Sunday, March 26, 2017

Casting on in Crochet

I've ripped out the Diana Bobble Blanket I was working on. I played with crochet cables for a bit before I realized that this light blue yarn I'm working on would be perfect for it. So I'm back starting the Diana blanket again, this time in blue. I'm also hoping that this color will be easier to match when I need more.

I was working with foundation stitches for this and the cabling I was practicing. The foundation stitches in crochet are really useful and make the beginning of a blanket much easier. The stitches however, are just so loose and prone to large holes. The foundation row therefore is very obvious from the rest of the stitches.

I found a description of these troubles in single crochet on Vashti Braha's blog. She uses a foundation that is basically foundation slip stitch rather than foundation single crochet. This makes the foundation row much smaller and compact. It does not however, remove the problem with the holes making the foundation look much different from the rest of the piece. Then I had an ah-ha moment.

A little while ago, I made a foray into the world of slip stitch crochet; the kind that mimics knitting. They use the long tail cast on that knitting uses, and instead of keeping the loops all on the hook, you basically bind off each stitch as it is added. Specifically, I learned it from Carter Bendy's book Knit 1, Purl 2 in Crochet. But you can look up any instructions on the long tail cast on for knitting and just use the hook.


This cast on is especially good for crochet as it only requires one needle, or in this case, a hook. You start with a loop already on the hook. Work the long tail cast on to put a second loop on. Then pull that second loop through the first one to bind it off. Rinse and repeat.

This creates a very tight foundation. It's especially good for slip stitch crochet, because you only need to work into the back loop when you start the first real row. For me however, I need to work into both of the top loops, because I am working with single crochet stitches.

I found that while I can insert the hook into the correct place, it is a very tight fit. So I decided to use a hook two sizes too big. That way, I will be able to work my first row with much more ease. I've decided it's going to be my go-to foundation for single crochet stitches. The resulting foundation looks more like you simply worked into the back loops of a chain. At least on the right side. The other side looks almost purl-like.

I decided to flip it like a chain and work through the back loops. You might ask why I bother casting on at this point if it is much faster to make a chain. I reply by pointing out to you that this "chain" is much easier to work into and less fiddly, and also more firm in size. A normal chain can be much looser than the stitches worked into it.

Who knew that you could use so many knitting techniques in crochet? Pretty awesome if you ask me. With single crochet stitches, the foundation almost disappears. It looks just like working into the back loop of a regular chain, without the downsides. Magnificent.

Hug some yarn for me!


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