|"Pull Up a Long Loop"
Until lately, I didn’t think of “pulling up a long loop” as a stitch. I generally thought of it as either special spice or special medicine for other stitches.
As “stitch spice,” pulling up a long loop puts the spike in spike stitches, the puff in puff stitches, and the love in love knots. I suppose one could say it also puts the lace in Hairpin Lace & Broomstick Lace. (Spike Stitch 'Palmetto Wristcuff' http://bit.ly/i7o0HQ; 2nd photo: Laurel-like puffs in one of my early freelanced designs, 'Pick a Pretty Pair' http://bit.ly/KGQnhW)
As “stitch medicine,” it’s an option for adjusting row gauge issues, especially for double crochets (dc; in UK, tr). For example, when I yarn over and pull up a loop in a stitch to begin a dc, I could pull up that loop a bit longer, then complete the dc as usual. This strategy has been called ‘lifting’ (as I first heard from Dee Stanziano), or what Jean Leinhauser called the “golden loop.” It makes a dc longer with more flexible legs, which is nice for wearable drape. As Pauline Turner points out, it can make all the difference in whether a doily cups, ruffles, or lies flat. (More on this at my blog: How to Take Control of Double Crochet Stitch Height & Row Gauge http://bit.ly/fpmNSX)
This week I looked more closely at what I had assumed were love knots in a few books and online sources. Turns out there are several kinds of pulled loops.
Sometimes, simply pulling up a long loop can add the same breezy drape and transparency to crochet that love knots do, without the “locking stitch” that turns an elongated chain stitch into a love knot. Here are two examples, in blue cotton. The top one is usually called Acacia Stitch; bottom one is a variation of it. I pulled its loops a bit longer, but the variation also exaggerates my small increase in loop size. I've already made a project page for this swatch because I want to make something summery with it in a different yarn. http://ravel.me/vashtirama/hhmqj)
You can also pull up long loops as if doing broomstick lace, without the stick, and not necessarily a whole row of them. After all these years, I finally noticed this kind of stitch, called "lacy loops" in the Harmony Guides 300 Crochet Stitches Vol. 6 (p. 13 of my 1998 edition).
Go a step further with 'lacy loops' and don't even bother holding the loops on any kind of tool. I discovered this fun with the blue photos in the right column.
One cool thing about pulled loops is that you decide how long (i.e. summery) you wish the loops to be. In my Acacia Stitch variation, those longer loops will be fabulous in a fancy yarn!
Uh oh...now we're in that sketchy eyeballing territory.
About Having to 'Eyeball It'
Kind of sounds like a bad thing, huh? I've been thinking about this because my Love Knots class is for all skill levels. This eyeballing is considered solidly Intermediate. (Although that Acacia Stitch is published in a book of easy stitches.)
Several easy strategies make eyeballing unnecessary. For example, choose the size of what's always 'at hand'--the width of your thumb. Just pinch the long loop with your thumb to measure. (Pinching also makes Love Knots easy to complete.) Another 'handy' measure I use is the one-inch distance from my fingertip to nearest knuckle.
When I purely eyeball a loop length, I can do it quickly and evenly if my goal is no longer than an inch. There are other tricks for longer loops.
I think part of the problem is psychological, at least it was for me. Here's how I look at it now: when I pull up a long loop, I am temporarily breaking free of the gauge limits set by the hook size I'm using. The really cool thing about this is that a new kind of art can happen.
Lace can be sculpted right into any crochet fabric at whim. The coexistence of tight stitches and superloose stitches in the same row is dramatic and rare, as if two different crochet hooks were used. (Gets trickier with Tunisian Crochet LOL.) Pictured is my 'stitch game' Bonefish, in progress.
Speaking of pulling up long loops, see Lianka Azulay's Good Intentions Wrap: http://bit.ly/KGNWMp . Acacia Stitch Bracelet by Griffith Gardens: http://etsy.me/JGLXbe
Also: See Anne Rabun Ough’s use of a “Long DC” of any length needed at the end of a row (New Directions in Crochet, 1981, p. 19, 156. In Amazon, http://amzn.to/JqNjWc ) Lily Chin uses lengthened loops in her Crochet Tips & Tricks classes.
That's it for #40! If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks! --Vashti