Today is a little different than the previous posts I’ve done for this section. In fact, I’d say today’s lesson is very important, because there are many patterns that aren’t worked in rows. What I mean is that there are many patterns in crochet that require you to use rounds. Let me show you.
In the picture above, the pattern here is worked in rows. It’s pretty standard, since you're working with the same stitch over and over again…
But, as you can see in this picture, the pattern all points to the centre of the square. You can’t achieve that by working in rows. It’s impossible. That’s why we work in rounds. Now, the stitches in this one is the basic double crochet, but how do you achieve this effect? Let me show you.
Let’s Start At The Very Beginning
Alright, there are two different ways you can start these kinds of squares, and depending on the pattern you’re using, you either start with a chain, or you start with a magic ring. If you’ve been here since the beginning, you might have seen, in my little tip section, that I showed you how to do a magic ring, but if you didn’t, don’t worry, I’ll immortalise it here in this post.
So, let’s start with the easier version, the chain. Depending on the pattern you’re working on, you can start with a chain of 4, a chain of 6, or a chain of 8. Now, this determines how big the centre hole is. Sometimes the hole has to be large, in order to achieve a certain effect in the pattern.
For now, we’ll go with a chain of 4. So, Ch 4.
Next, you’ll need to slip stitch the end to the beginning. What I mean is, slip the hook through your starting chain, so, technically you have two chains on your hook.
Loop your yarn over the hook…
And pull it through both chains.
That closes your starting round. It doesn’t actually count as a round, in your patterns, per se, because it doesn’t quite add to the pattern itself. The next round would be called your foundation round, because you single crochet all around the ring, to reinforce it, but I’ll talk about that later.
The next thing we’re looking at is the magic ring.
This can get a little tricky, so bear with me.
First you need to make a loop out of your yarn. You can do this by wrapping it around your fingers once…like this.
Now, hold the top, where you get two lines of yarn, and slide it off your fingers.
Lay the loop down on a surface. Do you see how it looks like a pretzel?
Keep it that way, and with your hook, weave it through the top part of the pretzel. We’ll do it slowly. So, start off going from over the yarn...
Now with the long part (the working part), loop over the yarn…
And pull it through the entire pretzel.
Now it looks like there’s a chain that covers the entire ring of yarn! That is called a magic ring.
Begin The Foundation Work!
Ok, so now we know how to create the centre of our pattern, the next thing to do is reinforce it, so it doesn’t come undone, with the wear and tear of time.
If you’re working with a chain ring, then you’ll need to single crochet all around it. With these guys it’s usually double, the amount you use for the chain, or three quarters of it. So, since we’re starting with a chain of 4, you’ll need to Ch 1…
SC 6 times around the circle…
And join with a slip stitch (you know what that is now right?) to the first SC you did.
Now, you have your foundation round, or sometimes the first round of the pattern.
The next part is up to your pattern. If you’re working on amigurumi toys (basically crocheted plushies and figurines) then you’ll need to single crochet throughout the pattern.
If you’re working on a lace pattern, or something that requires granny squares then you’re guaranteed you’ll need at least 6 SCs in your circle to be able to work the rounds so that you end up with corners for the squares.
Next up is the magic ring. This one is in a similar vein as the first one, but instead of working over a chain, you’re working over a loose yarn. So, let me show how it works.
First you CH 1 (always CH 1, whenever you start doing a round of single crochets)…
SC 6 times over both the tail and the ring (don’t leave the tail out because it’s very important)…
Now, it doesn’t look like what you’d expect from a round right? I mean it looks more like a 2D bonnet, right? Well, that’s why you have that long tail. Pull the tail, so that the ring closes.
Now it’s looking like a ring of single crochets, doesn’t it? It’s also a good thing you worked over the tail, now you can cut it, or hide it amongst the stitches. Not only that, there is no gap in the middle!
Now, like with the chain ring, you can slip stitch your working chain to the first single crochet, to close the round.
And you’re done! You’ve completed the start of your granny square or amigurumi pattern!
What’s The Difference?
Ok, so why do we have two different ways to start a round? Well, the chain rings help with lace patterns, granny squares and other patterned crochet items. It’s mostly used for them, because the gap in the centre of the ring, as I said before, adds a certain effect to the pattern. For example, if you’re creating a flower that needs to be sewed on to something, the gap in the middle will stay open, to give that base effect, like you’d see on a daisy or a sunflower.
The magic ring, however, is mostly used for things like amigurumi toys, or baskets and bags. It makes sure that whatever is inside doesn’t come poking out. So, the stuffing in toys don’t start getting pulled out, or the potpourri, beads, stones, orbeez and anything small doesn’t fall out of your bag or basket. Not only that, in these kinds of patterns, you don’t actually work in closed off rounds, most of the time it’s a continuous round, so you’ll need to mark where the previous round ended, to keep track of what round you’re on.
Ok, so you already know most of the abbreviations I’ve used, or you should know by now. There are two new abbreviations I have for you right now! The first one is for Slip Stitch. It is either…
SL ST or SS
It depends on the pattern and where the pattern comes from which version of the abbreviation you use. The first one is the widely used one, and the second one is actually used mostly in the UK! Go figure!
The second abbreviation is for round, as in the round you’re working in. A lot of the time, especially in lace patterns, you’ll find you’ll need to work a stitch on a previous round, and again, they use an abbreviation for it. It is…
Well, there you have it! Now you can add it to your dictionary of crochet terms!
Ok, so now it’s your turn. Keep practicing your rounds and let me see how they go! If you’re working on granny squares, show me how big you can make them! For those of you doing amigurumi, let me see the cute little dolls you’ve made! I’ll be waiting!
Well, that’s all from me today. I’ll probably start talking about other, harder stitches you’ll probably come across in your patterns, especially those lace ones. Until then, I’ll see you guys soon!