Monday, August 15

Try a Linked Stitch to Close the Gap Between a Turning Chain and Double Crochet Stitch

No Gaps Along the Sides of Double Crochet Rows
Crocheters who don't like that gap or hole that happens at the start of every row of double crochet stitches {UK: treble} have developed their own favorite ways to lessen or eliminate it. These handy tricks tend to get buried in crochet books, if they are mentioned at all. It was also not so easy for me to find them around the 'net. For more, please see issue #25 of my Crochet Inspirations newsletter.

This post will focus on how to do the method that I like the best for my Lunasa Seasonal Lace Bag, with step by step photos below. Note that for Jempool and other planned pooling with crochet, several methods may be better depending on how much of a color you have to work with at each row end.

For a project like Lunasa I chain-3 as usual to begin a new row of double crochet stitches. I link the first double crochet to the chain-3. This little trick will be familiar to anyone who has already learned how to do linked double crochet stitches. 

I like it because no holes will show along each side edge of the purse after seaming. It creates a solid, sturdy, stable selvage-type edge for rows of double crochet {UK: treble}. It's perfect for the purse I'm crocheting.

You can link to the turning chain more than one way. The way shown here is the most compact. (For clothing I'd use a more flexible one and a looser gauge).

All photos can be viewed at full resolution in this photo set. (Click on the photo in the set to see more viewing choices at the top of the image.)
Step 1: Chain 3 (turning chain)

Step 1: Chain 3 to begin a new row of dc, as usual.

Step 2: Turn counterclockwise so that the
backs of the chains face you
Step 2: Turn Counterclockwise {UK anti-clockwise}. 
If you're crocheting left handed, turn clockwise. Either way, the back bump of each chain should be facing you for this method. 
Note: I've noticed that the turning direction creates a distinctly different variations for this linked edge. See swatches in the bottom left column of newsletter.
Step 3: Insert hook in 2nd chain

Step 3: For this project, I'm inserting the hook under *two* loops of the 2nd chain. The edge comes out compacted this way, however, it's more common with linked stitches to work them into one loop, not two. 
In fact, the straightest edge of all happens for me when I link to only the leftmost front loop of the chain (instead of including that middle "bump" of chain with it.) If I didn't want such a dense selvage for the sides of this bag, I would insert the hook under one loop of the chain only. 
I make a point of turning my work so that the backs of the turning chains face me because I find it slightly easier to work my last stitch into the top of the turning chain if the front of it is facing me in the next row. Make sense? (You may prefer to work into another loop or two of the chain, and to turn your work a different way.)
Step 4A

Step 4A: Yarn Over Hook.
Step 4B: Pull up loop in the second chain.

Step 4B: Pull loop through second chain. The two loops on the hook now count as the two loops you would have on your hook if you were about to make a standard double crochet stitch {UK Treble}. No need to yarn over to begin the dc {UK tr}.
Seeing it this way has helped me to remember how to do linked stitches. For example, if I wanted to do a linked treble {UK: double treble}, I'd make sure I had 3 loops on my hook instead of 2, as if I had yarned-over twice.
Step 5: Pull up loop in next stitch.

Step 5: Pull up loop in next dc of row. For this purse edge version, the turning chain-3 counts as the first dc of the row, so you skip the very first dc along the edge, and work your linked dc in the next stitch. Therefore, your last dc of each row will be worked into the top of the turning chain.
Step 6: Linked dc almost completed.

Step 6: Yarn over and pull through: just as with regular ol' dc, yarn over your hook and pull loop through two loops on your hook. Two loops remain.
Step 7: The "Beginning Linked Dc" (its official name)
is now complete.

Step 7: Yarn over and pull through last two loops on the hook. Your first dc is linked to the turning chain-3. (For the Lunasa bag the rest of the row is plain double crochets, not linked doubles.)

You can apply this strategy to any tall stitch. For a row of trebles {UK: double trebles}, chain 4 for the turning chain. Pull up a loop in the second chain and another in the third chain. You'll have *three* loops on your hook, just as if you'd yarned over twice to begin a treble.