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How I Crochet Two Rows at Once (Lacy)

Crochet two rows at once of this lace stitch pattern by using X-stitches and shells of linked taller stitches. One-row version is on the right.

There’s more than one way to crochet two rows at once. You can also crochet three or more rows as one. I’ve only seen other people combine two rows with plain and fairly dense stitches, like rows of all single crochet or double crochet (in UK & AUS that’s doubles and trebles). I’m going to show you how I did it with a lacy stitch pattern.

The green swatches below are from my newsletter, issue #102: “Wild Whys of Y-Stitches”. I didn’t have room to include the lavender ones shown above. That means this post also qualifies as newsletter overflow, woo-hoo!

Crocheting two rows as one is a tall stitch “hack” that I stumbled on while researching X- and Y-shaped stitches with my upcoming online class in mind, Tall Stitch Virtuosity. In this post I’ll break it down, ending with actual row-by-row instructions for a 2-row stitch pattern, and for my one-row version of it.

Linked Stitches: Classic & Beyond

First, we all need to be on the same page about linked stitches if we’re going to crochet two rows at once.

A world of special effects with linking opens up when you can identify the individual strands of a tall stitch. I’m surprised how long it took for my eyes to distinguish what goes on in tall stitches, structurally. I used to think they were like bundles of muscles and ligaments.

So, let’s dig in to what each strand is doing in the post (a.k.a. stem) of an astonishingly tall 2-color stitch. I loaded yarn overs onto my hook with blue yarn. Then I worked them all off the standard way (two by two) with brown yarn. I crocheted it loosely so you can see through the stitch:

Close up of a very tall crochet stitch. The yarn overs are done with a contrasting color to show that intiial yarn overs are a separate strand that wraps around a series of chain stitches. Together this creates the post of a basic tall crochet stitch.
I used this image in issue #94 of my newsletter, “Stitch Parts: Where We’re At” to compare Tunisian crochet similarities.
Close up of stitch pattern with tall stitch clusters; the yarn over strands have been tinted to highlight them within a cluster.

Find the Yarn Over Strands

Here’s a row of 6-dtr split clusters (dtr = double treble; in the UK/AUS it’s ttr). I yarned over 3 times to begin each dtr. The tinting shows where the three yarn overs end up in each stitch post.

Tip: Just count the yarn overs in a stitch post and you know which tall stitch was used…as long as it’s not a variation, such as an extended stitch.

Linking the Classic Way

A classic linked stitch is a tall stitch that is linked all along its post to the yarn over strands of the stitch just before it. I call this “classic” because it seems to be the default or expected way to do a linked stitch, even though in actuality the ways to link them are infinite.

The classic method welds them together from top to bottom. In photo A below, all of the tall stitches are linked in three places. The right cluster is “classic”: all 3 yarn overs link to the 3 yarn overs of the previous stitch. In photo B, this is what you get when you link the yarn over of each double crochet of every row.

In photo C, I forgot to link the clusters in the middle row. The clusters in the bottom and top rows are linked only with the middle yarn over. Can you see the horizontal strands where they’re linked? It causes the cluster to flatten just a bit and to move as one unit, almost like a coin. I like their surface texture. They’d probably become stiff and a bit concave if I linked them the classic way, with all three of their yarn overs.

I’ve used classic linked stitches as borders for Tunisian designs like Liebling and Graven. The pros and cons of classic linked stitches resemble those of Tunisian simple stitch (Tss):

  • It eliminates gaps between tall stitches. This may be its most common use. It also tightens the gauge a bit. It’s a great fabric for a bag (Sterling).
  • It changes the surface texture to the flatter woven look of Tss.
  • The fabric feels thinner. It has less stretch and less drape. Stitch fronts may bend slightly inward in a concave way. (Akin to the “Tunisian curl”.)
A dtr that is linked in only one of its 3 yarn overs.

Selective Linking

Here’s a row of 3-dtr clusters in progress; I’m linking only their middles. The 3 initial yarn overs of each dtr are tinted. See how the middle pink and blue yarn overs are linked? The other blue and pink ones are not.

Yellow-tinted yarn overs for a new dtr are on the hook. See that the 2nd yellow one is linked to the 2nd pink one? Here’s how:

Yarn over (counts as 1st of 3 initial yarn overs in yellow); insert hook down through the top of the the 2nd (pink) yarn over of the previous dtr, yarn over and pull up a loop in it (counts as 2nd of 3 initial yarn overs); yarn over (counts as 3rd of these yarn overs). To complete stitch, insert hook in same stitch of row as the previous two dtr, *yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through two loops on hook, repeat from * twice. In this case for a cluster, yarn over and pull through the remaining loops on the hook.


Crochet Two Rows at Once, Creatively

I hope you’ll explore what you can do with linked stitches. Here are some that need future blog posts.

  • X- and Y-stitches are very much like linked stitches; the main difference is the next stitch is started in the side of the stitch post, not just linked to it. For an X or Y shape, the next stitch is shorter, like a branch crocheted onto the “trunk” of a taller stitch. I needed X-stitches for the lavender swatch (top of the page) to be able to crochet two rows at once. The two-row version has a V-stitch crocheted into an inverted V-stitch. Isn’t that a two-row X?
  • I’ve discussed where to link, and how many times to link in the same stitch. What about how you might link. The equivalent of a slip stitched link is where you insert your hook in a strand of the previous stitch and leave it on the hook (don’t yarn over and pull up a loop in it). The opposite would be to start a taller stitch there: it worked for me when I crocheted a letter A-shape.

A Sample Two-Rows-as-One Pattern

  • Pattern abbreviations: ch = chain stitch, dc = double crochet (UK/AUS tr), dtr = double treble (UK/AUS ttr), sc = single crochet (UK/AUS dc), st(s) = stitch(es), yo = yarn over hook
  • Special Stitches:
    • Shell = [2-dc cluster, dc, 2-dc cluster] all into designated stitch
    • 2-dc cluster = *yo, pull up loop in designated stitch, yo and pull through two loops on hook, repeat from * in same stitch, yo and pull through all loops on hook.
    • Split Cluster = [*yo, pull up loop in first st of Shell, yo and pull through two loops on hook, repeat from * in same stitch], [yo, pull up loop in 2nd st of Shell, yo and pull through two loops on hook], [*yo, pull up loop in 3rd st of Shell, yo and pull through two loops on hook, repeat from * in same stitch], yo and pull through all 6 loops on hook.
    • Coin-Cluster = Yo 3 times, insert hook in next st, *yo and pull up a loop, [yo and pull through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, yo, insert hook in 2nd yo strand of previous st, yo and pull up a loop, yo, insert hook in same st of row, repeat from * four times, [yo and pull through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, yo and pull through all 6 loops on hook.

Original Two-Row Stitch Pattern

Chain 20 for a swatch. (Multiple of 6 stitches + 5.)

  1. Row 1: Dc in 8th ch from your hook, *ch 1, skip next 2 sts of row, Shell, ch 1, skip next 2 sts of row, dc in next st, repeat from *. Ch 5, turn.
  2. Row 2: Skip next 2 ch, *dc in next dc, ch 2, skip next ch, Split Cluster over next 3 sts of Shell, ch 2, repeat from *, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in 2nd ch of turning ch.
  3. Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for pattern. Or, for Row 3 put Shells where the dc are, and dc where the Shells are to stagger the pattern.

The One-Row Version

Chain 23 for a swatch. (Multiple of 6 stitches + 7.)

  1. Row 1: Dtr in 11th ch from your hook, *ch 2, skip next 2 sts of row, Coin-Cluster, ch 2, skip next 2 sts of row, dtr in next st, repeat from *.
  2. If you don’t mind having the wrong side of Coin-Clusters facing every other row, repeat Row 1. To have them all face the right side, work this pattern in the round with no turning. Or, use this Row 2 as shown in the swatch: Ch 1, turn. Sc in first dtr, *ch 2, skip next 2 ch, sc in next st, repeat from * to the end of the row, placing last sc in the next turning ch after you skip 2 of them.
  3. Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for pattern. Or, for Row 3 put Coin-Clusters where the dtr are, and dtr where the Coin-Clusters are to stagger the pattern.

So I’d like to hear from you if you’ve had linking adventures, or troubles.

Want to crochet two rows at once of a favorite stitch pattern? I think some probably can’t be done, while with others there could be several ways to combine rows.

I’m eyeing a pattern right now that has 3 rows of single crochet, then 1 row of clusters. I’m mulling how I could turn its 4-row repeat into 2: turn a sc row + cluster row + sc row into one row, and have the sc row that separates them be the one row that faces the wrong side!

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Crochet Survey Results

I conducted a quick quarantine crochet survey about two weeks ago when I sent out a test issue of my Crochet Inspirations Newsletter to 8,185 subscribers. It tested a new delivery service for the newsletter, as mentioned in another blogpost. Ten percent (802) responded. he crochet survey results offer a fascinating snapshot of this time in crocheters’ lives.

I’ll show you three screenshots from the crochet survey report. Here is what little I know about my subscribers: 90% use Gmail, and Safari is the most used browser at 3.13%. Almost 40% of subscribers (39.23% or 3,170 subscribers) opened the newsletter in their email inbox. Of this subset, 2,318 are in the USA, 100 in Canada, 74 in the UK, 58 in Australia, 35 in Ireland, 16 in the Netherlands, 14 in New Zealand, 7 in Italy and in Germany, and 5 in Denmark. Cool!

The survey was at the very end; perhaps some readers didn’t see it. In this first screenshot, the gray numbers under the first question, “How has quarantined life been for you lately?” may show that some people had trouble getting the survey to work. Although 856 wanted to start it, 46 didn’t or couldn’t answer the question. I did hear from a few subscribers that it didn’t work. For example, a few saw only a blank screen.

How is Quarantined Life Lately?

For "how has quarantined life been for you lately?", almost 45% of 10 respondents chose the neither happy nor sad face (third in a lineup of 5 from very happy to very sad).

It’s nice to see, at least on the surface, that the majority of respondents feel overall neutral to upbeat about it all. That’s a total of 707 out of 810. Perhaps for some folks a neutral face is expressing extremes, which is not a comfortable place to be. I got this impression from some of the free response comments at the end.

Crochet Inspiration Level From 1 to 10

The next screen of the crochet survey results is about the question, “What is your crochet inspiration level?” Choosing 1 means it is at its lowest ebb, and 10 is inspiration to the max! I didn’t know what to expect. On the one hand, a crocheter could make a lot of progress during a quarantine; on the other, it also means a lot of worry, and disruption of the simplest routines.

Crochet survey results re: the scale of 1 (lowest inspiration level) to 10, fully half of the 803 respondents chose a level of 6, 7, or 8. Twenty crocheters chose 1, 74 chose 10.

Overall, these crocheters’ inspiration levels are pretty buoyant. Levels 6, 7, and 8 received the most votes. Together these total 402 out of 803 responses. Crochet really is a positive skill and outlet to have during times of adversity.

Quality of That Inspiration?

I wanted a fuller picture than just a simple numerical amount. My own crochet inspiration has been distorted, not just a matter of “am I inspired or not”. I’ve felt like a different crocheter and I struggled to get to know her better, especially during the first three weeks of the quarantine.

Crochet survey results: the most respondents of 787 (28%) said their crochet inspiration during this quarantine is "erratic. Comes and goes. Cuts out on me".

The first two descriptions account for over half of all votes. (Respondents could select all that applied.) The first two, “Having trouble focusing/easily distracted”, and “It’s erratic. Comes and goes. Cuts out on me” are based on my own experience. The third one, “Frustrated. I don’t have what I need to make what I want” is one that I’d heard others say.

Open Field Responses

I ended with an invitation to describe what you’ve been crocheting lately, or to write anything else in a text box. I’ve been going through 652 of these crochet survey results. It has been a very moving experience. Many subscribers thanked me for asking how it has been for them, or for doing the newsletter. I also appreciate all the well wishes!

I heard from nurses and others on the front lines of the pandemic. They don’t have much time or energy for crochet, understandably. Thank you for all that you’re doing and sacrificing. Several subscribers are making face masks. They’re sewing as many as they can instead of crocheting anything, or crocheting the masks, or struggling to.

Something I didn’t expect is the burden of sudden full-time homeschooling that several respondents mentioned. The impression I got from some is that it saps the energy to be able to crochet or get inspired about it. Those who are learning new work processes from home also sound quite stressed. My heart goes out to you.

Specific Crochet Projects

The sheer creative range of project types and materials is an unexpected wonderland for me to read about! Some are creating by knitting or sewing. Rough counts of a sampling of projects:

  • 80 are making face masks, ear savers, and other things for essential workers; about as many are making blankets and afghans. One person said, “Blankets as they sooth my soul.”
  • 11 are making amigurumi. One person reported making 75 toys! About as many are doing CALs, Christmas crocheting, and Tunisian crochet. One person used the quarantine to start Tunisian crochet for the first time.
  • 100 are making shawls. About 75 are crocheting sweaters, cardigans, and shrugs; 60 or so have been making hats and scarves.

Finally, here’s a partial list of specific patterns named:

Teatime Shawl, Sophie’s Universe, Sweetheart Soiree Doily, Winter’s Song, Slip Slope Scarf, Wind Chimes scarf, Not Your Granny’s Jammies, GroovyGhan, Seafarer Scarf, Leaves Shawl, Magnolia Shardi, Boxie Shawl, Meandering Cat Paws, Persian Tiles, Jo’s Market Bags, Rainbow Sprinkles Crescent Shawl, Q-Star Coverlet, Rozeta, Dandelion Mandala.

Add your own responses to these survey questions in the comments. I will read them all.

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Flat Bead Crochet Tests

Four swatches of two-color flat bead crochet
Flat bead crochet of slip stitches in two colors, seamed into a tube shown fitting nicely to the wrist.

These four swatches test beads, threads, and stitches for my upcoming jewelry class, “Bivector Bangle, The Class”. I’ve specified flat bead crochet in this blog post for two reasons.

First, I photographed them flat before seaming into a stretchy tube. Slip stitch crochet makes it easy to slip it on the wrist with a good fit; that’s the “bangle” part.

Not the Rope Kind

Second and maybe more important, they’re not crocheted in the round. I’ve learned that this is unusual. Crocheted ropes of seed beads, a.k.a. “tubular bead crochet”, are the most common kind of crochet jewelry I’ve seen; my Candied Pony Beads pattern is a humble example of the art. Slip stitches are the preferred stitch, but some use single crochets.

Crocheters in English-speaking countries have enjoyed making bead ropes for a long time. (Oddly, this hasn’t prevented crochet how-to books from claiming whole projects shouldn’t be made from slip stitches.) In the world of Slip Stitch Crochet “Bosnian” distinguishes slip stitches in the round from the ones crocheted flat, in rows.

Instead of crocheting in constantly spiraling rounds, I crocheted these swatches in rows, and turned to begin each new row. So, flat bead crochet!

Other Kinds of Flat Bead Crochet?

Here’s another curious thing. Although bead crochet ropes are popular examples of Bosnian crochet, plenty of other Bosnian crochet items aren’t beaded at all. Compare this with flat slip stitch crochet: I almost never see beaded examples.

I crocheted these beaded slip stitches flat:


Test Results of Swatches

As for my test swatches, here’s what I learned. Too much to write here! Some quick highlights though.

Threads

Four swatches of two-color flat bead crochet
Here’s the photo again.

For the yellow wedges (middle row) I used cotton embroidery floss. It worked fine even though I used all six strands. It could have been too thick.

Six strands of floss are roughly equivalent to sport weight yarn and to size #3 crochet thread. I need it to be closer to fingering weight yarn and size #5 crochet thread. It felt a bit thick while crocheting it, but it was ok. It comes out slightly more raised than the orange wedges, in an interesting way.

I tested two strands of size #10 thread held together throughout. (This is the small heathered sample in the top row.) It works fine. Two strands of size 10 are equivalent to one strand of size 5 for this pattern. (For a full project I’d use two strands of the same color so that the beads stand out well.)

Beads, Stitches

I tested different wedge widths. The green and purple one (top row) is the only one that matches the way I crocheted the wedges of the original two Bivectors I made ten years ago. I still prefer them. In class I’ll explain wedge variations.

Lastly, I tested different ways to add the beads. I also revisited doubling them up in wee stacks, which I’d flirted with doing years ago. You can see some bead stacks in the bottom row. The major lesson for me here is, Japanese seed beads for this design are a shortcut to easy happiness, as a general rule.

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Crochet Bunnies Flat or Puffy

2 flat crocheted bunnies (sihouette), 2 stuffed ones, in different slip stitch crochet textures.

This past month I used Tunisian and slip stitches to crochet bunnies flat, rather than in the round. Make two, seam together, and stuff for 3D bunnies. Leave flat for appliqué!

Compare all the shapes in the photo above and below: there are some side-view silhouettes (the yellow wool bunnies) plus several marshmallow candy style bunnies in light blue Lotus yarn.

Two are stuffed, but all started out flat. The stuffed white wool bunny (above far right) uses the square method: I crocheted a flat square of inverse slip stitches, and then seamed and stuffed it. (I followed this tutorial for a knitted square bunny.)

Five marshmallow-candy-shape bunnies lined up from shortest (3 slip stitch) to tallest (2 Tunisian crochet)
From left to right: Three slip stitch bunnies (front-loop slip; inverted back loop; inverted front loop). Two Tunisian crochet bunnies, flat: TSS (simple stitch), TKS (knit stitch). I also added a simple slip stitch outline to all bunnies except the TSS one.

My informal and rather obsessive online research tells me that 95% of all the crochet amigurumi (stuffed toys) are single crochet stitches in the round. The other 5% are single crochet flat, in rows. It’s easy to know which were crocheted in rows because the texture is very different from rounds with no turning. Crochet designers Donna & Michaelene rock the flat method with single crochet.

Internal or External Shaping?

5 slip stitch roses of different colors and petal shapes
Slip Stitches are fabulous
for shaping flower petals

When you crochet bunnies flat, all the shaping happens at the beginning and/or end of a row; never in the middle of a row. This is external shaping. I’ve liked this kind of crochet ever since I swatched lots of shaping techniques for my Slip Stitch Shapes and Special FX class.

External shaping should be an elementary challenge, but it depends on the stitch and the shape. Each row might be different from the rest. I bet crocheters rarely do it constantly for a whole project, though. See my free heart pattern. It’s an easier shape than a bunny because you’re adding or subtracting no more than two stitches at a time.

New to external shaping in every row? Use the short stitch you’re most familiar with: single crochet (sc), slip stitch (sl st), or Tunisian simple stitch (TSS). You need to be able to easily count your rows and stitches. For most people it’s single crochet.

Crocheting any shape in the round (other than a straight tube) requires internal shaping. It kind of depends on the crocheter how basic that is. It’s probably easier for those who started early on with granny squares, flowers, and other motifs in the round.

Slip Stitches, or Tunisian Crochet?

I found no examples of TSS or sl st crochet bunnies, flat or otherwise, except this sweet one in Tunisian knit stitch (TKS). (You’ll need a Ravelry account to view it). I decided to do side by side bunny comparisons. Yes, I went down a rabbit hole.

Surprising Differences

I used the same chart size for each blue bunny. The Tunisian bunnies are much bigger! After making several sl st bunnies, the forward and return passes of Tunisian felt like double the work for the same bunny. Compared to sl st fabric, the return pass seemed to add padding and height to the stitches. The TKS one also feels heavy. It has so much more yarn in it than the others.

Two flat crochet bunnies and a stuffed one, all "marshmallow peeps style" in light blue Lotus yarn
Three slip stitch amigos. See more in progress
on their project page.

Of the three blue sl st bunnies, the inverse front loop one (far right) has the most height. I used it for two bunnies in the first photo above too: the smaller yellow silhouette, and the white bunny from a square.

TSS is similar to using sc. Besides being of similar height, it’s easy to count rows, especially the TSS rows. Both prevent stuffing from showing through (so does sl st). Unlike sc and sl st, Tunisian stitches do lean, but more weakly than it appears. The lean readily blocks out.

Tunisian crochet has a few strong advantages over sc and sl st. There is no turning, so following a charted shape is the easiest. Another big advantage is when edging the shape. I like to edge flat shapes with a round of slip stitches before I seam them together. Crocheting into Tunisian row ends is a joy. “Joy” isn’t the word that comes to mind when crocheting into row ends of sc or sl st.

Happy Easter 2020 everyone!

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Moleskine Crochet Fix

Three half-flowers in antique gold and silver colors attached to spine of large Molestine crochet notebook.

I have a pack of three large Moleskine notebooks. They started out identical and very plain. I use two of them for crochet work. How to distinguish them all from each other? Hmm.

Moleskine + crochet go together so nicely. I see folks using the notebooks for crochet journaling, and crocheting covers for them. They’re great for me too except in two ways.

I can’t wait to show you my new crochet solution. The spine of my crochet notebook now sports a title in a universal language.

Pre-Crochet Prep

Moleskine crochet notebook completed: 3 crocheted half-flowers sewn to the binding and the cover is a protective coating.

I mention this because I needed to try a paper-coating idea before adding the crochet to its spine. This is why its cover color ends up differing from the other two in this image.

First, about the cover. It’s plain cardstock. (My old design notebook was a fat spiral-bound graph paper pad with a durable plastic cover.) I like this slim one better, although its rather absorbent cover retains every scuff and stain. Its medium gray color is also fading.

First, I lightly spray-painted it with fine silver glitter. Then I used a fat metallic silver paint marker to add random speckles of different sizes, and a border. These cover up spots and marks.

Unfortunately, even though it’s spray paint, the glitter rubbed off. After I took the next photo below, I lightly sprayed a few layers of glossy sealer on it. It works on the glitter and adds a durable feel to the cover. It also darkened and changed the gray color of the paper, even more than the spray paint did.

Moleskine crochet hook fit: find the steel hook size that fits in the seam stitch without stretching it.
This steel crochet hook is very small, about 1.10 mm. A larger one would be hard to insert without fraying or stretching the thread. I don’t want to weaken the binding!
You can also see how the upper notebook has faded and yellowed a bit compared to the unused one under it.

The Crochet Fix

Here’s what I said when I started swatching the first of these three flower pieces:

The 3 half-flowers in pewter and antique gold colors before sewing Molestine crochet notebook seam

I’m trying out a tall-stitch flower motif but as an edging, and alternating an old gold color with an old silver color of thread I bought in Paris to see what happens with a glass of wine, to then see if this is the way I want to spruce up a Moleskine notebook. If it is, I shall blog it.

I’m wondering if this Scheepjes Maxi Sweet Treat crochet thread might satisfy my longing for the discontinued Opera thread 🤔

I adapted these flower pieces from flowery motif patterns in old Duplet magazines in my Tall Stitch Virtuosity class prep pile. The color changes made it easy to cover yarn ends, so weaving ends wasn’t an issue.

The second of the three notebooks is for slip stitch teaching thoughts. It will be fun to crochet a spine trim for it with slip stitches.

Crocheting Into Non-Crochet

I’ve blogged before about crocheting along the edge of a greeting card, a t-shirt, and foam sheets. (Crocheting a wide border onto a plastic-coated tablecloth is an adventure I thought I blogged; link goes to its Ravelry page.) I’ve even crocheted pages of a book together. I don’t recall ever wanting to stick a crochet hook into the saddle-stitch binding of a simple notebook before.

My Plans Changed as I Swatched

I figured I’d pick a half-flower I liked and then create a whole repeating strip of it to form an edging. Instead, my Moleskine crochet ended up being 3 flower fragments that I attached one by one. I so love it.

The other thing I assumed was that I’d crochet right onto the notebook binding. This was the original inspiration! I worried more and more about weakening the binding string. Ultimately, I fastened off the third flower piece with a very long yarn end. I used this to sew each crocheted piece to the binding with a sewing needle and simple overhand stitches.

Moleskine’s no-frills design is easy to find in other brands too. I love Moleskine’s rounded corners and the paper quality.

I’m not sure this Moleskine crochet idea would have occurred to me if it weren’t Day 27 of the Great Quarantine! Maybe it would have, but would I have followed through on it? Or blogged about it?