I love it when experiments work out in my favor! Today I have a little mini-lesson for you that contains a few different tips, like how to work this lovely lace stitch. But first, I'd like to share with you the story behind how I made one of my favorite mesh stitches into an even-more-delicate lace...
Rheumatoid arthritis is still doing its best to cripple these hands of mine, and there are days that holding an "average" size hook is difficult. When I can't close my fingers, I lose hold of the narrow hook and drop it continuously. But I crochet with more motion in my wrists than in my fingers, so I'd have no problem working if I could only keep hold of my hook!
Sure, a set of ergonomic hooks with big handles might solve the issue, but there's no room for that in the budget after the financial hits I've taken lately. While working on a (top-secret) two-strand afghan with a large plastic hook, I noticed that the bigger hook wasn't causing pressure on my joints and it was easier to hold. I started experimenting with large hooks and worsted weight yarn (like for the textured 1-2-3-Beautiful Scarf). I was pleased with the results at first, but now I think I've blown my own mind with this new project...
An unusual method:
A size "P" hook meets Woolike yarn by Loops & Threads... This is a super-fine (1) weight yarn with a little bit of stretch, perfect for lace. But WAIT! A 10 mm hook with such a light yarn??? YES. It was a minor battle at first as a tried to keep the springy yarn on the large hook without pulling my loops too tight, but with some practice I started producing a pattern. The result is the same lace mesh I love, but even better. The big loops created by the hook add a bit of a Love Knot look to the stitch. The super-fine yarn works up into a fabric that's light as air and stretches to fit.
Chain 3, then single crochet in the next available chain space.
Worked in the round, I started this pattern with a magic circle, chained 1 (skip that when joining), and began with a single crochet. I worked a total of 8 chain-spaces in the beginning loop.
But... How to join?
First, back up... Don't chain 3 for the last space! I showed you in the tutorial for the Be Square Top how to join with a single crochet for a chain-1 space. Now, there's a few options you can make for a chain-3 space:
If you want to begin the next round at the left side of your chain space, you can chain 2 and join with that single crochet. 1 single crochet = 1 chain high. So, 1 single crochet + 2 chains = 3 chains across.
(My method) To begin the next round in the middle of the chain space, chain 1 and join with a half-double crochet. (Half double = 2 chains high)
To move your beginning spot all the way over to the right side of the chain space, just join with a double crochet stitch. (Double crochet = 3 chains high)
This project is worked as a square (in the round), so the stitch pattern stays the same for each space across. To create corners, make an additional (chain-3, single crochet) in the corner space. (Joining space shown above is a corner.)
To start each round in a corner space, begin with one single crochet in the chain space. Work across and around the square, back to the beginning space. Make one single crochet in the beginning chain space, then join with your preferred method.
Here's a chart:
(Click to expand if needed.)
Now, let me ask: Can you find the joining spaces in the pattern?
With the corner stitch I'm using, you might think it would be better to join with (chain-2, single crochet) to begin at the left side, right? Yup, I started with that, but noticed my square twisting after round 2. I ripped it out and tried (chain-1, half double crochet)...
Keep in mind that I begin the round with a chain-1 that does not count as a stitch, then make a single crochet after it. This moves the beginning stitch back over to the left a bit, so that I'm not actually beginning the round in the middle of the chain space.
If you want to work a fully round (not square) pattern, you'll need to begin in the middle of that chain space. In that case, you can still use (chain-1, half double crochet), because you're not fighting the twist of a square.
-You can also use the double crochet for a join if you're skipping the beginning chain-1, because the first single crochet will be moved over as it is in my square... Try out different stitch combinations and see which you like best.
As for the rest, I'm keeping it top-secret. I want you to take one, two, or all three of these tips and go create what your imagination wants. Don't care to work with the big hook? You can still use the stitch pattern to work up some beautiful lace. Working a different lace stitch? Go ahead and try some of those stitch combinations for a better join.