Crochet Surgery, Part 2: The Philosophy of Crochet

In this installment of the blog post I’m continuing my conversation about fixing my long-term WIP blanket to cut out a tight beginning chain and detailing how you can do this in your own projects! Let me just state that cutting crochet should be a last resort. Your project, depending on how you decide to rejoin, is not going to look the same.

Before I get to the steps, let me talk with you a little bit on the philosophy of crochet so you have the reasoning behind it. I can show you the steps for one crochet’d bit, but if you try to apply it to a different project, say a ripple afghan or a chained lace project, it’s not going to go well unless I give you the justification for it.

I love the concept of crochet and sometimes you lose sight of it if you’ve crochet’d for a while. You forget that everything is one strand of yarn. Everything you do is connected and is built upon the foundation you set in the previous row and nothing is stand-alone. This linear thinking is very similar to how we live life, so a lot of the times…

I like to think of my previous row as: the past;

the row I’m working on: the present;

and the next row I haven’t started yet: the future.

The actions you do in the present have an effect on what happens in the future—so in my case I used a tight chain for the beginning of the blanket and it’s a horrible foundation for the rest of the stitches. Sometimes you can wing it and it works out, but a lot of the time you have to make plans for the future you want to happen. That’s the best part of crochet—you can make whatever you want as long as you can plan for it. Life, on the other hand, things can get in the way and it gets complicated.

So let’s take a look at our crochet timeline (DC swatch):

1
I’ve done the rows in different colors to help show the different parts of the crochet stitch. Every stitch has the same foundation, so while this is DC, you can easily do this with SLP, SC, HDC, even TC.

Since I’ve crocheted in a linear fashion (bottom to top), I only have to secure one side. I’m going to sew in a life line in the future parts of this project and the row you plan to cut is what I dubbed “the present”. Let’s say the red row is really bugging me on this project and it’s not the right color I want.

I’ll take a tapestry needle and a contrasting yarn color and weave a straight line through the legs of the “future” row.

2
1. Make sure to separate the legs away from the top of the row you’re planning to cut. This will help when you pull the scraps out easier after cutting.
3
2. Continue to go through each set of legs. Notice each stitch has two legs–when you rejoin, you’ll pair them up just like this.
3. Your lifeline is in place! Make sure to have plenty of line on both sides, if it comes out during the cutting process it can get hairy quickly, so tie a large knot on the ends if you're afraid of it coming out.
3. Your lifeline is in place! Make sure to have plenty of line on both sides, if it comes out during the cutting process it can get hairy quickly, so tie a large knot on the ends if you’re afraid of it coming out.

Once every stitch has been secured like this, you can begin to cut!

5
4. Turn the project so that the row is vertical to you, and cut the middle of the “present” row, all the way to the end

Gently pull the scraps out, you may have to cut some to loosen them if they were originally HDC stitches or taller.

5. Don't be afraid to pull a little here--that's what the lifeline is really great for. The "past" row isn't going anywhere, it's going to look like your crochet row.
5. Don’t be afraid to pull a little here–that’s what the lifeline is really great for. The “past” row isn’t going anywhere, it’s going to look like your crochet row.

Now you’re ready to rejoin! Depending on what you want to do is how you’re going to tackle it. You can easily do a simple slip/SC join by hooking through both sides of the stitches (the right-most stitch on the past row and the right-most two legs of the future row) and then completing the stitch desired. As I said before, cutting crochet should be your last resort–it’s going to leave a ridge of crochet tops and it’s not going to look the same as the other stitches.

For my large WIP, a simple slip stitch join was not going to work since that’s pretty much what I cut out. I needed a DC rejoin for it to be stretchy like the other stitches. I also crocheted on both sides of my foundation row, so I had to put in two life-lines. Here’s the process I took:

Lifelines in on both sides and I'm ready to cut
Lifelines in on both sides and I’m ready to cut
Cutting down the middle of a chain is frightening! Luckily I was cutting a chain AND the first DC row
Cutting down the middle of a chain is frightening! Luckily I was cutting a chain AND the first DC row
Fully separated!
Fully separated!
All the scrap yarn that I cut! I'm still finding red-fuzzies everywhere
All the scrap yarn that I cut! I’m still finding red-fuzzies everywhere
Rejoining with a DC stitch-- start as normal but stop right before the last YO that completes the stitch
Rejoining with a DC stitch– start as normal but stop right before the last YO that completes the stitch
Insert hook through the two legs of corresponding stitch. YO and complete the DC stitch.
Insert hook through the two legs of corresponding stitch. YO and complete the DC stitch.
Rejoined look on the RS. The new join made my entire project 1 foot longer!
Rejoined look on the RS. The new join made my entire project 1 foot longer!

Thanks for joining me on this journey and sticking with me on this long winded post! I hope you try this out on your own crochet dilemmas.

Cheers,

-Kate

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