This is why you’re here, right? To play with yarn and crochet beautiful things? (Okay, maybe you’re here for the sewing posts– I think you’ll be glad you took the time to look over these crochet posts, too!)
Texture brings to mind all sorts of hard crochet stitches. Surface crochet can be easy or hard depending on your goals.
One of the easier ways to add surface crochet is to add single crochet or chains to an already crocheted or finished blanket, as I’ve done in the photo below. Notice how the blue lines pop out to add a dimension of texture to the background.
Last week we discussed that texture can be a part of the yarn. Texture can also be a part of the stitches, part of the fabric of our project. So, this week we’re talking about textural stitches.
Merriam Webster’s online dictionary includes this definition of texture: Something composed of closely interwoven elements; specifically, a woven cloth.
When we crochet we are taking string and applying different knots to it with a stick. Crocheters and knitters take sticks and string and make fabric. You may have seen a meme to this effect floating around the Internet, but I think crocheters crank it up a notch as we only use one stick! I know that this is a very simplified description of what we do but think about it for a moment:
Sticks + string = fabric.
Wow, we are talented and gifted people. We have an ability shared with fisherman (who repair their nets) and weavers (who make cloth).
Let’s Get Back to the Texture Lesson
Your crocheting creates a fabric.
Your stitches create the texture of the fabric.
When you add in different stitches in different yarns you get an unlimited amount of texture variations.
(The above photo is a beautiful C2C, or corner-to-corner, afghan I made add for my father-in-law. The stitches give it the feeling of a waffle. Below is the same stitch crocheted in a plain gray yarn.)
More Textural Stitches
A basket weave crochet stitch pattern can also add interest, as seen below.
Changing yarn size and hook size can make a huge difference in the texture of various stitches. The top left photo is a look at the scale of the stitches. You can see that the bulky yarn is much chunkier. The green lace-weight yarn is soft and the texture, while it shows up beautifully, is not as pronounced as the aqua cotton DK weight yarn.
Turning your work can sometimes have the effect of making a project reversible; you won’t have a wrong side and a right side. But, some blankets only have a right side (and the pattern will let you know which side is the right side). Many sweaters and most socks are worked in the round and there is only one right side. If you are adding surface crochet (like flower petals), then you will have a right side and a wrong side.
Today and the next week or two we are going to talk about texture. Over the past several months, we have talked about color, and color patterning. Color theory is great, and color patterning is important, but texture is equally important.
Without texture, our blankets would be like so many striped or patterned plain knit t-shirts–boring after a while. Texture adds pizzazz and emphasizes the beautiful yarns that we love to crochet with.
What is Texture?
Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines it as…
The visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something.
An identifying quality.
Something composed of closely interwoven elements; specifically: a woven cloth.
The structure formed by the threads of a fabric.
Texture Can Be Part of the Yarn
The yarn may be crinkly, have sequins, slubs, or be a smooth rayon or rough twine. These differing textures will add interest to your crochet project. There is such a wide variety of yarns available all with such a huge assortment of textures that it can be a challenge narrowing your choices down to just one.
How Do You Know Which Yarn to Choose?
There are several questions to ask yourself before you fall in love with a yarn.
What is the end purpose of your work?
Are you going to wear it? Is it for a baby? Will it need to be washed? Are you going to dry clean it, hand-wash it or throw it in the washer? Do you have allergies to any of the fibers
How does it need to look?
Soft, filmy, ethereal, bulky, substantial, delicate, durable–all these words apply to different styles of yarn and yarn with different fiber content.
What are you crocheting?
Are you crocheting lace? Boot socks? A sweater for your outdoor-loving son? Does it need to be almost indestructible? A formal shawl? A blanket for your dog?
Answering these questions will give you an idea of the look of the yarn for which you are shopping.
Break Out of the Box!
I know most of us walk into our local big box craft shop and choose the same old yarn that we always buy. Maybe it’s time to break away from the “usual” and find something new to crochet with, something that will add a special texture to your next project. Take a look at the varieties available and see if you can find something new with texture. You’ll love seeing how fun it can be to try something new!
The Texture of the Ridged Ripple Baby Blanket
Speaking of texture, this is the beautiful Ridged Ripple Baby Blanket. As you can see, you can crochet this in a wide variety of yarns. I simply love the texture to this baby blanket!
The variegated yarn is so soft and created just for babies. The red yarn is a cotton-wool blend that will soften over time just like your favorite pair of jeans. This is a newly edited pattern that has just been re-released for you. Both of the suggested yarns are machine washable and easy care.
Chocolate Dog Studio crochet patterns are available in several different Internet shops. You can find all of my patterns here on the blog. The other sites where you can shop for Chocolate Dog Studio patterns: Etsy, Craftsy, Love Crochet, and now Makerist.