Crochet Lyceum: Crochet 101 – Class 4/6: More Stitches and Changing Colors

Welcome to Week 4 of Crochet 101, the first CAL/class in the Crochet Lyceum with Underground Crafter series.

Visit this post for the full course outline and more information about how to participate.

Week 4: More Stitches and Changing Colors

This week, we will learn one more stitch, learn a simple technique for creating stripes, and will continue exploring gauge and pattern reading.  Here is our outline for this week’s post:

  • Review homework and questions
  • Double crochet stitch
  • Working under both loops
  • One method for changing colors
  • Creating simple stripes
  • Review of gauge and pattern reading using a three stitch pattern
  • Homework

Today’s post includes text and video.  As with the previous weeks, I recommend that you read through the text first before watching the video.

Review Homework

How did your crunch stitch project or swatch look?  What was it like reading the pattern? There were several great questions on the week three Ravelry’s thread about gauge.

  • Stitches per inch vs. swatch size: Some patterns list gauge as the number of stitches in an inch, and some list gauge as the number of stitches in a swatch (usually, but not always, measured at 4 inches by 4 inches).  In general, I would recommend that you follow the instructions of the pattern writer for measuring gauge – in other words, make the swatch if that is suggested :).  However, you can also find the stitches per inch by dividing the number of stitches in the swatch by the number of inches in the swatch.
  • Gauge differences when you work in the front loop only, back loop only, the “third loop”, or under both loops: Using the front loop only, back loop only, the “third loop,” or both loops will change the gauge slightly. You may want to make swatches with more than one of the methods so you can see which you would you prefer for this particular pattern. You should measure the gauge for that method.
  • Getting correct gauge for a swatch, rather than stitches per inch: Last week, I gave some examples of how to change your gauge when it is measured by stitches per inch.  If you are trying to make a swatch of a certain size, if your swatch is smaller, you would need to make the entire swatch larger – you could use a larger hook, a thicker yarn, or a looser tension. If your swatch is larger, you need to make the entire swatch smaller – you could use a smaller hook, a thinner yarn, or a tighter tension.

There was also a question about whether you should turn and then chain, or chain and then turn.  It actually doesn’t matter, as long as you make your turning chains before you start your stitches into the next row.

Any other questions about gauge or last week’s lesson?

Double Crochet Stitch

The double crochet is another one of the basic stitches of crochet.  I would say it is definitely one of the most popular stitches.  It is a bit taller than the others we have learned so far, and has a very nice drape.  For those of you who have admired granny squares from afar, they are usually made up using mostly double crochet stitches and chains.

Six rows of double crochet stitches, worked into the front loop only.

Download this handout to learn how to form the double crochet stitch.

Working under both loops

We’ve tried working into the back loop (which creates a very textured crochet fabric), working into the front loop (which creates a mildly textured crochet fabric), and working into the third loop for the half double crochet stitch.  Today, let’s try working under both loops.

For this method, insert your hook underneath both loops as you make your stitches.

This technique creates the least textured crochet fabric.  It also creates a stiffer fabric with less drape. In the video, I will demonstrate working under both loops.

One method for changing colors

One method of changing colors is to change the color during the last yarn over of the last stitch in a row.  This method allows each row to retain its own color.

(c) 1984, The National Needlework Association, Inc.

For the single, double, and triple crochet (which we will learn next week), use the new color for the yarn over when you have two loops of the last stitch in the row left on the hook. For the half double crochet, use the new color for the yarn over when you have the last three loops of the last stitch in the row on the hook. In the video, I will demonstrate changing colors for a double crochet stitch.

Creating simple stripes

An easy way to create stripes without a lot of ends to weave in later is to change colors every second row.  With this method, you carry the yarn along the side of your project.  In the video, I will demonstrate this technique. At the end of the project, you can create a border to “cover up” your yarn ends.

Watch the video and practice

Now that you’ve read about the double crochet and color changes, check out the video.  Practice making at least 12 rows, and making at least 5 color changes.

Review of gauge and pattern reading

Last week, we tried a simple two stitch pattern.  Now, let’s try a pattern that uses three of the stitches we’ve learned.  This stitch pattern is usually called the sedge stitch.

Unfortunately, the texture of this stitch is somewhat difficult to photograph.

Start with a multiple of 3 chains, +1, + 2 for the foundation chain. Row 1: Turn.  Sk 2 chs (counts as first sc).  (Hdc, dc) in next ch.  *Sk 2 chs, (sc, hdc, dc) in next ch.*  Repeat from * to * across row to last 3 chs.  Sk 2 chs, sc in last ch. Row 2: Turn.  Ch 1 (counts as first sc).  Sk ch. (Hdc, dc) in sc.  *Sk dc and hdc, (sc, hdc, dc) in next sc.*  Repeat from * to * across row to last 3 sts.  Sk dc and hdc.  Sc in t-ch. Repeat Row 2 until you reach desired length.


For next week:

  • Practice reading patterns by making the sedge stitch (as a swatch, or as part of a project).
  • Compare your stitches worked under both loops with your stitches worked into the front loop or back loop only.  Do you have a preference, in general?  Do you have a preference for each stitch?
  • Continue practicing the double crochet stitch.

You can post a reply here, on Flickr, or my Ravelry group if you have any questions or want to share your pictures of your stitches and projects.

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