Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thermal Stitch, how to - Strong Crochet Strap

I made up a name for this very useful stitch.  I call it  “strap single crochet stitch” or “ssc stitch” or “strap sc stitch” - because I first made it up when trying to find a way to make a strong, sturdy, (almost) non-stretch, smooth edged strap.

Addendum: 10 May 2018 Thanks to the readers who left me comments, I now know that I was not the first to create it (as I suspected) and this stitch has a proper name: namely Thermal Stitch or Siberian Stitch. Thank you Cheryl, Brigitta, May!

How to Make Strong Crochet Strap with Thermal Stitch

I have been making some crochet bags lately.  They are sturdy and strong.  And I wanted to make a crochet strap that would complement the whole feel of the bags.  I wanted some strong crochet straps that would not stretch nor look sloppy.  But none of the crochet stitches I knew could produce what I wanted. So I had to come up with something new (to me) ... and it worked beautifully!

And though I searched Mr Google thoroughly, I could not find what I wanted.  The closest I could find were the woven straps for Wayuu bags.  However I didn't want to take the time right then to learn how to weave that kind of strap.  It did look very time consuming.

Luckily I found a way to make the crochet strap I wanted.  It is sturdy, strong, easy to crochet, and does not stretch much.  Further more, it has lovely straight edges ... which is not always a given but always a bonus with crochet. It is identical on both sides and quite comfortingly thick.

Sidenote: I am sorry I don't have a how-to video on this.  I don't know how to do a close up video tutorial.  I have tried and tried.  I have asked and asked Mr Google.  I still don't know how.  So the follow pictorial+text how-to crochet strong strap will have to do for now.

How To Crochet Strong Strap for Bags

Actually it can be used for bags, belts, strapping, or anywhere you think you might need a strong strap.

In this example, I am making a strap of 6 stitches.

Foundation Row: 6ch

Row 1: 1 ch (a standup chain to start new row; like you would normally do), and 6sc (single crochet) normally.

Now is when it gets interesting …

Row 2: Skip the first stitch.

Important: Always skip the first stitch. And do no start with a chain. This is true for Every row. This beginning and how you end the row is what gives the strap a lovely clean, straight edge.

Work into the back loop of the 2nd stitch AND into the corresponding loop of the row below. Pull yarn through and complete a normal sc stitch. (I called this the “Strap sc stitch”.)

Work all the way to end => 5 stitches.
We will need one more sc to make up to a total of 6 stitches. This we will do right at the the very tip of the row.

Put hook through the loop at the very tip of the row.
Pull yarn through and work another sc ==> total of 6sc for the row. (There should be same number of stitches every row.)

Work every row as R2 viz. skip the first stitch. sc into back loop and corresponding loop from previous row, pull yarn through and complete a sc. Work like this all the way along row => 5 sc

Tip: you can guide yourself by seeing the knit-like “V” that you will be working through.

Note: it is this stitch – working a sc through back loop and corresponding prev. row loop that creates this thick, strong fabric suitable for bag straps and bands, belts, etc.

But wait! We still have only 5 stitches along this row. Once again (and for every row henceforth), we will make up the 6th stitch at the very tip of the row.

Put hook through the TWO END loops. Pull yarn through and complete a sc.

I have provided 2 images below, viewed from different angles, to explain this

The following 2 photos show you what the row looks like before turning. Because you only work into the back loop only (BLO) on each row, the untouched front loops are left to be picked up in the next row.

Carrying on working row 3 till you have your desired length of crochet strap.

Note: when I was writing up this article, I did finally come across an article on how to make a non-stretchy crocheted strap on the wonderful Lilla Björn website. This can be found in the reference below. You may want to give that a try tho' I really like mine.

Note also that there may be this crochet stitch/method out there and it has a proper name, but I have not come across it so I am simply calling this stitch  "Strap Single Crochet Stitch".  But if you have come across this exactly stitch before and/or know its proper name, please do leave me a comment in the comments box below.  Thanks!

Addendum: (Nov 2017) Look at Thermal Stitch in the Round to check out how to use this stitch but working in round, rather than to and fro, as seen here.

Addendum: (May 2018)
Double Crochet Thermal Stitch
There is also a double-crochet Thermal Stitch. You can view the video tutorial (by The Yarnist on YouTube)