Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Just Because Cowl Free Pattern & Tutorial - A Knitted Neckwarmer with a Unique Crochet Twist


  • Just because ... I love my husband and want his neck to stay warm in winter.
  • Just because ... I like to knit and crochet, and enjoy combining the two crafts.
  • Just because ... I wanted to see if Foundation Half-Double Crochet could be worked as the ending row of a project. (It can - with some limitations.)

Just Because is simple, stylish, scrunchable - and can be worn by guys or gals. Suitable for crocheters with very little knitting experience, it features a cool crochet trick I've never seen anywhere else: an ending row of foundation half-double crochet, or (as I like to call it) Mrs. Micawber's Miraculous Mirrored Foundation Half-Double Crochet. (Boy, that's  a mouthful - let's call it the Mfhdc from now on.)

Traditional Foundation Half-Double Crochet is a well-established technique, and deservedly popular. It eliminates the usual starting chain, and is much easier to stitch into on the following row; it's equally decorative on both sides and both edges; most importantly, it's sturdy and stretchy, with great recovery. (There are also single crochet and double crochet versions of this stitch, but the hdc variation is my personal favourite.)


But traditional fhdc has, until now, been used only as a starting row. Wouldn't it be nice if we could use this handsome, stretchy stitch at the end of a project? Turns out we can - and works especially well if the project is a knitted one. (There is a way to use it to finish crochet projects too, but it requires a special step which I'll explain in my next post.)

The cowl in the photos - designed and made for Mr. M last winter - was stitched in the round from edge to edge, using traditional fhdc for the starting row, and Mrs. M's Mfhdc as the ending row. Can you tell which is the starting or ending edge? I can't.

Starting row or ending row?
Even the designer can't tell.

Between the crochet edges is a very simple knitted section, in an easy welted pattern that even a knitting novice can handle.  (If you can make a knit stitch and a purl stitch, you can knit this.)

As usual, we'll start with a shorthand pattern, and follow it up with a pattern in plain English and our very first all-video tutorial.

All crochet terminology is American.

Size: Custom - sample is 8" tall by 21" circumference

Yarn Requirements: About 100 yds chunky (#5) weight yarn (more for a larger cowl or if using lighter weight yarn)

Yarn I Used: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky, Color Spice, less than 1 skein

How Did the Yarn Behave? Very well. Easy to work, not splitty, and after two winters' wear has not pilled at all.

Hook/Needle Size:
Crochet Hook Size K/10½/6.50mm (or size appropriate to your yarn)
Knitting Needles size 10½ (or size appropriate to your yarn), 16" circular OR set of double-pointed needles

Notions:
Stitch marker (I use a scrap of yarn, tied into a loop that fits loosely around the knitting needle)
Tapestry needle

Suggestions for Variations:

Cowl can be made longer by increasing the number of foundation stitches; and taller (or shorter) by increasing (or decreasing) the knitted rounds. Any weight yarn can be used; adjust stitch quantities to achieve desired size.

A different knit stitch pattern can be substituted for the body of the cowl - just be sure to make an appropriate number of foundation stitches for patterns that require a certain multiple of stitches. Non-crocheters may substitute any non-curling knitted border of their choice - seed stitch or a simple ribbing would look great.

For crocheters who don't want to knit, but would like to crochet the body of the cowl: see my next post, where I'll explain how to apply the Mirrored foundation stitch to a crochet edge. (Here's a hint: you must have a row of live loops to work from.)

Abbreviations and Special Stitches:

Fhdc (foundation half-double crochet): To start, ch 2. Yo, ins hook into 1st ch, pull up lp, ch 1, yo, pull through all lps on hook. To continue, *yo, ins hook into top two strands of ch-1 of previous fhdc, pull up lp, ch 1, yo, pull through all lps on hook. Repeat from *. (See also video in tutorial below.)
Pm (place marker)
K (knit)
P (purl)
Mfhdc (Mirrored foundation half-double crochet): Worked WS facing. To start, ins crochet hook purlwise into last knit st of previous round, pull st off needle (stitch is now working lp), cast on 2 backward lps onto crochet hook above working lp, yo, pull hook through top lp, yo, pull through all lps on hook. Starting Mfhdc complete. To continue, *insert hook purlwise through next st on needle, pull off needle, yo, ins hook into top two strands of previous Mfhdc, pull up lp, ch 1 (4 lps on hook), yo, pull through all lps on hook. Repeat from *. (See also video tutorial below.)

Pattern Notes:

Starting foundation row is crocheted flat, then stitches are picked up for knitting. Cowl is then knit in the round, RS facing at all times unless otherwise indicated, in a simple repeat of 6 knit (stockinette) rows, 2 purl (garter) rows. Welts are formed by the purl rows. You can vary this pattern any way you like. For wider welts, make more purl rows. To space welts farther apart (or closer together), make more (or fewer) knit rows between them.

If you don't have a cable needle or dpns, cowl may be knitted flat, then seamed. Increase foundation row by 2 stitches to allow for seaming. Make stockinette sections as follows: [k 1 row, p 1 row] three times (or to desired width). Make garter stitch welts as follows: k 2 rows (or more for a larger welt).

Just Because Shorthand Pattern:

Foundation Starting Round (crochet): Leaving 6" tail, fhdc 64 or to desired length. Do not join. Remove hook from work.
Round 1 (knit): With working lp at right end of work for right-handers, left end for left-handers, place working lp onto knitting needle. Starting in second st, inserting needle front to back through top 2 strands of each st, pick up and knit* 63 st (or to end). Counts as first knitted round.
Round 2: K 64 (or to end), pm. Rounds will be continuous from here.
Rounds 3-6: K.
Rounds 7-8: P.
Rounds 9-14: K.
Rounds 15-16: P.
Rep rounds 9-16 to desired height, ending with a stockinette section (rounds 9-14).
Ending Round (crochet): Turn (WS now facing). Mfhdc (see Abbreviations and Special Stitches above) around. Cut yarn, leaving 6" tail.

Use yarn tails to sew starting round and ending round closed. Block if desired.

*Click here for an excellent tutorial from knitty.com on "picking up and knitting" stitches - which is sometimes confused with "picking up" stitches. (Apparently these two terms have different technical meanings.)
You may do whatever you like with the items made from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern. You are welcome to use and share the technique for Mrs. M's Mfhdc, but please be courteous and credit the designer.
~ ~ ~

Just Because Pattern in Plain English, with Videos

Note: I will be using two abbreviations in this tutorial: fhdc for Foundation Half-Double Crochet, and Mfhdc for Mirrored Foundation Half-Double Crochet.

Foundation Starting Round (crocheting)
Leaving 6" tail, chain 2.
Yarn over, then insert hook into 1st chain,
pull up a loop,
chain 1,
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook. First stitch completed.

To make the following fhdcs,
*Yarn over,
insert hook into top two strands of ch-1 portion of previous fhdc,
pull up a loop,
ch 1,
yarn over,
pull through all loops on hook.

Hopelessly confused? Try watching the video:


Repeat from * until you have 64 stitches, or until your foundation row is as long as you like.
Do not join work.
Remove hook from loop.

Round 1 (knitting)
First, we need to pick up and knit a row of loops, which will count as the first knitted row.

Turn your work, so that the working loop is at the top right-hand end of the strip (if you're a lefty, it should be at the top left-hand end).

Insert knitting needle through the working loop. This will count as the first stitch of the round.
Starting in next stitch (second stitch), insert knitting needle from front to back through the top 2 strands.
Yarn under, and pull needle with yarn to the front of the work.
Now you should have 2 loops on your needle.

(Why yarn under? If you yarn over, your first row of knit stitches will be twisted, making them tighter and harder to stitch into. Yarning under will orient them properly on the needle.)

Here's the video for this step. (Please note: I used some incorrect terminology in the video, such as "yarn over" and "casting on". What I ought to have said was "yarn under" and "picking up and knitting". Sorry about that - this is a learning process for me too.)


Keep picking up and knitting one loop from every crochet stitch, all the way across, until you have 64 (or one for every fhdc).

Congratulations - you made it. :)
(Notice that picking up and knitting these stitches has formed neat little ridge on your fhdc border.)

Now, on to Round 2. Note: There are no further videos for the knitting rounds, since these stitches are so straightforward.

Round 2
(We're still working flat here. The work will be joined into a circle when you start Round 3.)

Knit all the stitches on your needle(s).
Place a marker or a loop of yarn on the knitting needle.

From now on, you'll be working in continuous circles, and the marker will tell you when each round is complete.

Rounds 3-6
First, make sure your work is not twisted on the needles.

Knit every stitch around. (When you get to the marker, just slide it from one needle to the next and keep on stitching.)

Rounds 7-8
Purl every stitch around.
(This will make a nice ridge-y welt in your cowl.)

Note for beginning knitters: you don't need to do anything special to start the purl round. After you slip your marker, just bring the yarn to the front of the needles and start knitting purl stitches. The same goes for when you switch back to a knitted round.

Rounds 9-14
Knit every stitch around.

Rounds 15-16
Purl every stitch around.

Repeat rounds 9-16 (knit 6 rows, purl 2 rows) until your cowl is the desired height,
ending with 6 knit rows.

Ready for a completely new experience in crochet? Here we go.

Ending Round (crocheting):
Let's have the video first (because a picture is worth a thousand words, you know, so a video must be worth a million):


Turn your work so that the wrong side is facing you.

The next bit is slightly awkward. To make the Mirrored fhdc, you'll need to take one stitch at a time off the knitting needle and onto your crochet hook, where you'll complete the stitch. (Be careful that your other stitches don't slide off the needle too.)

To start the Mfhdc, insert your crochet hook purlwise through the last knitted stitch you made.
To insert your hook "purlwise" means to slide it into the stitch, from right to left (or left to right if you're a lefty), through the front of the knitted stitch.
The tip of your crochet hook should be pointing away from the tip of knitting needle, with the knitting needle behind the crochet hook.

Gently slide the stitch off the tip of the knitting needle. (Make sure the other stitches stay on the needle). This stitch is now your working crochet loop.

Cast on 2 backward loops onto the crochet hook, above the working loop (see video for how to make a backward loop),
yarn over,
pull hook through top cast-on loop,
yarn over,
pull through all loops on hook.

And congratulations - your 1st Mfhdc is complete. (This one is a weird one; the rest will be much easier.)

To continue,
*insert hook purlwise through next stitch on the knitting needle,
gently pull stitch off knitting needle (now you should have 2 loops on your hook),
yarn over,
insert hook into top two strands of previous Mfhdc,
pull up a loop,
ch 1 (now you should have 4 loops on your hook),
yarn over,
pull through all 4 loops on hook.

Whew! Your second Mfhdc is done. And it's a mirror image of the starting fhdc, right down to the neat little ridge between the knitting and the crocheting. How cool is that? :)

Repeat from *, all the way around the cowl, until you have used up all the knitted stitches.
Cut yarn, leaving a 6" tail.

Thread the yarn tail onto the tapestry needle, and sew the first and last Mfhdc together. Now go back to the starting fhdc row and use that yarn tail to close the gap between the first and last fhdcs. Weave in ends, and block if desired.

Run to the mirror and try on your cool new cowl - or wrap it up and give it, with warm wishes, to someone you love.

~

In the next post, we'll look at some other ways to use Mrs. M's Mfhdc, with instructions for Single and Double variations, and the steps necessary to use it as a final edge on crocheted fabric.

If you have any questions, or find any mistakes in the pattern, please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me in Ravelry. I appreciate the feedback!
You may do whatever you like with the items made from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern. You are welcome to use and share the technique for Mrs. M's Mfhdc, but please be courteous and credit the designer.
Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting! (And knitting.)

:)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

42 comments:

  1. Hello, Mrs. Micawber! What a great design and a pattern to it! You are very kind and sharing :) You have a great talent of preparing the descriptions, which I can never do :) I wish I could try this cowl knitting/crocheting, but I have way too many projects at the moment, so better slow down, or neither of them will be finished.
    Have a beautiful warm day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anna! I have too many projects too.... :)

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  2. What a lovely neck-warmer, Sue. I love the stitches you've used!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Sandra. I like the welted look. :)

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  3. I'm not going to pretend I understand the crochet part, but I love the cowl, and you made videos!!! (How nice to hear your voice :) ) I predict you'll be teaching a Craftsy class soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Annie! (What is Craftsy? Must look it up.) :)

      Delete
  4. Nice idea! Thanks for the pattern :-) Jana

    ReplyDelete
  5. This could be a good introduction to knitting....Someday I will knit and you make me want to to accelerate someday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You WILL knit - and, I predict, very well too. Sign up for that class! :)

      Delete
  6. Oh I bet he loves it. And I bet he is very thankful for you when he goes out into that frigid weather.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He does love it, and wears it ALL THE TIME, which warms my heart. :)

      Delete
  7. You are too kind to us to give us these wonderful tutorials...and far too talented. :) Mr. M must be blinded by the fire coming off those needles and hooks employed during your mad crocheting and knitting forays. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He would be, except that he has learned to leave the room when I'm crouched over the hook or needles. Which is really very nice of him.... :)

      Delete
  8. What an intriguing concept. The first thing I ever knitted, back when I was about 10 or so, I bound off with a single crochet row because I didn't know anything about knitting. (I chained for the start, too, then pulled up loops through the chain and placed them on the needle one by one.) So I'm certainly game to try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The next pair of socks I make will have a foundation crochet edging. And I love a chained cast-on - it makes so much sense. :)

      Delete
  9. MRs. M. I love your patterns! Such an attractive manly cowl too!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kathy! It is rather masculine-looking, isn't it? (Which is the effect I was aiming for.) :)

      Delete
  10. This cowl looks great! I have never tried to combine crocheting and knitting in a project, but I really like your design, Sue. Thanks so much for the wonderful tutorial as well.
    xx, Gracie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Gracie! I love crochet so much I would combine it with food if I could. :)

      Delete
  11. I have knit and I have crocheted but never combined the two. Your creativity is just amazing. Thank you for sharing your patterns and making such great tutorials.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Beth. It's really not that uncommon to combine the two - but crochet edgings on knitted projects are usually lacy and feminine. :)

      Delete
  12. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am pretty confused...how many do I cast on? after casting on, do I just start with round 2 at the very top?

    ReplyDelete

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