Sunday, March 1, 2009

March is National Crochet Month

It's here! It's here! No, not the expected 10" of snow (althougth it is expected to arrive later today). It's National Crochet Month! A time to celebrate all that is wonderful about the art of crochet!!

In honor of this celebration, my CGOA Chapter, The HHCC, has a display at the Bethel Library (located in CT). Our focus this year was babies and charities with the challenge of "each one teach two."

As part of NATCROMO, I am going to challenge you, my readers, to learn something new about crochet. Maybe a new technique, or learning how to read patterns, or gasp, learning to love swatching.

Let's take the example of Cindy, who wrote to me requesting assistance with this stitch. She writes, "I want to make a scarf using the thistle stitch but I can't figure out how many to chain. Can you help me?"

The clue in figuring out how many chains one should start a given project with begins in figuring out what the stitch repeat is. For the stitch Cindy was inquiring about, the Thistle stitch, also known as the Leaf Stitch (another of my favorites), is based upon the single crochet.

If we read the instructions it says we'll be skipping one stitch and then making two stitches in the next. So it would look something like this (read right to left, my normal crochet flow direction):

sc, sc sk sc, sc sk sc,sc sk <-first row
ch ch ch ch ch ch<-foundation chain

I have changed the colors above to reflect the skipping of one stitch and the creating of two in the next as the directions state. This means that the repeat, or the multiple is 2, is instructing Cindy to create her chain for as long as she'd like as long as she can divide the number she created by two.

But she is not done yet. The next thing Cindy will need to do is look at what the first stich is. In this case it is a single crochet. The Crochet Golden Rule (in America) states that for single crochet stitches a single chain is equal to the height of a single crochet stitch. So Cindy would need to add just one more chain to her total to utilize the Thistle/Leaf stitch pattern. If you take a look in stitch pattern books the multiple is usually stated for you and will look something like this: multiple 2+1

And there you have it. If you didn't know about multiples, then you've learned something new -- and you learned it during National Crochet Month! If you already knew about multiples, then consider this a great lesson to pass on to another crocheter. Go, get crochet stitch happy, and celebrate National Crochet Month!

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