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About That Stitch Just Completed

Start a star by pulling up loops in the star just completed.How many different ways can we begin a crochet stitch? This topic of insertion points came up last month in “Get Your Geek On” at the CGOA conference. (Dora Ohrenstein lists thirteen in her newest book.)
Weird Stitch Category
I've been mulling this counterintuitive insertion point: inserting the crochet hook in the stitch just completed. The new stitch (st) will be linked to it somehow, before it's even placed in the next st of the row (if at all).

It turns out to be a special group of stitches. If the group were a family, lover’s knots and star stitches would be close relatives. They get along sweetly in the pink swatch below. Love knots and star stitches

Lover's knot, star st, side puffs, picots, and linked sts, block sts, piggyback, Y, true X (vs. crossed sts), and foundation sts all start this way. 

What else do these sts have in common? None of them are considered basic or beginner level. In fact, they tend to be tricky at first. Some of them were for me, and I’ve seen it happen for other crocheters. That pause, and the double checking: "You mean the hook goes right back into there?" Stitch diagrams don't always help. 

The Hitch Factor

Why are these stitches hitchy for folks? My theory is that starting a st by inserting the hook in the st just made goes against the grain three ways:

A) Conventional crocheting has a speedy forward motion from right to left (if you’re crocheting right handed). Even when we crochet shells—i.e., more than one st into the same next st—we're still moving forward. In contrast, moving back along a row to go forward again is like driving in reverse. 

B) Unless specified otherwise, it’s expected in standard crochet instructions that the reader will crochet under the top two loops of the next st of the previous row. (That’s four defaults regarding which loops from which direction of which st in which row.) If a pattern writer changes any one of these defaults, it needs to be spelled out with simple and familiar terms. In contrast, crocheting into the st just completed changes every default.

C) A typical crochet st is quite independent and self contained, really. When you start the next st into the st just made, however, the two are now enmeshed. X and Y sts especially look “joined at the hip.” Enmeshed sts can look odd at first, making a crocheter doubt whether s/he’s crocheting it right...the hitch factor.

I'm thinking that these hitch factors might be why many crocheters say that they've learned how to do foundation sts, but they just can never remember how to do them when they need them.

A Risk of Un-crocheting?

"A" is the loop to use.Another possible reason it could seem counterintuitive to be crocheting immediately into the st you just made is the risk of "uncrocheting” it. A lover's knot can be undone if you single crochet into the long chain st the wrong way; this is why instructions carefully specify the bump loop (aka the leftmost loop, if one is right handed). That's "A" in the above drawing.

I saw this happen with the Bugle Braid, which I demonstrated during Geek Day. See photo in top right column. You can't crochet into the top loops of a chain st just made, or you'd uncrochet it. You can, however, if it's a different st.

What if people learned these "backtracking" sts as an Intermediate skill level group of sts? I try to imagine I'm learning them for the first time. What if I knew to expect to be crocheting into a st I've just completed? At an earlier stage of crochet experience I'd probably pay more attention to all of the loops of a st, not just its top two loops. Perhaps we’d have clear, familiar terms for referring to other loops. 

That's it for #70! Please forward this someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) Comments or suggestions? please email me. Thanks! --Vashti         Helpful links:
Insertion Point Experiments
Two on left are "bugle braids" made with a crochet hook.
Far left: Back of Bugle Braid. Center: Regular chain stitches at the bottom, then fishtail-like doubled chain stitches of the Bugle Braid. Regular chain stitches resume at the top of it. (Ignore the cord on the right.)
Bugle Braid is traditionally hand tied, not crocheted with a hook. The crochet version needs a video!

1-chain picot used for Aeroette and Aery Faery Tunisian Filet designs.
Chain 1, slip stitch in the bump loop of the chain 1 just made.
This is a subtle picot I like to use to square up the corners of some Tunisian filet lace designs, such as Aery Faery, Aero, and Warm Aeroette. (Clicking on image takes you to the Aeroette page.)

DesigningVashti News: My goodness, August is a special month here at DesigningVashti!

Doris Chan's lovely Lotus Lattice is in the shop!      DJC Lotus Lattice for 13 sizes in the shop! Downloadable pdf.   

Downloadable pattern in 13 sizes. See them in the photo of our booth at the bottom of this column.

Remember I mentioned the arrival of our new 15th color of Lotus yarn
New Lotus Yarn int he shop! Dark Roast (brown) It's called Dark Roast (as in coffee beans!)
In 256-yd balls and the 85-yd Snacks
{Heads up, subscribers only}: A bit of a price increase on the Lotus yarn is coming Sept. 1st. You know what to do. And there's a pattern discount code below.

Sizzlin’ Summer: 3 Sultry Accessories in DesigningVashti Lotus is a new design collection by George Shaheen of 10 Hours or Less™! The first downloadable pattern in this set, "Miami Mermaid," is now available. Subscribers can use the code VASHTI30 to get 30% off (sitewide!) here through Aug. 29.

Miami Mermaid is a crocheted scallop lace shawl with contrasting bead-tipped border. 
Miami Mermaid Shawl in DesigningVashti Lotus yarn. Design by George Shaheen of 10 Hours or Less™

Yarn amounts:
1 large ball Satin Grey,
2 Snack balls of Black Gleam,
1 Snack ball of Peachy Sheen(Note that it takes only ten hours to crochet!) 

Watch for two more 
Sizzlin’ Summer designs to be released later this month.
"Bali Breeze" shawl: knitted with beads and 3 colors of Lotus (Grenadine, Purple Glow & Dark Roast).
"Sky and Surf" shawl: crocheted in Crystal Blue, Teal Glimmer & Sapphire. 

Links I Enjoyed This Week
CGOA Design Competition Results! Thank you Susan Lowman, 2015 CGOA Design Competition Co-Chair. Thank you also for the photos you took of our booth!
Click photo to go to the shop page for Doris Chan's new Lotus Lattice Top (in 13 Sizes!)

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