Chain & Stitch Join Tutorial

The chain & stitch combination join is probably the most-used technique in my yarny bag of tricks; it’s also the subject of many of the questions I get about my patterns!

I use this end-of-the-round joining technique in the majority of my designs, since it is ideal for openwork circular crochet (my favorite) in which you want to begin the next round in the middle of a chain space.

 

Crochet Market Bag 2

Say we are creating several rounds of ch-4 mesh loops, like in my free market bag pattern. Since the sc “anchor” of these loops is worked into the middle of the chain space, we have to begin and end the rounds in the middle. If we finish the last ch-4 loop and connect it to the first sc of the round, we join with a slip stitch and end the round with our hook positioned on the sc, not in the middle of the loop. In this scenario, it would be necessary to “travel” forward to the middle of the next loop to begin. Usually this is done by slip stitching.

Which totally works – but for personal preference, I like to replace the slip stitch travel with the chain & stitch combo join. It lets me avoid adding bulk or changing the tension of the lace design. Also, working into individual chain stitches can sometimes be tedious πŸ˜› As I’m sure we all know.

Here’s how to replace those slip stitch travels!

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Since each crochet stitch has an equivalent number of chain stitches, chain and stitch joins just replace a certain number of chain stitches in a loop with a crochet stitch of equivalent length worked into the stitch in which you would normally join. (Some people typically equate one chain length for a hdc. More on that later)

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In a chain 5 loop where we wanted to start the next round in the middle of a space, we’d replace the last 3 chains in the loop with a dc (equivalent of 3 chains) worked into the beginning of the round to join. This lands your hook in the middle of an equivalent sized space, ready to start the next round without traveling anywhere. The side of the dc stitch is now treated as the second half of the loop, with any new stitches of the next round worked under the side of the stitch.

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You can replace any number of chain stitches in a row-end join with a stitch, depending on where you want your hook to be positioned for the next round. If your next round works several stitches into the chain spaces, you can begin further back on the loop to make room by replacing more chains.

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The ch-1 and treble combo pictured above (forming a ch-5 sized loop) leaves some space ahead in the loop for working several stitches. Β Also, depending on your gauge and tension, you may find that some stitch join combos work better than others.

For instance, I often work stitch joins that are a little over half because I find that it ends up looking more centered. Using ch-1 and a double (3 chains long) to end in the middle of a ch-4 sized space works better for me than a combination of 2 chains and a hdc. The image below is an example that from the Lotus Mandala Duster pattern, which uses a ton of joins like this:

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Rather than work a ch-2 and hdc stitch join combo, which would ideally replace 2 of the chain stitches, I use a ch-1 and dc combo. One of the reasons for that is the pesky HDC is easily shortened by tension/gauge differences – which, actually, makes it good for replacing BOTH lengths of 2 chains and lengths of one chain.

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In the example above, a hdc is replacing the entirety of a ch-2 length space before chaining for the next round. I keep the tension loose so it’s more like 2 ch stitches long. In the example below, I use the hdc to replace a ch-1 size space by keeping the tension tight to shorten it.

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PS this is DEFINITELY not a sneak peek of a brand new AWESOME pattern I am working on finishing up πŸ˜‰ I am NOT EXCITED ABOUT IT AT ALL

When it comes to ch-1 length spaces, I dither back and forth between chain & stitch joins and slip stitch travels. Sometimes substituting a stitch isn’t really necessary or is disadvantageous depending on where you want to land for your next round.

One way the choice between the two methods makes a difference is that it changes the way your join “seams” lean. For slip stitch traveling, each round is going to be offset FORWARD in your pattern, meaning that you will begin slightly further along in the circle in whichever direction you crochet (to the left for righties, to the right for lefties).

With chain & stitch join combos, your joins will lean BACKWARD in your pattern because each new round will be offset in the opposite direction you crochet (to the right for righties, to the left for lefties). Here’s an example of a part of the Lotus Duster that has several rounds of openwork crochet that use the chain & stitch join combo. The joins are highlighted.

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Because of this difference in direction, it’s important to use whichever join strategy the pattern indicates unless you are positive that it won’t matter later.

That’s it! If you have any questions about the chain & stitch join combo, ask away in the comments below! πŸ™‚

 

A few of my patterns that use the chain & stitch join combo: (clockwise left to right) Blossom Vest, Flower Child Pullover, Sol Halter Top, Mini Mandala Tam, Lotus Vest, Lotus Duster…

And of course, more to come πŸ˜‰

-MF

 

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Leafy Tam Free Crochet Pattern

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Since going back to school, tams have pretty much been my best friend. They are nice and practical, keeping my hair out of my face and away from getting caught in my bag straps; I like to wad up my hair, cram one of those babies on top and leave it there for the rest of the day. I usually make a Mini Mandala Slouchy Tam, but this time I wanted to do something new – and I liked the results so much I made another and wrote this pattern to share!

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Leafy Tam

Materials:
5.50 mm hook
Accent Color Β – 20 yds any #4 weight yarn
Main color – Red Heart Boutique Treasure in β€œTapestry” Β (#4, 3.5 oz / 150 yds) – 1 skein
Gauge: 6 sts & 3 rows = 2″ in dc

For a detailed photo-tutorial on how to work the crochet leaf motif used in this pattern, see my blog post here.

Rnd 1: * Ch 5 – last 2 ch counts as the beg ch-2 in the leaf motif. In the 3rd ch from the hook, work 4 dc, ch-2 length picot in the last dc made, 3 hdc in the same stitch. Rotate, working in the same st on the other side of the beg chain, 2 hdc. Join motif in the round with a sl st in the 2nd ch of beg ch-2. Sl st in the 2nd ch st from the motif.* Rpt * to * 4 times total. Sl st in the bottom of the first motif to join the 4 leaves in a circle. Cut yarn and tie offΒ  –  4 leaves

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Rnd 2: With main color, join yarn with a single crochet to the picot of one of the leaves. (Ch 4, sc in the 3rd hdc. Ch 4, sc in the 2nd dc of the next leaf. Ch 4,* sc in the picot) 3 times, ending last rpt at *. Join with a sl st to the first sc of the round. – 12 ch-4 spaces

Rnd 3: Sl st in the next ch-4 space. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 3 dc in the same ch-4 space. (4 dc in the next ch-4 space) 11 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 48 dc

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Rnd 4: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in ea of the next 47 dc. Sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 48 dc.

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Rnd 5: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the next 2 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 Dc in ea of the next 3 sts, 2 dc in the next st) 11 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 60 dc.

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Rnd 6: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the next 4 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 Dc in ea of the next 5 sts, 2 dc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 70 dc.

Rnds 7 – 10: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 1 Dc in ea of the next 69 sts. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 70 dc.

Rnd 11: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 1 dc in ea of the next 4 sts. Dc2tog over the next 2 sts. (1 dc in ea of the next 5 sts, dc2tog over the next 2 sts) 9 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 60 dc.

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Rnd 12: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 1 dc in ea of the next 3 sts. Dc2tog over the next 2 sts. (1 dc in ea of the next 4 sts, dc2tog over the next 2 sts) 9 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 50 dc.

Rnd 13: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 1 dc in ea of the next 2 sts. Dc2tog over the next 2 sts. (1 dc in ea of the next 3 sts, dc2tog over the next 2 sts) 9 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 40 dc.

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Rnds 14-16: Ch 2 – does not count as first st. Fpdc in the same st as join. Bpdc in the next st. (Fpdc in the next st, bpdc in the next st) 19 times. Join with a sl st to the first fpdc of the round.

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Remember when working the fpdc/bpdc that the dc2tog counts as ONE stitch to be worked into (as shown above)

Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in ends.

With accent color, Ch 5, make leaf motif. Ch 5 again, make 2nd leaf motif. Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing. With a tapestry needle, sew these twin leaves to the brim of your new hat!

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Hope you like!

-MF

Clearance Sale

This month the full moon whispered “Start nine different projects” and of course I hastened to obey πŸ˜› Which means I’m going to need to make some storage space! So how about a nice big clearance?

Get 25% off ANYTHING in my Etsy shop until July 25, 2017 with the coupon code “CLEARANCE25”. This coupon code INCLUDES crochet patterns because hey, why not?

You can even get the clearance price on the newer items I just added to the shop:

Like this!

Or this!

Or even this!

Model: Lainy Clayton

Man, I really love how that Lotus Mandala Cardigan turned out!

-MF

Plum Fairy Dress

As I’ve mentioned in a few other posts this summer, one of my ongoing goals has been to crack open a few of the crochet patterns I’ve purchased in the past. I was so excited to add Earth Tricks’ pattern for the Pineapple Fairy Dress to this little to-do list! I really admire her designs and you can see more of her work on Ravelry and on Etsy.

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I really enjoyed the detailing in the bodice of the dress – lots of shells, lacey spaces, and of course that excellent motif-based racerback design!

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I used Premier Cotton Fair in Plum and my gauge was a wee bit shy of correct. However, since the pattern offered lots of advice on customizing the sizing I just went with it and I love how it came out!

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I also ran out of yarn (I blew through four skeins which isn’t too shabby for a project like this!) so the pineapples at the hem don’t have their finishing touches, but I don’t think it is too noticeable πŸ˜‰

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I love how the A-line shape is perfect for wearing over a full skirt to really show off the pattern.

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Model: Lainy Clayton

I just got my yarn in the mail to start herΒ Calyx Cardigan, and I’ve got a few more new items that will go into a shop update pretty soon, which MIGHT even be accompanied by a sale… if you’re not already following me on FacebookΒ to get the latest updates, you should!

-MF

Cecilia Skirt Belt

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Surprise! Here’s an extra fun little pattern you can use to really get creative with bells, charms, beads, fabric scraps, and spare funky yarns – the Cecilia Skirt Belt, available in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store for 5.50 USD πŸ™‚ Hope you love it!

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A ragtag faerie belt made for a midsummer dance session with your pixie crew! This crocheted belt features crocodile stitches decorated with a fabric fringe skirt and whatever bells, beads, charms, or treasures you can string on.

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With the pattern for an Adult and a Child size version, instructions for creating a custom-sized belt, and lots of tutorial photos on crocheting the belt and adding the fringe skirt, you can make one for all the magical folk you know!

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Use as a pretty layer over skirts (as shown with the Adult version in the photos), at the beach, as an accent to your favorite funky leggings, for costuming, or wherever you want to bring the magic πŸ™‚

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Sizes:
Adult – 34″ (not including d-rings and ties)
Child – 20″ (not including d-rings and ties)
+ Custom sizing instructions

Materials:
3.75 hook
Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton – 1 skein
Scrap Fabric
1″ D rings (2)
Bells, beads, or charms, ribbons, funky yarns, etc
Tapestry needle & scissors

Big thanks to the lovely models Lainy Clayton and her sweet (and very patient) daughter Thea!  ❀

-MF

Weekend Updates

Just a few quick FYI-type announcements today!

I have just released a couple pattern updates which you can read about below! These are things I’ve adjusted based on feedback from customers that I am excited to have finally gotten done. If you have already purchased these patterns you should be able to download the new version by accessing your purchase history and finding the download link.

Also, I will be taking a couple days off starting Friday the 23rd because I’ll be busy with family activities πŸ™‚ Hope you have a good one! I’ll be back to responding to questions and comments on Monday the 26th of June.

Pattern Updates:
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The pattern for the Plus Size Sol Halter TopΒ has gotten an extended photo tutorial section for working the motif join, edging, and straps! 20 new photos have been added to make navigating the finishing parts of this halter top easier πŸ™‚

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And for the Lotus Mandala Vest, I have added STITCH COUNTS for every round! Hooray, finally! This should help clear up some of the more common questions that people have had when working this pattern. Also, did you know that I recently released a tutorial for adding cardigan sleeves to this vest?

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That’s all for now! ❀

-MF

 

Lotus Cardigan Sleeve Free Pattern

First off, I am having a PATTERN SALE through my Ravelry store from now until June 30, 2017! Buy one pattern, get one free with the coupon code SALESTICE. Hope you are having a lovely summer so far!

Secondly, as promised, here is the FREE pattern/tutorial on attaching a cardigan-style sleeve to the Lotus Mandala Vest! I can’t stop making these in every colorway of Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Ball πŸ™‚

The sleeve pattern shown here is also now available as an adjunct PDF when you buy the PDF for the Lotus Vest (an option available for those who want a portable file rather than having to work from the free online version). If you already have bought the pattern, you should be able to access the new PDF through your purchases.

 

UnderSea1These instructions are for adding sleeves to the Lotus Mandala Circular Vest – the pattern is written for size small sleeves, but you can size up by skipping 1 dc in Rnd 2 instead of 2 dc and working fewer decreases throughout the pattern.

Materials:

5.5 mm hook

Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball – 3 skeins (2 for working the vest itself, 1 for adding the sleeves). Color show in Tutorial is “Prism,” color shown on model is “Peaceful Earth”

Scissors and tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

To Begin:

Work the Lotus Vest in its entirety – with or without the extra rounds before the armholes is fine (the tutorial instructions are pictured WITH the 2 extra rounds). However, if you modified the length of the armhole chain & spacing, remember that the stitch counts for adding the sleeves will not be the same.

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Rnd 1: Join yarn in between the first 2 dc’s on the chain base of the upper part of the shoulder yoke. Ch-3.

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(1 Dc in between the next 2 dc sts) 39 times.

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2 dc under the side of the next dc.

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If you worked extra rounds: 2 dc in the same chain space occupied by the dc just worked into. 2 dc in each of the next 11 ch spaces. 2 dc in the next ch space (also occupied by the dc of the armhole round). 2 dc under the side of the next dc. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 70 dc sts

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If you didn’t work extra rounds: 1 dc in the same st occupied by the dc just worked into. 1 dc in ea of the next 24 sts. 1 dc in the next dc (also occupied by the dc of the armhole round). 2 dc under the side of the next dc. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 70 sts

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Rnd 2: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. Sk next 2 sts. (1 dc in the next st, ch 1, sk next 2 sts) 22 times. 1 Dc in the next st, join with a hdc to the 3rd ch of beg ch-4. – 24 ch spaces

For a larger sleeve, skip only one st between dc stitches in Rnd 2.

Rnd 3: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next space, ch 1) 22 times. 1 dc in the next space, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4. – 24 ch spaces

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Rnds 4-7: Rpt Rnd 3.

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Rnd 8: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 11 times. Dc2tog over the next 2 ch spaces, ch 1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 9 times. 1 dc in the next space, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 23 spaces

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Rnd 9: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 11 times. Dc2tog over the next 2 ch spaces, ch 1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 8 times. 1 dc in the next space, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 22 spaces

Rnd 10: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 20 times. 1 dc in the next space, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 22 spaces.

Rnds 11-14: Rpt Rnd 10

Rnd 15: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 10 times. Dc2tog over the next 2 ch spaces, ch 1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 8 times. 1 dc in the next space, joing with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4. – 21 spaces. – 21 spaces

Rnd 16: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 10 times. Dc2tog over the next 2 ch spaces, ch 1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 7 times. 1 dc in the next space, joing with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4. – 21 spaces. – 20 spaces

Rnd 17: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 18 times. 1 dc in the next space, join with a hdc to the 3rd ch of the beg ch-4. – 20 spaces.

Rnds 18 – 34: Rpt Rnd 17.

Rnd 35: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1) 19 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4. 20 spaces.

Rnd 36: (Sk next ch-1 space. In the next dc work 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tr, 1 dc, 1 hdc. Sk next ch-1 space, sl st in the next dc.) 10 times. Cut yarn and tie off. Repeat on the other side.

Weave in all ends.

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Next color up: Moonstone! They’re addictive πŸ˜‰

-MF