Adding Crochet to Your Knitting Toolbox
by Sara Leighton, designer and blogger
As a crochet designer, it is evident that I think crochet has a great deal of stand-alone merit. Crochet projects, patterns, and techniques have come a very long way from the granny squares and stiff fabrics of the 60’s and 70’s. The craft is so versatile; it can be sturdy or sweet, funky or feathery, chic or country. Crochet’s value is sometimes dismissed by certain parts of the knitting community. I invite you to keep an open mind! Did you know that crochet can be a great addition to knitting projects as well? Here are three reasons that you should consider learning at least basic crochet stitches, along with three suggestions on how to use them.
Reason #1: Being “multi-stitchual” spurs creativity.Each fiber art that we try helps us become more well-rounded. When I learned to knit it absolutely affected the way that I viewed my crochet. If you learn to crochet you may being to see your knitting in a new way. It may generate new and different ideas for projects or modifications and provide you with a fresh look at individual stitches and how they fit together.
Reason #2: Knitting patterns may suggest using crochet and/or a crochet hook.Fixing mistakes, adding beads, and reinforcing button holes will all become much easier if you are already comfortable holding and working with a crochet hook. A baseline of crochet knowledge will also help you to select the hook size that is best for the job.
Reason #3: Each craft has strengths and weaknesses.If you know how to both knit and crochet, it will allow you to choose which craft is right for your particular project. Do you want to make a tight basket that will easily stand up on its own? Crochet is here to help. Looking to create flexible socks? Knitting may be your best bet. Limiting yourself to only one craft means shutting out hundreds of potential project ideas and patterns.
Even the most basic of crochet stitches and techniques can be used to improve your knitting projects.
Here are three basic suggestions for utilizing crochet in knitting.
Suggestion#1: Add a single crochet border
A single crochet border is clean and crisp, helpful for cleaning up bumpy edges. You attach the yarn to the hook with a slip knot in the same way that you would attach it to the needle in knitting. Next, attach to the item in any location with a slip stitch. Then you can work single crochet stitches along any edge by inserting the hook between rows and/or stitches. Rounding corners is a cinch as well. Fasten the yarn off by pulling the tail through the last open stitch similar to knitting.
Suggestion #2: Create a simple no-sew seam with slip stitches.
I am not a huge fan of sewing with a yarn needle. Happily, slip stitches allow for the creation of quick and sturdy seams. You can seem any two edges together by working slip stitches between rows and/or stitches, inserting the hook through both pieces of fabric.
Suggestion #3: Make it pretty with a lace border.
Using crochet means no knitting extra rows ahead of time or thinking about the border at the beginning of the project. You can add a lace border to your project at the very end. This simple border only uses three simple stitches: slip stitch, single crochet, and double crochet. For the interested learner, there are endless options when it comes to beautiful crochet borders. Also, remember that going around corners and from horizontal to vertical edges is easy.
Here’s an example of a complete hybrid project. I knit a simple scarflette with a keyhole, based on Kate Donaldson’s Beginner Keyhole Scarf (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/beginner-keyhole-scarf).
I added a single crochet edge to the left and right sides to stop the fabric from curling, as well as a simple shell border on each end to make the scarflette more feminine. Finally, I reinforced the keyhole with single crochet as well.
There are many digital and print resources out there, both free and paid, that can help you to learn crochet. Read your yarn labels to find out which size of crochet hook you should start with. Spend a little time with a hook one of these days and you will be making a meaningful investment into your fiber crafting. I am proud to call myself “multi-stitchual”. Join me!
A huge nod and thanks to Sara Leighton, a passionate crochet designer and blogger from Seattle, Washington. Her insight is much appreciated and if you would like to get to know her a bit better you can contact her by email firstname.lastname@example.org.