Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Foundation Stitches

I was first introduced to the world of foundations stitches about four or five years ago when I ran across a pattern posted by Bonnie Pierce for a moebius shawl/scarf. First I was drawn in by the lacy effect as well as the moebius aspect. But what got me hooked enough to make this pattern again and again was the foundation double crochet (fdc) that you start it with.

Then I realized that you could also have a foundation single crochet (fsc), foundation half double crochet (fhdc), foundation treble crochet (ftc), and on and on.

The obvious benefits are:
• You can start right into your pattern without a foundation chain.
• Foundations stitches have the same stretch and flexibility as their more traditional applications. Foundation chains don't stretch and can create an edge that is at odds with the rest of your fabric.

There are also unique design possibilities:
• If you create an fdc row, then turn it completely around to work your next row on the base of the fdc you can get a nice hem stitch effect.

• If you work a extremely lacy fabric than wish to work some rows of single crochet or double crochet, you don't have to use a chain row to begin. If you start right in with a fsc or fdc, you retain the lacy flex and stretch of the fabric that would be compromised by the use of a chain row.

Since I prefer to add crochet symbol charts to my patterns whenever possible, I have put off completing a couple of them since I didn't know of a stitch symbol for foundation stitches. Then I got the chance to work with KnitCircus and create a stitch symbol chart for the Doris Chan pattern that is in the Spring 2011 issue. She is well known for using foundation stitches and this pattern is no exception. So I worked closely with the tech editor and came up with something that, hopefully, is not only unique but communicates the stitch as well as possible.

Doris' pattern starts with a row of fsc. So I came up with this symbol:

When placed in a row it looks like this:

KnitCircus chose to go with the X symbol for single crochet, but for some unknown reason I've always preferred the + symbol. So here is what it looks like with that:

An fdc looks like this:

These new stitch symbols have me excited. Foundation stitches are a wonderful tool and I hope that having a way to express them in symbol form helps many more crocheters discover their use.

If you've never used a foundation stitch and are wondering how to do it, take a look at the great photos and explanation that Bonnie Pierce has created for the fdc. There are videos on YouTube as well as some good explanations and illustrations on CrochetMe.com.


  1. Permission to use such symbols in my patterns too. :) I love the symbols, and have never seen it before. Found you through google. :)