In Praise of the Puff

Doing two rows of puff stitch back-to-back would probably make it stand out more. And the puff stitch sort of warps the outer edge so maybe a smaller puff at the beginning and ending of each row would work out better. Needs some fine tuning.

I’ve been crocheting for what seems like most of my life. That sort of sounds like I mean non-stop crocheting. I don’t. There have been a myriad of distinct projects with time in between where I don’t crochet at all. Really.  Crochet is not my life. Really.

I taught myself to crochet when I was 24 (I am now 68, oh my) from an article in a magazine. The article explained four basic stitches: chain, slip stitch, single crochet and double crochet. For most of the 44 years that I have been crocheting, those are the only stitches I’ve ever used with the exception of the occasional treble crochet or half double crochet.

I’ve made more afghans than I can remember. Baby blankets have been equally numerous. I’ve made hats and slippers. Lots of slippers. And numerous sweaters. And scarves. Don’t get me started on scarves … literally. Sometimes it feels like I can’t stop making scarves.

I’ve used tiny steel hooks and fine crochet cottons and made enough doilies to nicely appoint the most spacious of Victorian houses. Antimacassars and table runners, chair-side table doilies, doilies to go under lamps and vases and you name it have been produced.

Pot holders and trivets and tea cozies vied for space with toaster covers, place mats and coasters. And I did it all with those four stitches. Those four stitches were fine for me. I didn’t need anything more than that. I could make anything with those four stitches. Shoot, I made a huge queen-sized bedspread with just those four stitches.

Then a little over a year ago, a friend sent me a pattern for a dog sweater. I’d never made a dog sweater. We didn’t have a dog until about three years ago and our cats never seemed to need sweaters and probably wouldn’t have worn them even if I’d made them. Cats can be contrary and solidly unappreciative of your efforts on their behalf. Don’t get me wrong though. I love cats.

So anyway, this dog sweater pattern had two new-to-me stitches in it: front post double crochet and back post double crochet. When you do it right, it looks like rib knit. I was enchanted. I immediately began incorporating it into my designs … mostly scarves.

I still really like the front and back post double crochet, but my new absolute favorite stitch is the puff stitch. I love the way it looks and I love how it feels. And best of all, it’s so simple to do.

This isn’t really a crochet tutorial so I’ll just say this about the stitch; you can have a big puff or a small puff. You yarn over and insert the hook in the next stitch and pull the loop through (three loops on the hook), then yarn over and insert the hook in the same stitch and pull the loop through (five loops on the hook), then yarn over again and insert the hook in the same stitch and pull it through (seven loops on the hook) and then yarn over and pull that loop through all the loops on the hook. That makes the bigger puff. For the smaller, yarn over and pull through only twice for a total of five loops on the hook. I like the bigger puff the best. People who write crochet instructions professionally could explain it better. Google it if you are interested.

Am I going to go crazy and start searching out new and innovative stitches and patterns? Probably not. But a new a simple stitch now and then doesn’t hurt.  I don’t feel as if I’ve wasted the last 44 years on those four basic stitches. Although I do sometimes wonder what I might have accomplished had I diversified a little earlier.

Besides scarves, I’ve also recently crocheted a number of pillow covers. It’s so hard to find pillows that co-ordinate with the other stuff you’ve made or if you do, they cost a fortune. So repurposing old worn out pillows works for me. Now I just have to figure out how to use the puff stitch in my next pillow cover. That is, after I finish the half dozen scarves I have planned to make.

Image result for crochet puff stitch

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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