Thursday, April 16, 2015

What can you do with the most basic crochet stitch - the chain?

Some people, those who "don't know any better" or with really creative minds, can create masterpieces.  Basic ideas that come to almost all minds include jump ropes, jewelry, scarves and bookmarks.

As a small child, my mother taught my sister and I to finger crochet.  We made chains, chains and more chains.  We found the sport weight yarn didn't make good jump ropes. It needs some weight to be effective.  The yarn jewelry and scarves were frowned upon by Mom.  The hand crafted look was not one she liked or approved.  To be fair to Mom, psychedelic colors on skinny yarn finger crocheted by 5 year olds may have had less to do with hippie look and more to do with us not strangling each other during our fights.

She did however encourage us to make the chains.  Sadly she couldn't teach us to use the hook and make bigger stitches.  I'm not sure if this was because we didn't get it or if we lacked the fine motor skills.  Either way, we were encouraged and she dutifully sewed the chains into mats to sit a bud vase on.  Yes, you read right. I said sewed as in needle and thread.  I need to mention Mom hated to sew.  I had forgotten this memory until I started writing about this topic.  Sadly I can't post any pictures. I have no idea what happened to those childhood treasures.

Through the years I have learned or thought of more ways to use this most basic crochet stitch.  I have used chains to

  • Be a substitute for ribbons for packages or hair
  • Ties for hats
  • Puppy leash
  • Shoelaces
  • Drawstring for trunks, hoods, or sleep pants
  • Garland
  • Snowflakes
  • Doilies
  • Shawls
  • Thermal blankets
I don't advise the leash.  Puppies like to chew.  I don't advise the shoestrings for long term use.  The wear factor is nil at the eyelets.

I was surprised when I saw the blanket and shawl patterns.  The blanket was in an old, old baby pattern book.  The premise of the pattern is chains held together at short regular intervals with slip stitches.  This is repeated for the length of the blanket.  Even though I knew the size yarn used in the 40s, I decided to  try this pattern for a new baby.  This was a tedious, no rhythm slooooow to grow blanket.  The baby got a sweater.

I still have hope for the blanket.  It just needs tweaked.  The snowflakes and doilies are no surprise since lace is all about chains to create holes when combined with slip stitches.  For the record, a slip stitch is a chain that happens to go through the fabric you are creating to either join two ends or allow you to travel to the spot where the new row/round begins.

The shawl also surprised me.  The shawl I am referring to is the flower of life chain shawl.  It is based on chains, slip stitches and hexagons.  Holding the chain stitches in their floral design are the slip stitches.  I know there are more patterns out there using just this basic stitch, but I'll let you have some fun discovering them.  Please post a link in the comments of your findings.