I seamed with stitch equivalents in this 2019 image. It was not in the original newsletter issue #2, A Super Crochet Maneuver. It’s explained at the end.
First, the original newsletter issue, below. It went out to a little over 300 subscribers in September 2010. That’s nine years ago! I’ve removed the original two-column formatting, colored backgrounds, and especially the outdated links. I’ve refrained from revising the original text, except for light edits.
This stitch equivalents topic looks different to me now. See my current (September 2019) thoughts at the end.
Welcome to issue #2.
Subscriptions have doubled since the first issue was sent out 14 days ago, so welcome to all of you new subscribers!
The “super crochet maneuver” I’ve been thinking about lately is not only a big problem-solver for designers, it can single-handedly put the “free” in freeform! It’s not a big secret, but I get the feeling it’s not common knowledge either.
Crochet stitch equivalents hinge on the basic principle that the chain stitch is crochet’s unit of measure. Measuring the height of a tall stitch with chains gives you the keys to the kingdom. For example, a half double crochet (UK/AUS: half treble) is the same height as two chains, while the height of a double crochet (UK/AUS: treble) is—theoretically—three chains.
Perhaps this much is nothing new. After all, any crocheter working in rows needs to know how many to chain for their turning chain, right? For example, to begin a row of those really tall triple trebles (abbreviated trtr, or in UK/AUS, quadtr), one would chain six, because a trtr is six chains tall.
What if one trtr and six chains are 100% interchangeable? Then you get to decide where you want to end up after making a stitch. You choose which stitch gets you there.
My Stitch Equivalents “Aha!” Moment
This is the mesh poncho mentioned below that gave me a crocheter’s “Aha!” moment.
I’m wearing it at the 2004 CGOA Chain Link Conference. It was my first experience of being in a “fashion show”, and maybe you can’t tell but I was incredibly nervous up there.
A local longtime crocheter wanted to recreate the lattice-as-you-go edge of my Islander wrap and couldn’t get it to work. She had an “Aha!” look when I told her that first you decide where you need your hook to end up, then you choose whatever gets you there—it might be a tall stitch, the equivalent number of chains, or a combo.
Shining Day is crocheted in a lacy stitch pattern that is flowing wonderfully off my [pink] hook. I think it flows so much because you crochet into chain spaces at an easy gauge.
A Flowing Foundation Row
This wide lacy rectangle is worked from the center out on both sides of the foundation row. You’ll have matching ends, each with a pretty picot border.
For a design like this, you wouldn’t want the foundation chains to look noticeable or feel tighter than the rest of its flowing lace. No problem! Andee uses a great type of foundation row. It’s not only stretchy, it has a nice texture that blends in.
About Yarn Amounts
Andee used four 100g. balls of Lotus to get a wrap that is 16.25″ X 68.5″. Four balls is 1,024 yds (4 X 256 yds).
The Cone Idea
Some folks have wisely been ordering Lotus Z-Bombes, which are value-priced one-pound cones. One pound of Lotus is a bit over 1,100 yds, or about 4.5 balls. (I always allow a Z-Bombe to go a bit over a pound after subtracting the weight of the cardboard. I write the exact unique weight of each Z-Bombe on its tag.)
The Lotus Snacks Idea
In my recent newsletter issue #90, I mentioned a multicolored Shining Day using a six-pack of Lotus Snacks. I think spring fever made me do it. I kept picturing a riot of floral colors like I do every spring.
Unfortunately I miscalculated the yarn amount for that in the newsletter. The mini Snacks are one-third the size of a regular Lotus ball: 85 yds per 33 g. Not one-half.
CORRECTION: A Six Pack O’ Snacks totals 512 yds, not the 768 yds I stated in the newsletter.
My 512-yd. Shining Day
See my drawings above in that photo of my light blue swatch? That’s me figuring out that a two-ball (same as six Snacks) Shining Day would come out to 12″ X 51″ (or a bit longer).
My swatch is 11.5″ wide. I needed 46 foundation stitches to do 4 stitch pattern repeats.
Andee’s Shining Day pattern is definitely worth paying for if you miss the free version. It includes stitch charts and a photo-tutorial on making the picots.
…of the Great Website Overhaul of 2017. ? RIP sweet old DesigningVashti site from 2010. ?
For this first blog post at my new ‘n improved DesigningVashti.com, I’ll firm up loose loops by bringing you up to date.
Crochet Inspirations Newsletter
Top of mind is the next issue (#88). Now that this website is up and working smoothly, I can focus on it again. I’ve mulled topic #88 since the week before Hurricane Irma grazed us. This site now has a respectable About the Newsletter page. (On my list is to put a sign-up form on it.)
You know, people have told me over the years that I should charge a subscription fee for the newsletter. I don’t know if they’re right, but I can tell you that if I had been, it would have weighed on me heavily while trying to get back up to speed after the storm!
We evacuated for Irma and that’s mighty rare. It was so nerve-wracking that the only crocheting I could muster was a swatch for the newsletter. Fortunately I didn’t lose it amidst the upheaval because that one swatch gave me a lot to think about.
along” part is a new kind of medium for me. The CAL-DAL was humming along by the time Irma was aiming for our area.
Fortunately, the DAL part gives a CAL a more open-ended timeline and direction, because a series of hurricanes and fires put a damper on the momentum. Any work I could do had to go to the website. I couldn’t even blog about the CAL; the blog part of the site was down the longest.
After this blog post I can add a fringe update to the forum thread!
I had just begun creating videos before Irma. I have some raw clips waiting, in fact. YouTube even emailed me and said, “Hey, do you need encouragement? You’re doing great.”
We tore down my home filming “studio” in preparation to evacuate for the hurricane. I can set it up again now that this new website is live.
Ideally, the next newsletter issue will have a short video clip or gif.
Vashti’s Crochet Archives
In May I announced that I was going to start putting my crochet stuff online. Weird little obstacles cropped up at various sites as I did so. It turns out the updated features of this website are perfect! I did not foresee this! Also probably ideal for others who would be interested in my crochet archives because it will be all in one place, tightly interlinked.
New Crochet Patterns
It’s true, there have never been more new patterns in various stages of completion. Wonderful tech editors and diagram makers are still standing by to help me too (I hope). I’m anxious to get back to pattern writing as well as to newsletter #88. I’m also working on a new Tunisian design.
I’ve greatly expanded this page since first posting it in 2015, when it was a follow up to newsletter issue 71, “Beyond Crochet Hook Debates”. It’s also now part of an ongoing Crochet Basics series.
At first glance the crochet hook is a very simple tool, so why are there so many different kinds? What makes crocheters fiercely devoted to some and not others? You could make your own crochet hook by carving a notch into the end of a stick or dowel and sanding it smooth. I realized how carefully designed hooks really are when I reshaped a store-bought one.
Creating a crochet hook diagram also helped me tease out the finer elements that make all the difference between one hook and another. My first sketch grew into a comprehensive map! It brings together terms from several different sources.
How Many Crochet Hooks?
How many crochet hook sizes should there be? How many crochet hooks does a crocheter need? It turns out the answer is different for every crocheter because it depends on about five factors, below.
Consider the yarn you like to crochet with.
Some crocheters are very partial to one or two yarn thicknesses, called weights. Medium or worsted weight is a crowd-pleaser, for example. If you like to crochet with yarn of any weight, from cobweb to roving, you need a few different hook sizes for each of the eight yarn weight categories (#0 Lace to #7 Jumbo)!
How about fiber types?
I’m still surprised sometimes when a crochet hook gets along much better with one yarn than another. If you like to experience the full menu of fibers and fiber blends, from the fuzziest to the slipperiest all spun in different ways, you’re going to need hooks with different head shapes and surface finishes.
I really notice this when I crochet with a non-yarn like wire, jewelry cords, and fabric strips.
I can pick up a lot of speed with a hook that has a glossy aluminum finish except with very glossy silk yarn. That’s when a brushed matte finish is better.
When a fluffy microfiber (synthetic) yarn drags on a giant plastic hook because of static electricity, I switch to a wood hook.
When a yarn is dense and round like spaghetti (Jelly Yarn, rayon-wrap cordé, wire, tubing, leather lacing, etc.), a crochet hook with a roomy “bowl”[see diagram] is much better than one with a slit-style bowl.
What kinds of things?
Want to try every possible kind of project, from beaded jewelry to exploded lace to sturdy totes to thick blankets to…so many more kinds of things!? Projects can require very particular crochet hook sizes, styles, and finishes.
Situations, events, and physical conditions.
I have favorite hooks for marathon crocheting (when I have a big crochet deadline to meet). You might like to have a hook set just for traveling like I do; for plane flights I try to avoid metal hooks. Plastic and wood hooks are lighter in my bag, and less quick to slide down between seats to be lost forever.
For those crocheters with hands that are particularly small or large, sensitive to cold, tire easily, are arthritic or in recovery from surgery, and so on, there are crochet hooks specially designed for you. Look for hooks in ergonomic shapes. You can also add your own ergonomic handle with clay, pencil grippers, wrapped fabric, and other materials.
What if you need to crochet in a low- or no-light situation? Light-up hooks, and those that don’t match the color of your yarn are best.
Any special techniques or stitches?
Like to try dramatically different stitches like bullions, split clusters, and picking out that bump loop of single crochets? Tunisian and double-ended crochet? Crochet along the edge of fabric? Cro-tatting? The right crochet hook for the job sure makes a big difference with these.
“Loop Picking”: Hooks with a pointier head are very helpful when trying to pick specific loops to crochet into. Camel crochet is a classic case. I usually reach for one when I do Tunisian or slip stitch crochet. Some brands are naturally pointier. I like how easy it is to file the heads of my inexpensive bamboo hooks in different shapes to learn what works best for me.
Beading: I need to have steel crochet hooks of several sizes on hand. You’ll need some with hook heads that are small and streamlined enough to pull a loop of thread or yarn through bead holes. Tulip has done this with their bead crochet hooks.
Tunisian: (Projects can really vary, so I’m going to do a separate post on Tunisian hooks.) Generally I need the length of the hook head to be as short as possible [see diagram], and I need the surface to be frictionless with the particular yarn.
“Hard Crochet”: The 1970’s crocheter Mark Dittrick emphasized the difference a large steel hook (size 0 or 1: 2.35–3.25 mm) makes for his ultra tight and stiff sculptural crocheting.
Crochet Hooks as Treasure
Did a family member teach you how to crochet? My mother taught me. I treasure her crochet hooks and the brown moiré jewelry wrap that she used as a hook case.
When you teach a family member, you create a future where your favorite crochet hooks will be cherished!