Part 4 of my A-Z of crochet, and today we are talking about one of the most basic (and in my opinion, overlooked) stitches. Many beginners start off with double crochet (US single) as it involves less ‘yarn overs’ and is completed in 2 steps. It’s the real bread and butter of crochet, there’s nothing fancy about it but it combines so well with other stitches to create some beautiful effects.
Uses of double crochet (dc)
Because it does not have much height to it, double crochet creates a very neat and simple border without adding extra height where it may not be required e.g. around the neckline of garments. It is also a lovely way of adding a very narrow contrasting border to things like blankets, where it just needs a bit of neatening up to finish it off.
As I mentioned in A is For Amigurumi, double crochet is the staple stitch as it leaves barely any gaps between rows due to it’s height. This means that there isn’t any toy stuffing visible and gives a much neater fabric.
Stiff fabrics e.g. purses
If you are making something where you want a really stable fabric, the double crochet is the stitch for you. It produces quite a tight fabric which doesn’t have much ‘give’ in it.
Double crochet is often used alongside other, taller stitches to vary the height and create the gaps between flower petals. I’ve also seen it used in lacy patterns as a kind of stabilising round, giving the next part of the lace a firm foundation to work into. It’s also used as an anchoring stitch in some lacy patterns instead of a slip stitch to firmly attach a chain to the rest of the piece.
What double crochet is less useful for
Creating large pieces of fabric
Whilst it’s small height has many uses, you would be there a very long time trying to make a blanket entirely from double crochet. (I’m not saying that it’s never been done, but for the more impatient crocheter it’s not an ideal method!)
Stretchy things such as garments
Double crochet stitches are so close together that they really don’t stretch very well, so it’s not ideal for making the main body of garments. It’s best reserved for decorative borders really. (The addition of chains in between stitches would destabilise it slightly and make it stretchier, but it would still take a long time to make up a garment beyond baby size due to the small stitches. Chunky wool and a larger hook is one way around this though.) Sometimes alternate rows are made up of double crochet (combined with, for example, treble crochet) which creates quite a nice texture.
How do I make a double crochet?
Once you have a foundation chain (or ring), you simply do this to create one stitch:
Insert hook through the next stitch, yarn over, pull through (2 loops on the hook). Yarn over, pull through both.
Yep, it really is that easy!
I made up a sample granny square using only double crochet. This is 4 rounds and you can see that it really is tiny. It would make quite a cute blanket for a pet tarantula (or a Borrower) but that’s about it.
After all that though, without the humble double crochet many of the other stitches would not exist. It may not be exciting, but it is definitely important.
What was the first crochet stitch you learned? Have you used double crochet for anything else apart from the things I listed?
I’m linking this up to Wool on Sundays, with Janine at Rainbow Hare. Thanks Janine for organising it!