Friday, June 17, 2011

Picot-boo! or, the Spacer Picot ~ A New Trick for an Old Stitch

(I know, I know - it's a silly name for a post. But I never can resist a play on words. I'm also a sucker for bad puns. Okay, time to get serious.)

Picot stitches are traditionally made by chaining a certain quantity (commonly 3), then slip-stitching the last chain to the first one to make a decorative little bump or loop.

I don't know about you, but I hate stitching into chains and avoid it whenever possible. For one thing, I never know which loop of the chain to go through. Do I put the hook under one strand or two? And since my chains tend to be tight, the flow of work is interrupted while I try to maneuver my hook through the tiny space available. So although I love the decorative look the traditional picot offers, executing it is a real pain.

While working on the latest scarf pattern, I started to wonder: why couldn't the picot be joined directly to the stitch under it, instead of slip stitched to the chain? After a bit of fiddling around, I came up with a method I really like.

I'm probably not the first person to think of this, but since I've never seen it in a pattern (not that I read many patterns - I usually make up my own) and have no idea what it's called if it does exist, I've decided to name it the "spacer picot".

Instead of standing straight up on the top of a stitch, the spacer picot tips forward slightly, creating a bit of space before the next stitch. When used in a shell, the result is very pretty.

Spacer picot shells on top, plain shells on bottom

Here's how my spacer picots were made:

Start by making a base stitch of some sort. It could be a triple, double, or half-double crochet.

Mine is a double crochet - the start of a shell

On top of the desired stitch, chain 2.

Yarn over, then insert hook back and into the top 2 strands of stitch just made.

Yarn over and pull through (now you should have 3 strands on your hook);

Yarn over and pull through all strands on hook.

Thar she blows!

You're essentially making a short 2-chain picot, and using a half-double crochet to join it to the base stitch.

Pretty simple:  chain 2, make half-double crochet in top of previous stitch

I think this picot method has a lot of potential. You could add extra chain stitches for a bigger "bump", or use a single crochet as the joining stitch for a slightly tighter effect.

Here's a glimpse of the design that inspired this technique (scarf pattern and tutorial coming soon).

P.S. If you've seen this picot method somewhere, or know of an official name for it, I'd love to hear about it.

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  1. Don't know what the official name is, but I've been doing that with my snowflakes for forever, and for the same reason as you. I still do the traditional picot from time to time, but it truly is a pain. I've also been known to use a sc in 2nd ch from hook as a picot. I like variety!

    This pattern is going to be beautiful. Love that final shot of the scarf draped on the lattice!

  2. Is the scarf on the lattice yours? Its lovely! The way its draped it looks like leaves, or is that my eyes? I'm imagining fall colors. Thanks for the name of the flower, I would like to know all the names of these flowers, or I should say I would like to remember them all... brain is like a sieve.

  3. Funny thing is, I just came upon a pattern asking for a hdc picot stitch & had no idea what it was. I did a search & came up with your instructions. So...I'm calling it a half double crochet picot stitch from here on out! LOL! Sounds good to me!


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