Saturday, July 17

Crochet Picots You Can Love

A picot is a decorative little bump of crochet stitches that adds just the right touch to many kinds of crochet projects, often as a finished edge. It's smaller than a bobble, puff, or cluster; ideally it's a cozy little knot that's "cute as a button."
(in photo above, cute picots border every edge of the Liebling Shrug.)
I've heard many crocheters say that they don't like the look of their picots. After crocheting for 30 years or so, I can say that no matter how many picots one has under one's belt, the next one may look yucky* for a number of reasons that are easy to fix. The first thing I do is try my favorite way to make them. it comes the closest to producing a fail-safe picot, with the added bonus of being the fastest and smoothest stitching motion for me (keeps the picots from feeling like "speed bumps" LOL).  

Vashti's Favorite Way to Crochet Picots
I used this method for the Liebling Shrug (above) and for the Baroque Tabard. In fact, I talked about this picot method in this blog post about the Tabard's "Picot Fans" lace sleeves.

I insert the hook from the top down into two front loops of the "host" stitch (the last stitch I made before chaining 3 or 4 to start the picot). This "host" stitch can be any stitch except a slip stitch because I need a vertical "bar" or "leg" of the stitch to comfortably and swiftly work into. 
It's so easy to do it, but the words can make it sound difficult. You might just want to watch a mini-video instead! Amie Hirtes of Nexstitch created the best-ever video on this method of crocheting great picots. 

In the video, Amie uses a slip stitch worked into these two loops to close the picot. Depending on the look (which sometimes has to do with the yarn, or my hook size), I might close with a single crochet worked into these two loops instead of a slip stitch. Either way, I love how it stabilizes a picot with a stronger base, and it's is easier to make quickly. Closing with a sc instead of sl st can add more bulk if the picots seem puny. 

The 1,380 Cashmere Picots Scarf
When I choose *against* this method, such as in these last two photos, it may be because the picot can come out looking blockish. Also sort of flat or less of a pearly 3-D knot. Each case is different. (Note: some of the picots at left are mixed in with petals.)

I always try out a range of ways to make picots no matter what the pattern or stitch dictionary says.
For example:

  • Chain 4 instead of 3 (most people chain 3)
  • Heck, try chaining 2 and then close with a sc (usually makes a little molehill)
  • Chain tightly. Or, loosely.
  • Close it with a sc if you tried a sl st
  • If you work into the first chain of the picot chains, try working into different loops of that chain.
  • Invent-A-Picot: I wonder what happens if you chain 1 then do a 2-hdc puff in the top of the stitch just before the chain-1?
I hope each crocheter explores alternate ways to make picots so that each of us always gets the kind that we want!

*Yucky defined: when applied to picots, a technical term for lumpy, lopsided, floppy, puny, deflated, and/or stringy. Basically, neither cute nor elegant nor precious; and furthermore, not of uniform cuteness, as picots are rarely found alone in the wild.