|That Weird Popcorn Step: Is it a Stitch?
Lots of new items in the shop this week, and coupon news! See the right column for more.
This issue #67 is about a simple, useful thing that some crocheters do, creatively. It baffles other crocheters. It baffles me how to capture it in photos, because its superpower is Invisibility.
The first step is to take your hook out of the loop after completing a stitch. Other than for popcorn stitches, we rarely do this in crochet! This loop is called the "live loop" because it would start unraveling if you pull on the yarn.
The second step is to insert the hook in a different stitch. (You can do this in any loop of any stitch; it depends on the project.) Then, catch the live loop with the hook and draw it through the stitch.
You have done this if you've ever crocheted a true popcorn stitch. Possibly also as an invisible way to join a round, or for "downward picots" and other cool Victorian crochet moves. I think of it as a "slipped slip stitch." See below for why.
Doris showed me this image at left of a motif edge she joined to a solid panel, invisibly.
It's Counter-Intuitive in THREE Ways
- Take the hook out of the live loop. Unsettling!
- Insert that untethered hook in a different stitch. From front to back, or back to front, up from the bottom, or down through the top of a stitch. Before or after the stitch you just completed, or above or below it. Or, in a different place of the same stitch. Weird!
- Use the hook to pull the live loop through the place where you put the hook. No yarn over needed. Wait. What?
It has been worded different ways over the years. Live loop is more common than working loop or loose loop. Often just loop is used, and that could confuse some people. Here's how you might see it worded:
“...drop loop from hook”… then, ”hook dropped loop and draw through”
“Remove hook from loop and take hook to wrong side of fabric. Insert hook from front to back...”
“...grab the dropped loop with your hook and pull it through the stitch”
“...pick up the working loop with the hook”
It needs a name. Sometimes it's called an "Invisible Join" or a "Flat Join", but so are other things. It also does more than join, just like a slip stitch [sl st] does more than join. It can change the look and angle of a stitch, and where a new stitch begins. It might be useful for sculpting eyelets and smoothing some shaping methods. A name would unify the range of important things it does.
I've been thinking of it as a "slipped slip stitch" for the past few years. In a sl st crochet project, a sl st join is bulky, whereas slipping the sl st adds no height or bulk. When I needed to conserve yarn amounts for the Lotus Chips charms, it came in handy: a slipped sl st uses no yarn to complete picots or to join rounds.
There is a hint of historical precedence for this name. In Marie Louise Keizman's 1883 Twine Crochet Work, she explains how to crochet basic stitches, such as a Slip Stitch: "Take the hook from the last loop worked, pass it through the loop where the work has to be joined; then take the first loop spoken of and draw it through." The sl st as we make it today was a "Close Chain Stitch" in her book.
That's it for #67! 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 Helpful links: