Crocheted edgings can be used for many things, from creating a professional finish to any border to adding a final decorative flourish to many craft projects.
A crocheted edge can be worked from any selvedge once you know how. Moreover, you needn’t stick to working from a crochet base. Even the wonkiest of garment edges can be neatened with a trim worked along it, hiding small and glaring mistakes alike.
When starting to work a crocheted edge, you must first create a foundation row of stitches to build upon. These should be neat and evenly spaced, so when you are asked work a row of dc evenly around the perimeter, ensure that each stitch is an equal distance apart. When turning corners, ensure that you work more stitches into the corner stitch or stitches to create a flat turn. It is always preferable to work these extra stitches in even numbers, so that you end up with an odd number in the corner space. This means that you can work the corner stitches into the central stitch of the group on subsequent rows.
Aside from the obvious use in borders along crocheted fabric, using a crocheted edge with a knitted fabric also works very well. Knitting’s uniform, slightly open stitches provide a perfect guide for inserting the hook on the first row, resulting in an even, stable edge to work from, and if a lacy pattern is hooked off a stocking stitch ground, the contrast is extremely appealing – as well as practical – as it helps to prevent the innate roll in the knitted piece’s selvedge.
Non-knitted fabrics can also be edged with crochet. Towels, pillowcases, cushions, napkins, tea towels… all these everyday household items can be elevated into desirable decorative interior pieces with the simple addition of a pretty crocheted edging. Woven fabric may need a little bit more preparation than crocheted or knitted before an edge is worked, especially with a tight weave or an edge likely to fray.
If the fabric is not quite so dense, you may be able to insert the hook straight through it on the first row. However, a neater, more even finish is achieved when you prepare the edge first. You can do this in many ways with differing results.
The easiest way is to mark where you want your hook to be inserted at regular intervals along the selvedge, then punch holes through the fabric on these marks. The holes can be achieved either with a large, sharp sewing needle or the sharp tip of a fine steel hook if you are using thread to create a lightweight edge, or with some kind of eyelet punch if you are using a bulky yarn and large hook.
To prevent fraying under the crochet when using a fabric ground, you may need to hem the material before attempting to edge it. If your edge already has a hem, you can make your insertions for the crochet under the actual hem, using the sewn line as a guide, so that you do not need to go through two layers of fabric. Alternatively, you can prepare holes first to go through both layers, which can be a bit trickier.
If you are handy with a needle and thread, then a very neat finish can be accomplished with just a little bit of sewing before you pick up the hook. Firstly, you simply work a blanket stitch around the entire selvedge in embroidery thread, or the thread you are going to be using to crochet with. This could be the same colour as the edging or a complementary shade for a pretty contrast. Once this is complete, you simply crochet your first row over the blanket stitch thread.
1) Essential Crochet by Erika Knight, published by Quadrille (£14.99). Photography © Graham Atkins Hughes; 2) Beata Basik www.rosehip.typepad.com
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