About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mad for Plaid: Applied Crochet Chain aka Surface Chain

Falkirk by Theresa Schabes
from Twist Collective, Fall 2014

Plaid Tam by Theresa Schabes
Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Hat Book
At last!  We are five posts into this series on knitted techniques to create plaid fabric, and we've finally come to my favorite, applied crochet chain.  Why do I love it?  Crocheting onto a finished piece of knitting give you easily done, crisp, even, single stitch wide vertical lines.  If you've knitted single row stripes into your fabric, then combined you get a grid, which is the basis of a plaid.

If you've handled a crochet hook before, you can conquer this technique.  Heck, you can do it even if you've never seen a crochet hook.  All you are doing is making a crochet chain - which is just pulling a loop through a loop.  Here you're doing it through the spaces of a knitted fabric.  In my plaid designs I create a column of purl stitches so there is a nice groove to show you where to put that crochet chain.  And, the recess of the purl column allows the crochet chain to sink to the level of the stockinette stitch fabric around it.

Plaid Fingerless Mitts by Laura Lamers
from The NorthCoast Knittery

If you've never worked an applied crochet chain, I've got a tutorial on my blog here.  Webs has a video tutorial here.  They refer to the technique as surface crochet.

Plaid Dog Sweater by Tara Schreyer

Applied crochet chain can be a simple but bold grid when worked in a single color on a solid background.  Increase the number of colors, either in the crochet or the background and you get a more sophisticated fabric.  I love to combine surface crochet with two-stranded intarsia, but I'll talk more about that in a later blog post covering combined techniques.

Next up:  duplicate stitch or Swiss darning.

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