Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Knotless Chain (Now Starring in a Mini-Tutorial of its Very Own)

First of all, credit where credit is due: the Knotless Chain was inspired by the Sloppy Slip Knot (found here at freshstitches). Thanks to Stacey Trock for her great tutorial and video.
You may have noticed that many of my patterns start with what I call a Knotless Chain. What in the world is a Knotless Chain? Just as it sounds, a chain without a starting knot. Having proved itself, through many a crochet project, to be clean, reliable, and trustworthy, the Knotless Chain has now earned a tutorial of its own.

To make a Knotless Chain, wrap yarn from left to right (or right to left if you're a left-handed crocheter), across front of hook and around back, bringing tail back over working yarn and towards you.


Grasp the place where the strands cross, and gently start chaining. (Don't tug on the yarn end or you'll turn your first chain into a slipknot.)


That's it - pretty simple, isn't it? Here's a little video for all the videophiles out there (sorry for the wonky lighting and focus - it was VERY cloudy when I shot this):


Tip for working into a Knotless Chain: After inserting your hook into the starting stitch (where the yarn tail is) wrap yarn end over top of hook before completing stitch.

And now for some practical applications. When can you use a Knotless Chain?

1. When working in the round, to make a smoother starting ring of chain stitches. Example: Knotless ch 6, join w/sl st to form ring, as in video above. Advantage: no bumpy knot!

2. When working in the round, to replace a magic ring. Chain 2, and let the knotless starting stitch flip over so that a single strand is at the top and the crossed strands are at the bottom. Now you can begin to work into that stitch, just as you would into a magic ring.


Don't forget to wrap the yarn tail over the hook when making the first stitch in the "ring".



Advantages: this gives you a double strand of yarn at the core of your project. Also, the yarn end is pointing towards your stitches, and it's already been caught in the first stitch for extra security. If (like me) you're paranoid concerned about the center ring working loose, you can wrap the yarn tail over your hook again at any time while making the first round, encasing it in even more layers of yarny security.

3. When working flat, the Knotless chain is easiest to use when you will be stitching into the front or back loop only of your starting chain. Advantage: again, no bumpy knot.



A note on stitch anatomy: the starting stitch of the Knotless Chain seems to have two strands only, with no "back bump". (Edited to add: There is actually a back bump - it's just twisted together with the back loop. Work your hook between the two strands to work into the back bump.) If you want to work into the top two strands, you'll need to carefully pick out which ones to use - but it can be done.

Smooth and secure, the Knotless Chain can be a great alternative start for many of your crochet projects. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Shameless Product Endorsement :)
(It really is the nicest yarn.)

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

28 comments:

  1. genius! knotless and easy to make;) thanks fro Sharing, Mrs Micawber. Regards, Anna.

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  2. What a wonderfully explained tutorial, Sue! You're so good at these and they're so useful for making our crocheted work look more beautiful. The little video clip is really good, especially for grabbing that first yarn tail before you do the slip stitch! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Sandra! I've realised lately that I have become a very picky crocheter - but that's a good thing, right? :)

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  3. Yay!! I've been needing to know this!! I recently finished a granny square pillow for my sister and during each starting round I'd scowl at that knot in the chain!! :) Thank you so much for posting this!! Now my next granny project won't lead to more wrinkles! :)

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    1. Thanks Laura - and if you're changing colours on every round, you may want to look at the "Invisible Join" tutorial too:

      http://mrsmicawber.blogspot.com/2012/06/pardon-me-but-your-slip-stitch-is.html

      :)

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  4. A stitch definitely worthy of a post of it's own! Good work Sue. Best of the weekend to you!

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    1. Thanks, Astri - it was a crochet-packed weekend! :)

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  5. As you know, I am not crafty. But I so enjoyed listening to your sweet voice!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Why thank you, Auntie. That's very sweet of YOU. :)

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  6. I have started some granny squares and I do not like that knot. When I get back to that project I will try you technique. Thanks for the great tutorial and video.

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    1. You're welcome, Beth. That knot can be surprisingly annoying, can't it? :)

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  7. You are so clever! Oh, how I wish Wisconsin were closer to Washington. But, as it is, your tutorials make it seem as if you are right here, holding the hand of the not-so-talented. :) Practice, Goatmother, practice!

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    1. You can do it! (Goatmother, I mean.) And Marigold, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you could do it too. :)

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  8. That's really useful, I've not come across it before I'll add it to my repetoir. Thanks for product placement! it looks good! x

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    1. I can never resist plugging your beautiful yarn! :)

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  9. Thanks a lot for this. As a beginner I am always trying to find ways of improving, and making easy, what I am trying to crochet! I appreciate your help thanks. Joan

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    1. You're very welcome, Joan. Good luck with your cowls! :)

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  10. Crochet-packed weekend... sounds like you may have had a chilly one like us...

    I've done this knotless thing a few times, but by accident. How neat to know it actually has a practical application!

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    1. It really does - and it's surprisingly secure. :)

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  11. I love your site and all your genius crochet tips. Thanks for your contribution to this wonderful craft.

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  12. Thoroughly enjoy your blog site. It's so easygoing and not as techno-crazy as most. It's more of a sharing let-me-show-you-how approach.

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  13. Thank you! I have never crochet with the starting slip know, think it looks horrible on pieces of work. my Mom taught me to crochet when I was about 12, and have been doing without the know for 50 years now> Most people I talk to say "Oh, you NEED the knot" but I disagree, having made an sold hundreds of items, not one has ever come apart with wash or use! SO GLAD some others agree with me ;)

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for commenting. :)

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  14. Thank you Mrs. Micawber, I just found you post. I was looking for an alternative to the Magic Ring, as it has a tendency to pull out from the work and unravel. That would be disaster for me as I sell my projects. You are so right to have created a tutorial for this adaptation. Just so easy - who would have thunk!! You're very concise and a great educator.

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    1. I too have found that the magic ring can pull open, especially with slippery yarns. The knotless ch seems to have solved that problem for me.

      Thanks for commenting, and good luck with your projects!

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  15. I've come looking for a knotless foundation chain, as I was a couple of rows into a project and that wretched knot began to enlarge and fray. Thank you! So enjoy this site.

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    1. You're welcome! Unstable starting knots are so frustrating, aren't they? I've found that a larkshead knot can also make a good, sturdy "knotless" first chain. :)

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