January 10, 2017

Clean Edge Single Crochet

I am absolutely in love with Mamachee’s clean edge double crochet! (Read about it here: http://mamachee.com/2014/05/22/double-crochet-hack/) I use it for afghans all the time when I don’t want to have to crochet a border afterwards.

It makes a wonderfully straight edge that doesn’t need to be covered up later. For my latest afghan project, however, double crochets were just too bulky and were not giving me the amount of detail that I wanted.

What I really needed was a way to make a nice clean, straight edge in single crochet. Mamachee’s method involves making a tiny cluster at the end of every row; basically it’s a dc2tog worked in a single stitch. Unfortunately, trying to work a sc2tog into a single stitch results in an ever-tightening loop on your hook that is nearly impossible to work through.

What I needed was an extra step in the middle to “anchor” that middle loop. I  tried a ch1:

This seemed to work pretty well, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the edge that it produced. It was fairly straight, but I thought I could do better.
Next, I used a method that I borrowed from knitting. Knitters can make 2 stitches out of 1 by knitting into both the front and back of a stitch. Initially this feels a little weird with a crochet hook and more than once I was convinced that my first loop was going to fall off the hook. But everything turned out great!

To work a scfbc:
Sc to the last stitch of the row. Insert hook from front to back in last stitch; draw up a loop. Rotate hook around and insert in last stitch from back to front; draw up a loop. (Rotate your hook the opposite direction you normally do to make it easier to pull this loop through) Yarn over and draw through all three loops on the hook. scfbc completed!

The bottom swatch in this picture shows plain single crochet worked in the normal method. The top left swatch shows the results of the extra ch1; its better, but not great. The top right swatch uses the single crochet front-back-cluster. Wow, that’s a mouthful! Lets abbreviate that to scfbc.
So, to make a sc project with straight edges you would work to the last stitch of the row, scfbc, ch1 and turn. Work back across the row as normal to the last stitch. There is no special treatment for the first stitch of the row. Just remember that in single crochet the initial ch1 does NOT count as a stitch.

I have attempted to make a video showing how to work the scfbc. Please excuse the poor quality of this, it was recorded on my phone, in the phone clip, clipped to my collar. Hopefully it shows enough detail to allow you to work the stitch.
Just for comparison, here is a swatch worked in sc using the scfbc at the end of each row next to a dc swatch using Mamachee's method. I think the edges look great on both!