Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"As the Chain Turns"

I'm still chuckling since yesterday afternoon. Those ladies that work at KnitTogether have an awesome sense of humor and when we get together it often comes with an "Ah HA!" moment.

One of the things I enjoyed yesterday is that we got a lot of great compliments wearing the roses I crocheted for all the employees. With the outside world being cold, frozen, and white, inside it looked like Spring had arrived. I just loved it!

I also enjoyed "converting" one of the employees from being a knitter to a "happy hooker." She's doing just fantastic -- so fantastic, in fact, that she discovered a discrepancy in a book on how to do Turning Chains. A few other folks in the store gathered around and wanted to know why I was teaching something entirely different from what the book was explaining. So, let me go into this a bit further.

For newbies, Turning Chains are the number of chains needed to give the work "lift." Without the Turning Chains the work would eventually curl and we normally don't want that. Our goal is to get our work to lay flat, and the Turning Chains need to "measure up" to the size stitch that we're working on. This employee, the newbie to crochet, had paid close attention to this lesson and wanted to know why my instructions of where to place that first stitch of the new row differed from the crochet instructional book.

I looked at the instructions, and then looked at where the book was published. "Ah HA!!" That explained it all. It was European.  Not American.  Being that I am a Certified Crochet Teacher through the Craft Yarn Council of America, and a Professional Member of the Crochet Guild of America -- two of the largest craft/crochet organizations of the world -- I teach my students the American method of Turning Chains that they recommend.

What this means is that when you create the single crochet, you make one turning chain and then work in the immediate first stitch.
When you make the half double crochet -- it's two turning chains, and again working in the immediate first stitch.
But when you startworking with the larger stitches the rule changes. The double crochet starts the rule of skipping the first stitch and starting in the next thus forcing the turning chain to become the first stitch of the new row.

If you visit the CGOA's website, you'll find a chart on Turning Chains that does a great job explaining this.

Should you find yourself forcing your Turning Chain to become the first stitch for anything smaller than a double crochet, it's European. Does it make a difference? I don't think so, but some would argue that it does. I think as long as you're making the Turning Chains and your work is consistent -- then go with it.  :)


7:21 PM UPDATE:  Some of my readers have emailed me privately stating that they cannot locate the page on the CGOA website that shows the chart I mentioned for the Turning Chains.  So, to help everyone out, I've changed the link so it will go directly to the page on the CGOA website.  So now you can get to the page by clicking onto the "CGOA" reference in the sentence above, or you can Click Here.  Also, yes, I changed the title of the entry because "As the Stitch Turns" didn't really seem to fit since, basically, the entry is about Chains ... Turning Chains.  J

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