Monday, October 1, 2018

Stitch Swatch Sampler: General Information and Swatch 1 Instructions

I am very excited about our new Stitch Swatch Sampler project!  I have been busily crocheting swatches and writing out instructions.  It is my hope that this project will build crochet skills, not only in beginner crocheters, but in intermediate and advanced ones, as well.  I intend to include some "Pro Tips" in the instructions that even advanced crocheters may find interesting.

A friend was asking if I thought she could use the swatches to teach her grandchildren to crochet.  I think this would work well for teaching someone who has never crocheted before.  To that end, I will try to include instructions for the basic stitches from a booklet I wrote years ago, entitled Crochet Basics.

  I would recommend spending additional time on the first swatch that utilizes each of the basic stitches (sc, dc, hdc, tr) to make sure the beginner can work them evenly and achieve gauge, before moving on to the more advanced swatches.  It would probably be a good idea to make several swatches of each basic stitch, to become comfortable with working that stitch.

Here is the information you need to do this project.


**Please note that we will be using American terminology and American hook sizes for this project!

Materials:  Worsted Weight Yarn, Size 4,  6 oz. for a 12 by 12-inch pillow
30 oz. for size 3 ft by 4 ft throw
50 oz. for size 4 ft by 5 ft throw
Size I hook (but you may need to use a larger or smaller hook to achieve gauge for some                     of the swatches)

I have had such fun playing around with stitch patterns for the swatches, and I have been learning new things, too.  The "Pro Tips" for the Single Crochet Swatch are things I have discovered recently...I hope you will find them useful.  So now, without further ado, here are the instructions for the first swatch!


Single Crochet Swatch

See information below on how to do the chain and the single crochet stitch, if you are new to crochet.

Ch 14.  (Multiple of 1 + 2 turning chains)
Row 1:  Sc in 3rd ch from hook and in each ch across.  Turn work.  12 sts.
Row 2:  Ch 1, sc in each st across.  Turn work.  Rep Row 2 until you have 15 rows or 4 inches.

Abbreviations:  Ch  Chain     sc  single crochet     st  stitch     Rep  repeat

Single Crochet Pro Tips:
  • ·         Always use a starting chain that is 2 stitches more than the number of stitches you need for your project, and work your first sc into the 3rd stitch from the hook, for the neatest corner.  This is different than the way I was taught, and the way I describe in Crochet Basics, but it works better.
  • ·         When you reach the last stitch of the row, instead of working into this stitch, work into the starting chain of the previous row, for a nice, straight edge.
  • ·         When turning your work at the end of a row, try turning the piece to the back, then to the left, rather than forward as if you were turning the page in a book…I have found that this produces a nicer edge (note that the instructions below say differently...I have learned some new tricks since I wrote those instructions!).
Note:  Be sure to check your gauge when you complete this piece.  It should measure 4 inches by  4 inches.  If your piece is bigger, try using a smaller hook.  If it is smaller, switch to a larger one.  Gauge is very important in crochet…it will help you make the finished product the size you want it to be.  I have designed each square to be 4 inches, but only if you get the same gauge I do, and that may not happen on your first try.

If you cannot get the same gauge by using a different hook, you could try working a little tighter or looser.  Or you could alter the number of stitches and rows in your square.  This gets more complicated with taller or more intricate stitch patterns, but it may be possible.  I will try to post the stitch multiples for each stitch, to make it easier to figure out how many starting chains you need.  For sc, you can chain any number to start, plus two turning chains.

Feel free to make as many of each swatch as you want!  If you want to stop with single crochet, you could make all the squares for your blanket using just that one stitch.  But I really hope you will be inspired to try more of the stitches, and develop your skills while having fun with us.

The first dozen or so of these stitches were adapted from the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, which has a section of stitch patterns.  But we will be drawing from other sources, too.

Excerpted from Crochet Basics by Rebecca Harmon
Crochet is a method of making fabric from yarn, which is made into a series of interlocking loops using a hook.  Here are the most common crochet stitches. 


With the tail of the yarn hanging down from the little finger, wrap the yarn around the fingers of the left hand as shown in Fig. C-1.
Fig. C-1

Pick up the crochet hook and hold it as you would a pencil.  Insert the hook through the loop on your thumb with the point of the hook pointing towards the tip of the thumb.  See Fig. C-2.
Fig. C-2

 Rotate the tip of the hook counter-clockwise so the yarn between the thumb and the index finger is caught on the hook (see Fig. C-3).

Fig. C-3

 Carefully pull the tip of the hook back through the thumb loop; slip the thumb from the loop and pull the ends of the yarn until the loop is snugged up just under the hook.  Do not pull the loop too tight, because you will need to insert the hook into it later.  You have just made the first stitch of your chain.

Now, holding the first stitch between the thumb and middle finger of your left hand, catch the yarn on the hook again (Fig. C-4), and draw through the loop on the hook (the old loop will slide off the hook and the new loop will be in its place).
Fig. C-4

Continue catching the yarn and drawing it through the loop on the hook until the chain is the desired length. 

Single Crochet

Now we are ready to start forming the fabric.  We will begin with the single crochet stitch (abbreviated sc).  Pull the chain out so that it stretches away to the left of the loop on the hook.  Insert the tip of the hook into the 2nd chain from the hook (see Fig. SC-1).
Fig. SC-1
 Catch the yarn on the hook, and draw through the chain stitch; there are now 2 loops on the hook (Fig. SC-2).

Fig. SC-2
Catch the yarn again, and draw through both loops on the hook (one single crochet stitch completed).  Insert the hook into the next chain stitch to the left, catch the yarn, draw through the chain, catch the yarn again, and draw through both loops on the hook.  Continue working a single crochet (sc) into each chain across.

Second Row:

Make 1 chain stitch at end of Row 1, then turn the piece of crochet as if it were a page in a book.  Insert the hook under the top two loops of the first single crochet stitch (the one at the right end of your work).  Catch the yarn and draw through the stitch; catch the yarn again and draw through both loops on the hook.  Continue to work one single crochet into the top two loops of each stitch across the row.  The rest of the rows should be worked in the same manner as Row 2.

At the end of the last row of single crochet, cut the yarn about 8 inches from the last stitch.  Pull the hook up so the tail end pops through the top of the last stitch, and pull snugly to secure it and keep your work from unraveling.  This is called ending off or breaking off, and can be done with any stitch.  

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