Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Foundation chain joining woes

Hello again!

So recently I made another infinity scarf as a present for a family member. It uses this pattern, but for this particular scarf I used fewer repeats per row and a larger hook.

Yay, pretty! No action shots on her, but she liked it...hopefully I can get pictures sometime.

Now, I don't remember what black magic I called upon last time to get a simple whip stitch to suffice for the joining seam, but my foundation chain for this scarf was ridiculous.

I wanted it to be able to stretch with the rest of the scarf, so I went up two hook sizes and chained somewhat loosely. I ended up with the most insanely loopy, messy-looking foundation ever. It stretched just fine, but can you imagine how shabby the thing looked when I attempted to whipstitch the ends together? There were loops popping out everywhere and it was just a mess!

It was then that I recalled something I had seen...somewhere in the blogosphere. Hopefully someone can enlighten me as to where I got the inspiration for this idea...are you ready? It's a revolutionary idea...it could change the very world........


Revolutionary, right?

Okay, so it's not that exciting, but I've gotta tell you, it's a great idea! Check it out...

Where's the join?

Do you see it?

Right here!

Not too shabby, right?

I can anticipate this working nicely for a lot of things that require joining something to the bottom of a crocheted piece, and possibly even nicely finishing the bottom edge of a piece. I plan on experimenting with that later. :)

Plus, it helps to get rid of the stretch issue without being forced to start with a foundation sc or dc row.

I put together a photo tutorial for the method that I found worked best. If you'd like to see my way of joining two crocheted pieces by replacing the foundation chain, please read on. :)

You will need:
- a crochet hook or needle (these instructions are not meant for needles, but it's fairly easy to puzzle out)
- a length of yarn maybe 8-12 inches longer than the seam you are about to make (for knots)

These instructions are a little more specific to the infinity scarf, but are easily adapted to any instance in which you want to join two pieces and the foundation chain just isn't cutting it.

Here is the "key": green is the beginning of the scarf, with the foundation chain we will be unraveling, and blue is the end of the scarf. We will be joining with white. Of course,you will probably be doing this all in one color, but for a tutorial it's easiest to see and keep track of the yarn this way.

Hold the ends of the scarf together, with the beginning of the scarf (ie. the bottom of your work) closer to you. The foundation chain is up in the air, your first rows are upside down, and the last row of your work is also facing up.

To begin, locate the bottom of the first stitch on the left at the beginning end of the scarf. Tug on the yarn forming the foundation chain so it lies straight.

Insert your hook from right to left through all of the loops of the stitch, following the exact path of the yarn of the foundation chain (missing any loops means your scarf will have loose ends and may unravel, so be careful!).

Insert your hook into the first stitch of the end of the scarf. This will either be the top of the turning chain or the last stitch you made in that row, depending on whether you have an odd or even number of rows.

Yarn over with your joining strand and pull all the way through, so the yarn does not form a loop at the end, but a single strand. Leave behind a piece a couple inches long so you can knot it.

Since this is the first stitch, lock it in place by repeating the process. Make a knot or darn in the short end to secure it.

Now move one stitch to the right and begin again! You only need to pull the yarn through ONCE for the main body of the seam. As you go along, you'll be able to push the foundation chain behind your work.
Insert hook along foundation yarn from R to L (first stitch of pattern repeat)

Insert into corresponding stitch at end of scarf (first stitch of pattern repeat).
YO and pull through.
When you reach the last stitch, again pull the yarn through twice for extra stability. Your seam will look something like this.

 If you flip it over, it looks like this. This is the result of letting the foundation chain fall behind your work.

Carefully unravel the yarn making up the foundation chain, then tie a knot in it to secure the bottom of the last stitch you remove it from (remember, this is the yarn of the foundation chain you are knotting, shown as GREEN yarn in the photo). It may be easier to do this before actually making your final knot.
Partially unraveled...
Before knotting your joining yarn at the end, give your joining yarn and your actual piece a few tugs so the yarn lies flat and pulls your joined pieces together, but will still stretch with the rest of the scarf.

And there you have it! (forgive the lack of neatness: I'm using all these yarns for another big project, and I hate to cut this yarn or make knots I'll need to untie, so it's not quite as neat as yours should be).

How's that? A fairly simple way to join something on to the bottom of your work, while also getting rid of that crazy, crazy chain. Hopefully soon I can show the results of experimenting with actually crocheting to replace the foundation chain. Stay tuned, and thank you for reading!


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  1. I really love this! I like circle scarves a lot, and this is a great one that works all year round :) Nice work!!!

  2. Lovin' your blog. I am a graduate student, working full time and interning so any time i get to craft I just allll over it! Keep up the fab work

  3. is there any way you can make a video of this?

  4. That is such a COOL idea! I taught myself to crochet a few years ago, and I LOVE reading your blog for creative ideas and insights you just don't find in pattern books. I am going to try this scarf and getting rid of the foundation row. Since I wear a lot of dark colors, I may use a bright varigated.

  5. In knitting it is possible to begin with a "provisional" cast on using waste yarn that will be removed later, leaving behind "live" stitches. I wonder if that could be done here as well using waste yarn of a different type so it would be easy to see where to join as well as easy to see the chain to remove.

  6. Awesome! Just did it and I must say if I hadn't done it myself, I wouldn't believe it could work. Thanks for your blogs!

  7. Can we get a video of this as well? I'm better seeing things done...

    1. I'd love to make a tutorial video for this technique as well. Sadly, I simply haven't had the time to make one, especially since I haven't been working on any projects where this would come in handy. My hope is that at some point I'll decide to make a hat or sweater or something where I can demonstrate this for people to see!