The Foundations. The Basics. The Building Blocks.
However you describe them, they’re not very glamorous. But they are entirely and fundamentally fundamental!
You’ve all heard the Coldplay song where Chris Martin laments the discovery that his castle was built on pillars of salt and sand… if my lyrical memory serves that ended with his head on a sliver plate, so there’s a stark warning for you!
In a slightly more real life example, I do a lot of yoga and in class I always appreciate it when my teachers remind me to think about my feet as the foundation of any standing pose.
A small adjustment to the outside edge of my back foot suddenly makes Warrior 2 make sense to the rest of my body. Without my feet being right, my hips face the wrong way, my spine twists a bit and before I know it I’m off on a wonk and flat on the mat. One of the best things I did in my yoga practice was to keep going back to beginners classes for 6 months. It’s hard to resist the temptation to rush ahead because you want to learn how to do a headstand but, for me, it was worth it. Plus I can now do a headstand (sometimes anyway).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in doing things before you are ready. Being able to wing-it is a massive skill in itself, but I still think it’s important to have a back-up, to know how to act or what to do next when things don’t quite go to plan, which they inevitably don’t. A plumber wouldn’t turn up to a job without a toolbox. If they turn up at all… I’m having home improvement issues, I’m not bitter!
This theory of solid foundations is the same for everything we do. You can’t become a quantum physicist without learning your times tables, or a painter without understanding how to make green, or a brain surgeon without knowing the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone… you get the idea…
Crochet is no different – when you have the basics down, you can do anything! I know that’s part of the reason I love it. All that variety and beauty created with just a few building blocks, like some sort of yarny lego equivalent!
The foundation of so many crochet patterns involve a chain of x stitches followed by working sc/dc into the chain. To put it politely, I do not enjoy working into chains. It’s important to get the tension right so the piece flows so but it’s so fiddly and time consuming and just seems like I’m wasting time before I can get on with the real fun!
So when I came across the Foundation Single Crochet (FSC) and Foundation Double Crochet (FDC) stitches it was like a revelation… you can just get going from the first slip knot! It took me a while to get the hang of it but I’m a total convert and will use it wherever I can now. A bit like the magic circle, it’s kind of a revolutionary technique to have in your crochet toolbox. If only crochet worked on stopcocks *sigh*.
If I’m honest I think that the FDC works better in terms of being more ‘invisible’. I find the FSC stitch is marginally taller than working an SC in a chain. Obviously this all depends on you tension and crochet style though and to me it is still a vast improvement!
Another plus side of using this technique is that it is so easy to work stitches into the bottom side of the row. For example, if you are making a blanket and want to add a boarder, the foundation rows can be worked easily and neatly giving a much nicer, cleaner finish.
So, with no further ado, I am building the foundation of my BRAND NEW youtube channel on the foundation stitches. I have created a short video tutorial for each of the stitches which you can view below. There’s an explanation of the stitch in the text below too.
FSC stitch: Ch 2, insert hook into first ch and pull up a loop. *YO and pull through one loop, YO and pull through two loops. That’s the first stitch done! To start the second stitch, insert the hook into the ‘v’ you created when you pulled the yarn through one loop, then pull up a loop and repeat from* to finish the stitch. Repeat for as many stitches as needed in your foundation row!
FDC stitch: This is much like FSC but with an extra step like a normal dc. Ch 3, YO, insert hook into the first ch (third from hook) and pull up a loop. *YO and pull through one loop, (YO and pull through two loops) twice. That’s your first stitch done! When starting the next stitch you YO (just like a normal dc) and insert the hook into the ‘v’ you created when you pulled the yarn through one loop then pull up a loop and continue from* to complete the second stitch. Repeat for as many stitches as you need.
It can take a few tries to find the v – which is effectively the base of the stitch you create when working the previous stitch, but once you’ve got it there’s no going back!
I used YouTube so much when I learned to crochet (and still do), so it seems only appropriate I try to do my bit to pass on my experience for the next generation of crocheters!
I have a tendency to get impatient with long tutorials so I promise to keep all my videos short and sweet and straight down to business!
Again I would have to remind you that I am a leftie, so if you’re right handed you might want to watch this in the mirror unless you fancy challenging your brain!
I hope you find these videos useful, I really would welcome any feedback. I have some ideas for future tutorials but would love to hear your suggestions too!