A Study of Double Crochet Stitches
Have you ever wondered why your stitches or joined seams look slanted? Here are some interesting facts we discovered with our testing team. This post is all about Double Crochet stitches (Part 1 of our crochet study). You can also check out Part 2 – A Study of Single Crochet and Part 3 – A Study of Half Double Crochet.
Note: This article is written using American Crochet terms. It’s been updated Nov 8, 2020.
We found that there are 2 ways of making dc stitches that affect the appearance of stitches, as well as your overall project appearance, and even your gauge. Both methods are widely used by crafters around the world and they both have their own benefits. Therefore, I am not going to call them right or wrong, I will only try to explain the differences.
Yarn Over Method (Traditional) – Yarn over, insert the hook into the stitch, Yarn Over & pull up a loop; [yarn over & pull through 2 loops on the hook] 2 times.
Hook Over Method (Untraditional) – Yarn over, insert the hook into the stitch, Hook Over & pull up a loop; [yarn over & pull through 2 loops on the hook] 2 times.
Illustrations and video for LEFT-handed crochet:
So basically, the main difference between making these stitches is that one of the yarn-overs in untraditional dc is worked as hook-over, which is also known as Yarn Under.
When you look at the close-up of the stitches, the traditional (yarn over) dc are straight, while the untraditional (hook over) dc are slanted. The examples below are done by working in the round, where rounds are joined with sl st in top of beg st.
For right-handed crochet, the rounds are worked in a counterclockwise directions, which makes untraditional stitches look slanted to the left.
For left-handed crochet, the rounds are worked in a clockwise directions, which makes untraditional stitches look slanted to the right.
Overall Project Appearance
When you insert the hook under both loops of the stitch below, the new stitch is naturally shifting to the right (for right-handed crochet) as the top of the stitch is not exactly above the post of the stitch. This effect occurs both, traditional and untraditional dc. Since traditional (yarn over) dc are straight, their offset placement creates a right-leaning joining seam. Untraditional (hook over) dc are slanted to the left from the offset point, which compensates and balances out the right-leaning joins. Thus, untraditional joining seam is straight.
For left-handed crochet, the joining seam in traditional (yarn over) method will be leaning to the left, and the untraditional (hook over) dc will make the seam look straight.
Symmetrically designed patterns that are worked in the round are often tricky for traditional crocheters as the right or left-leaning direction of work distorts the symmetry of the entire piece. However, it is not an issue for untraditional style and the finished pieces are always symmetrically balanced.
On a good note, the offset stitch placement would only be noticeable for working each row/round in the same direction. When you work back and forth, the slanting will be balancing out in each row. In fact, if you change the direction of your work in every row/round, there is no need to worry about issues with symmetry.
The traditional and untraditional crochet could also affect your gauge. For example, if you successfully matched your stitch gauge but having issues with the row gauge, switching styles may work as charm for you. Also, the row gauge can often be fixed by adding or omitting rounds of your project without changing styles.
What Are Your Benefits
As you can see, both methods can be very useful for achieving different tasks. Personally, I like switching between traditional and untraditional crochet, depending on my projects and mood. Here are several reasons for that:
- Traditional dc stitches are straight and beautiful, so I prefer using them when working in rows (back and forth crochet), especially when I crochet colorwork in rows and I want to achieve smooth color changes. If you struggle with sore joints from crocheting, your wrists will thank you for using traditional crochet style.
- Untraditional dc stitches create beautiful straight seams and symmetrical appearance. I love using this method for working in the round, especially when the rounds are not spiral.
It’s important to remember though…if you are using one style or the other, do not switch them in the middle of your project, but work the entire item using the same style.