One of the most enjoyable parts of my working week are the hours I spend teaching crochet. I run both beginners and intermediate courses and absolutely love it. What could be better than spending an hour crocheting with a group of like minded people over a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit? The rest of the world stops for an hour, and the concentrated quiet that tends to fill the class is an excellent way of switching off from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
Very early on in my beginners course I introduce my students to the 'v' stitch. This may be something of a surprise but there is a very good reason behind it. The 'v' stitch is actually very straightforward and all you need to master it is the knowledge of two stitches - the chain stitch and a double crochet stitch (I teach in US terms. You'll need a chain and a treble if you use UK terms). I believe the 'v' stitch has a number of benefits for anyone who is learning to crochet. The grouping of the stitches helps enormously with learning to read your crochet; many of my students very quickly find they can identify their different stitches and counting the number of stitches you have in a 'v' stitch row is much easier for a beginner than trying to read a dense row of consecutive stitches. Also I have found one of the most problematic things for anyone learning to crochet is the unfathomable placement of the final stitch to produce a straight end. The spacing in a v stitch makes this much more obvious - identifying the top of the turning chain is most of the battle, and much easier to do with the space provided by the 'v' stitch. Lastly, once the stitch has clicked, it is gloriously fast. Teamed with a large hook and a super chunky yarn it almost flies off the hook. The blanket pictured above and below is made using a super chunky alpaca and wool blend yarn and a 10mm hook. It is just a little smaller than a single bed and took 5 hours to make. There's nothing like a successfully completed project to build confidence when you are starting out.
So I thought I would share my 'v' stitch tutorial. I am going to assume that anyone reading this tutorial is familiar with a chain and a double crochet (UK treble) stitch.
This tutorial should allow you to make a straight edged project, such as a scarf, cowl or blanket. The exact size of your project is up to you. In my diagrams, the green chains are the foundation chain, the black stitches are row one and the blue stitches are row two.
Each 'v' is made up of three stitches grouped together - a double crochet, a chain and a second double crochet - all of which are made into the same stitch or space. Unless you are making an increase, you will need to skip the chains either side of the one in which you are making the 'v' stitch. The 'v' stitch is three stitches wide, so to maintain a consistent stitch count, it needs to be put in the middle of a group of three foundation chains, with the chains either side being left empty.
To make the 'v' stitch:
1. Make a starting chain in multiples of 3 plus four additional chains. These four additional chains are for your straight ends. For example, if you would like a row that is 5 'v' stitches wide, you would need a chain of 19. (3x5+4=19). Yarn over and insert your hook into the 5th chain from the hook. Remember, the loop on the hook itself does not count. Make a double crochet into this stitch.
2. Now make a chain stitch and then a second double crochet stitch into the same chain you put the fist double crochet into. This creates the 'v' shape.
3. To space your stitches so that you do not make an increase, skip the next two chain stitches, then make a double crochet, one chain and a second double crochet all in to the next chain.
4. Continue in this way across the row until only two chain stitches remain. Skip the first of these two chains and make one double crochet stitch into the final chain. This makes a straight end.
The diagram below shows the foundation chain and the first row of 'v' stitches. The red dotted lines are just there to show you the blocks of three stitches that each 'v' forms.
The second and subsequent rows of 'v' stitches are easier to make - each new 'v' is made into the chain space of the 'v' below it. So, for row two......
5. Turn your crochet. Chain 3. Double crochet, chain one, double crochet into the chain space in the middle of the first 'v.' This means that you go into the large hold in the center of the 'v', not into the chain itself. This produces interlocking 'v's and is one of the reasons that the stitch is so quick to make, after a little practice.
6. Yarn over, insert your hook into the middle of the chain space in the next 'v' and double crochet, chain one, double crochet to make the next 'v'. Continue along the row, putting one 'v' in each of the 'v's from the row below.
The first two rows will look like this:
You can repeat row 2 as many times as you like, until your crochet is the size you would like. To make your project wider, just add additional groups of 3 chains to your starting chain until it is the desired width.
It's as easy at that! If you use a chunky yarn, the result will be a quick, snuggly stitch, perfect for blankets or winter cowls (they make excellent emergency Christmas or birthday presents!). A finer yarn will produce a more delicate effect, perfect for summer scarves or clothing. Either way, the 'v' stitch produces elegant, timeless crochet.
I'd love to see your 'v' stitch projects - feel free to post them in the comments!