Afghan, Tunisian and Broomstick lace crochet techniques
Crochet Projects: Beyond the Beginner
Once you have mastered basic crochet stitches, increasing and decreasing, and changing colors, it is time to tackle more involved projects.
Multiple pieces, lace patterns, and color work are all skills that expand your range of possible crochet projects.
Crochet a Shaped Garment
The sweater is a useful garment that can add warmth and color to any ensemble. A simple vest, a pullover, a buttoned cardigan—any of these can be crocheted. Find a pattern you like in a book or magazine or on a free pattern website such as AllFreeCrochet and look at the recommendations for yarn and hook.
Gauge (also called tension) is important for making a garment true to size. While it matters not for a dishcloth whether you get two or three stitches to the inch, a one-stitch difference over the course of an entire sweater is disastrous!
Crochet a swatch as recommended in the pattern and check to see how many stitches per inch you get with the recommended hook and yarn.
If you have too few stitches per inch, your garment will be too large. Switch to a smaller hook and try again until your stitch count matches the pattern. Likewise, too many stitches per inch means your crochet is tighter than it should be. Switch to a larger hook to loosed up and get to the correct stitch count.
While crocheting, check work occasionally to be sure you are not getting tighter or looser with your stitches. Most sweater patterns will also include diagrams so you can measure your front, back, and sleeves as you go for accuracy.
Special Crochet Techniques
Filet crochet is a form of lace that creates holes in a double crochet fabric by using chain stitches and skipping stitches. A filet chart shows where to place double crochets and chain one spaces in order to create a lace picture such as a flower or bird. It creates very intricate pieces and can be used to make novelty items.
Broomstick lace is crochet done over a jumbo knitting needle, also called a jack pin. This technique can be blended with regular crochet stitches or used alone to make quick, lacy items such as baby blankets and shawls. Broomstick lace projects take shape quite quickly once you’ve mastered the basic technique.
Afghan crochet, also called Tunisian crochet, is crochet that imitates knitting. Stitches are collected on a long crochet hook (afghan hook), then worked off. Each row takes two passes, so this is not a fast technique.
It does however, produce a knitted fabric without the need to learn to knit. Squares of afghan stitch can be used as a background for cross stitch as well, since the stitches are square.
An embroidered Afghan would be a fine project for mastering this stitch.