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Using Crochet without Crocheting

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2008

I am not what you would call 'a good knitter.' When I took my first knitting lesson, I was a perfectionist: at work (software engineer), at play (rugby) and at home (the apartment was rearranged on a daily basis). And knitting was no different: I'd knit, rip out, knit, rip out... and then repeat until the yarn was frayed. Ugh. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I didn't have the time to be perfect anymore. So, in typical fashion for me, I went to the other extreme: now when I make mistakes I don't fix them (no one will EVER see the armpit of my sweater)... and if I'm 1 or 2 stitches off, I just execute a few K2TOGS. It drives Sandy crazy, but has made my [knitting] life a lot less stressful.

Non-perfectionism notwithstanding, the saddest part about being a mediocre knitter is that I'm an even worse crocheter. I don't know what it is about crocheting that is so difficult for me. I think that is has to do with the abstractness of it. To give you a little history, I spent the last semester of college in Houston, TX - interning with a Federal Law Enforcement Agency (the story from how I got from there to software to yarn will come another time). The secretary of the Agency quickly took me under her wing (we were the only females for miles) and patiently taught me to crochet during the lunch hour. And I use "patiently" liberally: I just didn't get it. It took me WEEKS before I could get a granny square to actually be square. But once I got the hang of it, I couldn't be stopped - I must have crocheted 30 blankets over the next couple of years. I was definitely addicted. In fact, the blanket below is one I made for my grandmother many years ago. My grandpa said that she used it every day before she passed on. He recently gave it back to me so that I would have something tangible to remember her by (ah, but what I wouldn't give for a device that could hook up to my brain and print out my memories). Ok, I'm rambling. Sorry.

Step 1

As usual, why am I telling you this? Because somehow I lost those crochet abilities after learning to knit. I've tried, but every square turns out to be a trapezoid ... or a hexagon. So, in the spirit of not banging my head against the wall, I've decided that I will reserve crocheting for putting borders on knitted items. And I couldn't be happier. I LOVE knitting up a tank top and then crocheting a contrasting color around the neckline, armholes, and bottom. Or - crocheting a border around a baby blanket (I'm planning to do that with the pink/brown one I'm working on right now...). And now I'll show you how to do the same!

Step 1

Step 1: Insert your crochet hook through the hole right underneath the little "V" (it's a stitch that has been bound off). Using the hook, grab the yarn that you want to crochet with (the red yarn in this example). (Note: If you're not working on an edge that is as clean (the sides, for example), just insert the hook through part of the edge - and try to consistent in terms of where along the edge you are crocheting.)

Step 2

Step 2: Pull the red yarn through and keep it on the crochet hook (basically, you just used your crochet hook to reach through and capture the red yarn...)

Step 3

Step 3: Using the same technique as in Step 1, insert your needle into the next stitch to the left... and grab the red yarn again. Once you pull that through, you'll have 2 stitches/loops on your crochet hook.

Step 3
Step 4

Step 4: Now, use the hook to grab a bit of the red yarn. Pull that red yarn through the 2 loops on the hook (not too tightly). You'll be left with 1 red loop on the hook.

Step 4

Now that you have 1 loop on the hook, keep repeating Steps 3 and 4 until you've worked your way to the end of the swatch. Since this is a square (I can knit a square!), there are corners. You'll want to treat each corner as if it were 2 stitches... In other words, you're going to crochet into the corner twice (as opposed to just crocheting once into each stitch above). That way, the border won't buckle around the corners. Once you get all of the way around the swatch, you can finish it by repeating Step 3, but inserting your crochet hook through the first red stitch you made. Instead of leaving it on the needle (for a total of 2 stitches), pull that stitch through the one that was on the needle... cut your yarn and pull the cut end through that last stitch. Voila!

Step 1

Posted by Jimmy (Laura) of Jimmy Beans Wool

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