Illusion DIY patterns in crochet

I previously posted on illusion knitting, and on one approach to designing simple patterns using the technique. The first 3 images below are of the swatch illustrating one of my hand knit patterns. 

Since I am now involved in a group interested chiefly in crochet, I got curious about executing the fabric in crochet. Part of the problem is that enough texture needs to be created to be able to read the “shadows”. I tried crocheting in different parts of the chain, around the posts in the row below, and ultimately went back to afghan stitch. I had not used the latter since making blankets first for my son, and then for my grandchildren.

the tunisian aka afghan stitch fabric as it looks head on tilted up to its side and its rear view

Those of you new to the technique can find some instruction at the Red Heart website , and in a beginning how to video from Crochetcrowd. I used Tunisian simple and Reverse Tunisian simple stitches to create my pattern. In this technique, chart texture rows are read right to left. The return rows are not illustrated. It takes 2 passes of color one, followed by 2 passes of color 2 to complete one pattern row. Yarn is carried up the side, color is changed in the same manner as in any crochet stitch. In my test swatch, no border stitches were planned for or included. It is always wise to test the repeat in repeat before working the fabric.

 two passes are needed with each color, so here is the repeat double length 

columns    A: color used   B: forward and backward pass for each color   C: number of passes to complete a single repeat. The highlighted box at bottom indicates a completed single design row. Only 2 colors are in use in the swatch. I found it easier to track my work and the edges where the textures need to meet by using an additional pair of colors in the chart itself. Rather than use the crochet terminology I marked my first stitches with F and B for each color, referencing the front/ forward, and rear/ back vertical loops/ posts respectively. As one moves across the row from right to left, when the color/ texture change is reached, the yarn is brought to the front or the back as needed, and the next color/ texture is worked in the reverse post/ loop.

working in back loop only of the starting chain produces a firmer edge at the bottom of the piece return pass every other row, not represented in chart changing color Front, vertical loop Back, vertical loopH: horizontal, V: vertical red indicates hook entrance through front, green for through back vertical bars respectively, prior to working the next stitch

Both swatches were made using similar weight yarns. The crochet version required more passes back and forth than in knitting, where the work may be turned over and the texture reversed on each knit row. The knit repeat measured approximately 5.5 inches L by approximately 4W, isolating my best guess stitch number equivalent to the crochet one. The crochet swatch measures 7 inches L by 6W.

Return to circles, knit and crochet “pies” 1

I began a series of posts on miters and spirals created on the knitting machine back in 2011. The oldest posts, 12, and 3 begin to address creating flat circles in machine knitting using holding techniques.

Hand knitting in circular format and crochet share some similarities. There are 2 methods of constructing circular work in crochet. 1: in rounds, (akin to knit miters in shape) where the end of each circular row is joined up to its own beginning to form a ring. A new starting chain (s) is formed to take the row up to the proper height for the next row to remain constant. Depending on the pattern, one has the option of continuing by turning the work or not at the end of each row. Doing so allows the opportunity of altering textures and working in the fronts or backs of stitches. 2: in spirals. Rather than joining the ring, one continues on by going into the tops of the posts in the previous row.

With spirals it is useful to mark the beginning of each round. Knitting markers shaped like safety pins are handy for that purpose. A line of contrasting color can also be created using a separate strand of yarn and alternating carrying it back or to the front prior to forming the first stitch in the new row.

As with knitting, crocheted circles are not true circles, but rather, they are polygons. The way to make shapes more circular is to scramble the increase points, putting them in different starting positions in each round (always spacing them equally and keeping the formula). Within limits one may make the starting number of stitches in the first round a multiple of the number of segments in the finished shape.

With the creation of a flat circle in mind, the number of stitches needed depends on the height of the stitch. The taller the stitch, the greater the number of stitches required. If the stitch stays the same throughout, the number of stitches added on each round is constant. Test work regularly at intervals as the work grows by placing it on a firm, flat surface, to see if working only one stitch into each stitch is required / enough at that point to maintain the shape. The more segments, the smoother the circumference.

Unlike in hand knitting, the first loop on the hook does not count as a stitch until you make it into something.

Spirals or miters knit on the machine begin with their radius; one possible construction method may be inferred from these images

Spreadsheet programs such as Excel and Numbers have pie charts and other tools that can help visualize or even plan the work with symbols. Unlike machine knitting, both crochet and hand knitting may begin and grow from the center out or from the outside in. Calculated shaping with increases or decreases along circumferences at different points on the pie create the desired shape. For the purposes of this discussion I will address stitches in US terms. There are various published guidelines with some variations. Fiber content and matching gauge (if required) may need editing of the numbers, but, as starting points:
Single Crochet [sc] : Start with 6 sc and increase 6 sc in each round so that the total stitch count in each round is a multiple of 6
Half Double Crochet [hdc] : multiple of 8
Double Crochet [dc] : Multiple of 12
Treble [tr]: multiple of 16

Some symbols and number of stitches required in base rows in table form, for working from center out:
the more wedges in the pie, the smoother the circumference no matter what the method. Single crochet is worked in 6 wedgesdouble crochet in 12 wedgeswedges may be reduced to simple line segments rounds may also be created to log in and track more details adding wedge outlines before filling in symbols

single crochet worked with slip stitch at the end of each row will produce  points similar to those seen in miters in machine knitting

spirals produce a rounder shape double crochet echoes the forms 

Building your own charts requires vector programs to allow for rotation of symbols around an axis. My chart was quickly produced in Inkscape, which is free to download for both Mac and PC users. Mac users in addition will also need to download XQuartz to run the program. I created the chart with my own symbols and freeform laid them down while viewing the grid. It turned out however, that there are 2 published videos on how to use the program for charting crochet stitches, part 1 and part 2 by

Two YouTube videos on topic:  using Illustrator CS 5.1, Marnie Mac Lean’s video, and using StitchWorksSoftware. An online generator by Stitch Fiddle, and its associated video.

if donuts are the goal: find your round 

An example: in single crochet, if round 3 had been completed, there would be 18 completed stitches. Chain 18, either slip stitch or continue in spiral to match count at that point. For round 4: increase every 4th, round 5: every fifth, round 6: every 6th, round 7: every 7th stitch.

A few sites to see for crochet tutorials:
magic ring start : no chain stitches, no center hole
working in spirals
a nice ending
crocheting a flat circle in single crochet: note the start “magic circle”
changing colors

I tend to swatch in easy to see colors, “friendly” yarn, and use tools that allow moving in and out of stitches easily until I have techniques sorted out. When knitting circles in the round, things get a bit more complex, particularly if one begins to introduce items such as round yokes with patterns into garments where gauge matters significantly.

Some of the same principles may be used in hand knitting. For magic loop start with circular needles: KNITFreedom, and on DPs Webs yarn

MK ladders, and a bit of crochet

I have recently been thinking about collars and edgings again, this time adding crochet detailing to help cut the edge curl and add interest. In a previous post I showed an edging done in drop stitch (double bed lace). Here to simplify things, I decided to work with ladder spaces to create the fabric. If a large width of this fabric is required, multiple bands would need to be joined to achieve it, crochet is then applied in turn to the the finished knit piece. Seam as you knit can make the joining nearly invisible. Using excel, I tried to also create crochet symbols using its shapes menu. The number of rows knit in open pattern or all knit prior to binding off are at your discretion, depending on your needs and planned final product. For my sample I began knitting with COR, and to end with COR for bind off row, I chose to work with even numbered groups of rows. Consider fiber content if the intent is to permanently block as flat as possible, or not.

my chart symbols symbols_70


needle set up, waste yarn cast on, knit for desired length  setup_62img_4095bring one empty needle into worktransfer_63img_4096knit one row, bring remaining empty needle into work plain-knit_64img_4097knit one row img_4099knit rows desired for top bandimg_4100transfer eon from L to rightallk-transfer_65img_4101latch tool bind off around gate pegs for all needles/stitches img_4102

img_4103do not cut yarn, lift work off machine; turn work over (knit side facing)
chain 5, slip stitch into eyelet created by transfers, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last eyelet space detail_4121turn work over (purl side facing once again), chain 3, 2 double crochet, slip stitch into center of chain 5 space, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last chain 5 space detail_4120unblocked trim, 2/15 acrylic yarn img_4104

img_4105detail after steaming, the trim is side leaning img_4119


To use: rehang open stitches on every needle (or other arrangement) eliminating ladder spaces and bind off,  join to another piece of knit, etc.