When I think about what sets apart my successful crochet projects from the not-so-successful ones (or the absolute disasters, because we all have those), I can come up with a few reasons:
- Wrong yarn - wrong weight, or wrong type of fibre
- Wrong fit (for garments) - everyone has a different body shape, of course, and knowing enough about what suits you - tailored or boxy? Long or short? - is very important to the ultimate success of a garment. More about that in a later post!
- Poor finishing - ends not securely sewn in, ugly seaming or wrong/lack of ribbing/edging
It’s this last one that I want to focus on today, because a poor finish can really ruin an otherwise well-executed project. It’s the boring bit at the end, I know, but it does make a difference. Ribbing especially can have a huge impact on to whether a garment fits properly, and how well it lasts with frequent wear.
There are several ways of working crochet ribbing, each with their own characteristics - super-stretchy, or nice and neat, or just easy to do. In the first part of this series on crochet ribbing, I want to show you how to create a tight rib using a combination of HTC (HDC for you US folks) and slip stitches worked in the back loop.
HTC and slip stitch ribbing
Use it for:
Areas that need to sit snugly on the body with only a little stretch, such as necklines, sleeves edges and hems.
Avoid it when:
You need a very stretchy or flexible edge, such as on hat brims or sock cuffs.
Make it your own:
- Experiment with different hook sizes - a small hook for a very tight and stiff rib, a larger hook for something with more give.
- Increase or decrease the number of repeats - as this ribbing is worked directly into a selvedge edge, you can work more repeats for a straight, looser finish, or fewer to give you a more drawn-in effect (see further notes in step-by-step instructions below).
3.0mm crochet hook
Yarn: this rib works with any yarn weight or type. The type of fibre in particular influences the look and feel of the rib. For example, linen, cotton and non-superwash wool will be neat and stiff, while a superwash wool or alpaca will have more flexibility.
For this tutorial, I’ve used a cotton yarn in DK weight with a small hook to get a tight rib.
Stitches + Abbreviations
BLO - back loop only
Ch - chain
HTC - half treble crochet
RS - right side
Sl st - slip stitch
Slst2tog - slip stitch 2 together:insert hook, YO and pull up a loop, insert hook into next st, YO and pull through work and two loops on your hook (see step-by-step photos below)
Note this tutorial uses UK crochet terms
With RS facing, pull yarn through first stitch on edge and ch 6. Turn.
R1: Starting in 2nd chain from hook, HTC 1 to end. 5 sts.
To attach the ribbing to the body of the garment, slst2tog the next 2 sts: insert hook, YO and pull up a loop, insert hook into next st, YO and pull through work and two loops on your hook. To adjust the tightness of the ribbing, you can either skip a stitch before working the sl2tog (= tighter), or you can just work a single sl st (= looser).
R2: Do not ch 1, skip 1, sl st 1 in BLO to end.
R3: Ch 1, skip 1, sl st 1 in BLO to end. Attach to hem with a sl st.
R4: Repeat R2.
R5: Ch 1, HTC 1 in BLO to end. Attach to hem with slst2og.
Repeat R2-R5 to end.
You may not reproduce, either partially or in full, any of the photos or the text contained in this tutorial without obtaining written permission from me first.
Thank you and happy crocheting!