As many of you that have worked my designs know, I love simple foundations. Any pattern that asks me to chain more than 50 to start out tends to make me cranky. A cranky Andee is not that fun to be around, just ask my family.
My favorite designs begin with what I like to call “small starts”. Nothing makes me happier than to have the beginning directions in a crochet pattern say, “Chain 2, single crochet in 2nd chain from hook.” Or a variant of that. Which is one of the many reasons I love the foundation single crochet (FSC) for my designs.
But, I know not everyone has my fondness for the FSC. In fact, it took me a very long time to become friends with the FSC. I purchased Doris Chan’s books “Amazing Crocheted Lace” and “Everyday Crochet” years before I felt able to tackle the FSC.
I would drool over her patterns and attempt over and over to do the FSC. Finally one day it all came together and I have mastered the FSC (or at least have a good handle on it).
Recently, I wanted to do a shawl design that would require a long foundation to work off of. The idea of starting a pattern with nearly 200 chain stitches made me break out in a cold sweat.
I also knew there were quite a few folks that would not be too happy with me if I started it off with that number of FSC (I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to make a foundation with that many FSC). What to do?
I wanted a foundation that wasn’t a complete pain to work, that would look attractive on its own. Something that wouldn’t need an additional edging to seem complete.
I started looking at single crochet stitches. What would happen if I worked a bunch of single crochets one on top of the other, then worked into the side of them for the rest of the garment?
Now, I’m pretty sure some other designer has done this at some time or another, though I can’t recall having seen it. Happily the resulting foundation is stretchy and attractive. Basically everything I was looking for.
One thing I did observe is that with my style of crochet the foundation made this way seems a bit too loose. I adjusted for this by working the foundation with a smaller hook than that used for the body of the shawl. Knitters have been casting on for ages with different size needles than the rest of their project is worked with. So I was borrowing from that tradition.
It could also work to just be very aware and crochet the foundation stitches a bit tightly with the larger hook, then work with a more relaxed gauge for the remainder of the garment.
Either way, this may become one of my favorite new techniques for foundations.