Sunday, August 28, 2011

Firming Things Up — Clothesline Crochet Basics

The tail of the now downgraded tropical storm Irene has just left us. Although there was flooding in low lying areas, damage to the city seems minimal so far.  We stepped out for a drink with friends at Sharlene’s Bar last night but left when once weather turned. The sun is peaking out now and it’s  time to break out the clothesline.

Clothesline Crochet Demonstration
This technique is similar to the padded construction of Irish filigree crochet but used less decoratively. It’s made by carrying a thicker cord, such as cotton clothesline, inside a densely wrapped row of single crochet. For this demonstration I’m using Classic Elite Provence (100% mercerized cotton, 256 yds) over a linen burlap cord. The stitch in this demonstration is called “Straw Braid” — a modified single crochet stitch created by yours truly. After looking around on the web and Ravelry, I think I actually came up with an original stitch. Work slowly and adjust cord tension every two inches or so.

Step 1: With a loop on your hook, drape the cord over the hook. Insert the hook through the vertical strand closest to the hook’s tip and top chain of the next stitch on the previous row.

Step 2: Draw a loop through both the top of the chain and the vertical strand. You should have two loops on the hook.

Step 3: Now draw a loop through these last two loops while “catching” the cord. Now, you should have one loop on your hook. Repeat these three steps.

This technique creates a thicker, less pliable fabric that’s suitable for bags, baskets, backpacks, trimmed piping, the crown and brim of hats... etc., anything that requires more structure.

I used an actual cotton clothesline in the crown of this Trilby hat (left). It gives the Straw Braid stitch a padded look. The side band (right) is also made with the Straw Braid stitch without the linen cord. It has a flatter surface and looks more... well.. like braided straw ribbon.
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