Adding Some Height with Extended Stitches

When I am teaching I find that if my students make a mistake, it is because they are attempting something more advanced than they had learned. One such “more advanced stitch” is working Extended Stitches.

Extended stitches are a great way to make more gentle curves, or even help make gauge, and they are pretty easy to create. The technique of extending can be used with any crochet stitch, and only adds one additional step.

To create the stitch you start whichever stitch you are work, just as you always do. Meaning if you are creating a single crochet, insert you hook in the indicated stitch, yarn over and pull through; if you are creating double crochet, yarn over then insert in you hook in the indicated stitch, yarn over and pull through. The extension happens right after the “yarn over and pull through”, this is the point in a stitch that I refer to as “anchoring” as it secures the stitch being created to fabric being created.

After “anchoring the stitch” you yarn over and pull through a loop, essentially creating a chain. Then you complete the stitch as usual. This little added chain gives a little extra height to the stitch, however it does not make it as tall as the next typical stitch in crochet. This helps create a gentler curve in a gradual stitch taper.

There is only a slight difference in the appearance of these extended stitches, and that is a little extra “v” at the base of the stitch post.

Steps for working typical crochet stitches, note: all photo examples are worked to the left of the typical version of the stitch for comparison:

Extended Single Crochet (esc):

Insert hook into indicated stitch, yarn over pull through a loop to anchor, chain one, yarn over and pull through 2 loops.

Extended Half Double Crochet (ehdc):

Yarn over, insert hook into indicated stitch, yarn over pull through a loop to anchor, chain one, yarn over and pull through 3 loops.

Extended Double Crochet (edc):

Yarn over, insert hook into indicated stitch, yarn over and pull through a loop to anchor, chain one, yarn over pull through 2 loops, yarn over pull through 2 loops.

Small Shifts, Big Differences…Where is Your Yarn?

ScannedImageSimple things can make a huge difference….I was reminded of this just the other day, as I was putting together some “join-as-you-go” motifs.


Working yarn behind the hook

They would join at through chain loops, and I found that I was working along splendidly, then put things down and come back and have the joins twisting. I could not for the life of me figure out what was causing this difference. I was entering the chain in the same direction, I was making the same number of stitches, and so what was my hold up? Was I distracted? Were my fingers and hook no longer obeying?


Working yarn in front of hook, being pulled into chain stitch

Then, I noticed a very subtle difference….where was the working yarn drawing from? In every instant that I had a problem with the join twisting the working yarn was in front of my work, in front of my hook. This was the cause of the difference. Usually my working yarn is always behind my hook, this makes for a smooth fabric and joins that behave, but the simple acts of letting the working yarn get in front of the hook and everything goes backward.


Top join is worked with working yarn behind hook, and bottom join is worked with working yarn in front of hook. Notice the twist of the loops in the bottom join.

This is similar to the effects of how you “yarn over”, the placement has very subtle and telling results (for a description of that post check out “How do you YO?”). The working yarn in front of the hook creates an extra twist to my join and, though creates a more textured fabric, is not necessarily the effect I am looking for.
So I put a little extra knowledge of how crochet stitches work in my basket, and will have to play with it in the future and see what effects it can create, that I actually intend for.

How Do You YO? (Yarn Over)

ScannedImageIt is funny sometimes how you don’t really think about the little things. I was assisting with a crochet workshop this past week end, in which people were learning crochet stitches by placing an edging around a handkerchief, when the question came up about “yarn overs”.


Yarn over by coming under the yarn and rotating counter clockwise


Yarn over by coming over yarn and rotating clockwise

Now talking about something as simple and fundamental to crochet as the ability to put yarn over a hook should be pretty straight forward, but in reality it is not. There are primarily two different ways that this is done, the most common is to place the hook under the yarn and twist counter clock wise, and the other is to placer the hook over the yarn and twist clockwise. I always find it difficult to process the description mentally so I have included photos to help visually.

The effects from this differing yarn over techniques are subtle, but there is a difference, the latter method (coming over the top) adds more twist, and thus twist energy then the former (coming under the bottom). This twist energy is most evident in basic stitch of the chain, it is caused to twist.  Thus more complex stitches, such as picots, do not lay flat and require additional blocking to have a finished look. (Although it was pointed out to me, that if you wanted a really ruffled edge that this yarn over could be a benefit).

samples of yarn over chain stitches, those are the left are from under, and the right are worked with yarn over from the top

Another effect of this method is that the stitches can appear more compact, and tighter, even with the airiest of yarns. The extra twist compacts the yarn slightly and thus creates a stitch that may not be as full as that created by yarning over from the bottom.

If you find that your crochet fabric has a mind of its own at times, you may want to look at the simple steps you use to execute them and see if a small change could make a big difference. I always find it amazing that it really is the little things that can make all the difference.