hard and cry from the pain but I'm a woman determined to keep working thru the pain and stiffness until I slowly am able to get there... it's a slow go but oh so worth it to keep trying every day! Some days I never get my hands going and the pain and stiffness wins after hours of trying my heart out and i get so frustrated I give up... some days it's only takes an hour to get the hands and elbows going... just depends how much I did the day before.. it's terrible and I feel
    Like it's a battle just to do something I love and it's not fair... (insert pity party here lol) but somehow WE keep on trying.. we keep on going... because it's just that awesome when we finally are able to create with our hands. So many take the simple acts of using their hands without so much as an afterthought but for us just getting a drink for ourselves or going to the bathroom.. tying your shoes...just simple everyday things we have to think about and it's so dang frustrating when you can't! So when we CAN... it's like winning!!' Lol
    I just wanted to tell you that you're not alone and some of us know just how hard this was for you... then to type the tutorial? Pats on the back girl! lol you're awesome and thanks for the beautiful pattern stitch

  4. Ohhh I left out what I wanted to share with you in my original post/ comment.!!!! I got to excited haha. But I wanted to tell you that
    Hobby lobby carries the larger hooks In sizes J thru Q that I've found to be a very very VERY close comparison to Furls with the exception of being hand carved wood and out of most of our price ranges... here's the can purchase ALL the sizes they have available for just 1/2 the cost of just ONE Furls crochet hook. Use the coupons and save even more! But trust me when I tell you that They have been a hand, life and sanity saver for me! I almost put down my crochet hooks ( threw them across the room during a pity party lol!) for good before I found these....thank god i did but my dear husband went out and bought me the whole collection...
    I'm not sure if you have a Hobby lobby near you but you MUST get these hooks somehow ! now They are not hand carved wood... I know, I know... I love love love a good wooden crochet hook.. but these are the hobby lobby brand of Yarnology and are made of lightweight acrylic, perhaps plastic coated to be honest and the colors are very pretty and are all color coded per size of the hook so you can quickly identify the size by the color of the hook (I bought a nicer case to store them in and labeled them accordingly because my memory is horrendous lol) They are designed almost identical (this is my personal opinion but if you read the reviews of these hooks, others comment similarly ) to the Furls hooks including the weight of the hook, which is similar to the weight of the wood hooks (Furls) and the most impressive thing is how the handles are almost identical to the Furls, down to the ergonomically correct pattern of the design to the length and width to that of the Furls hook that I tried for a week. I saw absolutely no difference other than the obvious of the Furls being a hand carved masterpiece from some rare wood lol...
    the downside:
    the hooks only come in sizes J-Q at this time but a lot of us have contacted hobby lobby to "Lobby" that they make these in smaller sizes! I don't work due to my illnesses And don't receive disability so I'll never ever own just one Furls hook but I'll tell you that I had the chance to use a friends for a week ( she totally almost didn't get it back lol) and obviously the fuss and hype about the Furls hooks are totally true... worth some of the investment but truth be told after reading the story behind the Furls hooks and the reason the hooks came to fruition and created (it's a great story..about young love blah blah) specifically for tired, cramping, aching hands, wrists and fingers...I actually was kind of mad ( probably more jealous that I'd never own one lol) but I thought to myself that.. omg hey.. I almost had to give up Doing something I enjoy and love to do and here's an answer? Here's a hook that could possibly help alleviate some of the pain and stress on my joints so I could continue to do what I love? Keep my hands and mind active???? Whoaaa wait a minute... yes!!! I'll take them all!!! ummm hmmmm... grrrrr
    THEN I saw I couldn't even afford ONE hook or more that I simply Couldn't justify the cost of purchasing only one.. I mean who can decide what size.. I? No.. I just couldn't do it so somehow I found these hooks and have been hooking along (well any pattern calling for a size J or better lol) happily, less joint paint, less fatigue.. better crochet stitches because that all matters put together!
    Let me know if you want to try them and you can't get them... I promise you... you'll be elated the first time you are just crocheting along with that bulky yarn and a K hook and next thing you know you've completed a scarf and you're NOT in PAIN and your hands aren't numb... yeah.. it's really neat! Here's the link

    I hope this is helpful to anyone like us!! Took me an hour to type this Lmfao -well worth it!

    1. Here's the link
      It wouldn't let me post before
      Well it wouldn't let me publish the link?

    2. Wow - Thanks so much, Jessica! Those hooks are so close to the famous Furls that I have to try them out! There's no Hobby Lobby nearby, but thanks to the power of the internet (lol), I can order them online. I can't wait to try them!
      Don't give up hope on owning true Furls hooks! Hurry, hurry, hurry - Check out Moogly, and you'll find a giveaway:

      Crochet is my physical and mental therapy for RA. It was disappointing enough to have to change jobs because of it, but I'm also glad I was able to find a way to combine my therapy with my new career. With each flareup I see my joints get more twisted, and I lose more strength in my hands... There are days I'm ready to throw it all away and stare at a TV for the rest of my life. But what kind of a life would that be? (I hate TV, anyway.) Like you, I'm determined to keep going. RA is bad enough by itself; I can't imagine having to deal with it along with other pain-causing conditions, too...
      You are strong. Hang in there!

  5. Is there any other yarn than just the wool/ to do this stitching pattern?

    1. This stitch works great with lots of yarns... If you want to use a different weight yarn but you still want to achieve the loose loops I've created here, then you'll have to experiment with hook sizes to get the same look.
      You can see this same stitch worked with worsted weight (4) yarn and a smaller hook in this pattern here:


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