My New Friend, The Chain Stitch

May 27, 2011

As I continue to try and challenge my crochet skills, one designer I find myself turning to for innovative technique and construction is Knitting Daily’s own crochet expert, Kristin Omdahl.  I’ve said before that I need small projects that will help teach me the lessons I need and work up quickly so that I can move on to the next. 

To that end, Crochet So Fine has recently become my companion. This book contains quite a few patterns where you chain, and chain, and I mean CHAIN… Never has the value of making beautiful, even chains become clearer to me than while making the Chains Bucket Hat (at left). 

My first go involved chains that were mutated, distinctly un-chain like messes. Some inappropriate language was bandied about.  But I learned from it, and began anew with a different hook and a healthy respect for the skills required.  So I wanted to share with you what I learned to do and not do during this process. A chain is usually the first thing you learn to crochet, and it is a skill you’ll implement in almost every project that you make. When you can master the trick of making even chains everything seems to click. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

 *Keep the thumb and forefinger holding the work close to the hook

*Push the new chain to the center of the shaft of the hook to maintain consistent size in the chains.

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*      *Don’t accept a pattern exactly as written. Change your hook size! Using a hook one size larger than the size you intend to use for the project can loosen up a taut foundation chain.

*     * Consider the type of hook you use.  Making even chains can be exceptionally difficult when the material the hook is made of doesn’t jive with the yarn.  Some yarns lend themselves well to bamboo hooks, and some are happier with an aluminum one.  Let the two play together, and if they feel like they’re fighting then it’s time for them to separate.  

*     * Relax and breathe.  The wonder of crochet is how easy it is to rip out. No stitch you have made cannot be reworked with a new understanding of what the pattern which you are working requires.  And remember, the miracle that is blocking can cure a lot of ills.

 

        Best of luck and keep me updated in all your future chaining endeavors.

     

 

 


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Comments

photogmomma wrote
on May 27, 2011 2:18 PM

I can't even begin to tell you how timely this is! Thanks for the tips... I'm making a scarf as a gift with a similar construction to the shawl (my book isn't in front of me!) that has chains and the little flowers on it... Love that shawl and this scarf is teaching me a LOT! And so is your post... Thanks again!

on May 28, 2011 7:38 AM

Yay, photogmomma! So glad my messes are of use to others, and I promise there will be many more to learn from :)

on May 30, 2011 9:06 AM

Great tips! Remembering the basics is key to all patterns.  Thanks!