Monday, February 22, 2021

Forward Loop Box Chain: A Stretchy, Elastic Foundation Row for Crochet Projects

Hello fellow crocheters! Here's a technique I developed a couple of years ago, but never got around to posting (too distracted by the book, if truth be told).

This technique has now been used in several projects, with excellent results. So, without further ado, I happily present the:

Forward Loop Box Chain is a variation of the Forward Loop chain, but with much greater elasticity.

As its name implies, Forward Loop Box Chain has a boxy shape. It looks like a chain on three sides, and like a row of bumps on the forth. When worked with normal tension, it makes a subtly handsome foundation row. If worked with a loose enough tension, on a project of some weight, a row of decorative eyelets may appear between the chain and the first row of stitches.

Where to Use the Forward Loop Box Chain

Try the Forward Loop Box Chain as a foundation row on:

  • Mitts
  • Hats
  • Top-down tops or ponchos
  • Top-down socks
  • Any project that needs a stretchy foundation edge with good recovery
I've used the Forward Loop Box Chain on bottom-up mitts and top-down socks, and it's held its shape well through many wearings.

Forward Loop Box Chain foundation rows

Forward Loop Box Chain Video Tutorial

(This video is for right-handed crocheters. For a left-handed version, click here.)

Forward Loop Box Chain Photo Tutorial

1. Start with a slipknot on your hook.
2-4. Make a forward loop* on the hook above the slipknot. 
5-6. Make another forward loop (3 loops now on hook). Yarn over, and pull through all the loops on your hook. (If it's hard to get the hook through the loops, gently grasp the base of the loops and pull downwards/away from the hook, as in Photo 9 below.)

(*How to make a forward loop: Keep working loop on hook and working yarn draped over forefinger, from front to back. Lift forefinger slightly to form 2 vertical strands of yarn, one in front and one behind finger. Place hook behind the back strand and use hook to pull strand towards your hook hand. Slide hook up through the loop that forms. Yarn should look like a letter "D" (for right-handers) or "O", with the tip of the hook pointing up through the hole. Remove forefinger from yarn while keeping hook in the "hole". Gently pull on working yarn to tighten loop until it is snug against the working loop.)

To continue:
7-8. Insert hook into the farthest of the loops you just pulled through.
9. Make a forward loop on the hook (3 loops now on hook).
10. Yarn over and pull through all the loops on the hook.

Repeat Steps 7-10 to desired length.

For a firmer chain: After inserting hook into the farthest loop, tighten the working yarn before yarning over and pulling through the loops on the hook.

Working Into a Forward Loop Box Chain

Note: For maximum elasticity, work only into the bumpy edge.

Before you work the next row, turn your Forward Loop Box Chain so that the bumpy edge is facing you. Stretch the chain, then let it spring back to shape. You should see a row of longer bumps alternating with tiny bumps. When working into a Forward Loop Box Chain, use the longer bumps, and skip the tiny bumps.

To work the next row: Chain 1 (or an appropriate number for the stitch you plan to use). Insert hook into first longer bump, make desired stitch. *Skip the tiny bump, insert hook into next long bump, make desired stitch. Repeat from *.

That's it!

Tip: Be careful not to let the box chain twist as you work into it. Check often to make sure you are working into the long bumps, and not into one of the chain loops.


If you have any questions about this technique, ask away in the comment section below, or contact me in Ravelry (where I'm MrsMicawber).

I hope you'll try the Forward Loop Box Chain for yourself. If you do, let me know how it works.

Happy crocheting!

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Thursday, February 4, 2021

A Frosty Drive and a New Pattern

 Hello bloggy friends! Where did January go? Lost in a blur of crazy news and cloudy days, cold weather and work, it seems.

Freezing rain is falling as I write this post, with several inches of snow still to come (or so say the weather prophets). Not a very photo-worthy day.

Yesterday, however, was a different story. Here's what I saw on my drive to work....

Simply sublime. Days like this make winter worth it. :)

(All the above photos were shot through the car windows, which caused some slight color variations.)

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In other news, I published a new pattern last week:

The Milflores Shawl combines single crochet v-stitch with chain loops and half-treble fans for a dainty, allover lace pattern. My samples each used about 400 yards of fingering or light DK weight, but Milflores can be worked with any weight yarn, and is easily customized for size. For best appearance, choose a solid, tonal, or gradient yarn.

The Milflores Shawl pattern is available here in my Ravelry store. Enjoy a 25% discount on Milflores until February 11, 2021 by using the code MRSM at checkout.

(Important note: Some Ravelry users have reported visual stress, eyestrain, ocular migraines, and other neurological reactions since the site's redesign last year. You don't have to log in to buy a pattern, but if you do log in, you can toggle back to the old Ravelry look by clicking on your profile in the upper right. Look for the option to use "Classic Ravelry".)

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As I finish this post, the freezing rain has turned to heavy blowing snow, filling the air like mist. Here's what it looks like now:

And here's what landed on my arm when I stuck it out the door to take the above photo:

Can you see the snowflake shapes? I know my friend Snowcatcher will spot them. (Hi, Deb!)

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Temperatures this weekend are headed towards zero and below. I hope that wherever you may be, you are warm and safe and well.

Happy February!

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