Those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning may remember that I'm a total nerd who's not opposed to getting a little bit scientific with my crochet. So to help you figure out which stitch is right for your next WIP, I designed a few simple tests to showcase the differences between these staple stitches.
In order to compare the different stitches with as few extraneous variables as I could manage, I created 3 different squares of approximately the same dimensions using the same skein of yarn and the same crochet hook. Each 4.5" square was made from I Love This Yarn! in Peacock Tails and a size H (5.0mm) crochet hook.
Since the different stitches are a different height/looseness, I had to vary the number of stitches for each to get them as close to the same size as possible. The sc square consists entirely of sc stitches and is 18 stitches wide and 21 rows tall. The hdc square consists entirely of hdc stitches and is 17 stitches wide and 14 rows tall. The dc square consists entirely of (you guessed it!) dc stitches and is 16 stitches wide and 10 rows tall.
The yarn tails for each square were trimmed to 2" on each end.
First we'll check out sc, the most fundamental crochet stitch.
The basic idea of the droop test is to put a weight in the middle of the suspended square and to look at how far down the center droops. The stiffer the fabric is, the less it should droop with a light weight on it. This is essentially testing the drape of the fabric.
Here's a look at the squares without any weight on them. Each picture is labeled so you can tell which is which.
But now let's add some weight! I ended up using one of my kid's toys, because if there's one thing I'm surrounded by all day, it's toddler toys. Plus, where else are you going to see a panda standing on a crocheted square, right? So let's see how the squares hold up. (Baha! Pun! I couldn't resist...)
Time for the next test!
This one's fairly self explanatory. I wanted to see how much the squares stretched...so I stretched them! "You're breaking some new ground there, Copernicus." (Major brownie points to anyone who knows where that quote is from.) I used my blocker again and attached the bottom of the square to the pegs while pulling on the top to stretch the stitches vertically. I also included a ruler for relative scale.
And now for the test I was most interested in. Drumroll please... That's right, it's the Yarn Usage Test!
Yarn Usage Test
I've often found myself wondering about how much yarn each stitch uses relative to the other basic stitches. On the one hand, a sc stitch should take less yarn to make, because it's smaller. But on the other hand, it takes more sc stitches to cover an area. So what's the trade-off between the two? If I'm running out of yarn and need to finish covering something, am I better off with the smaller stitches that require less yarn or the larger stitches that eat up more yarn? So let's take a look at how much yarn was needed for each of these squares (remember, they all have approximately the same dimensions).
I started by weighing the squares. The more yarn a square uses, the heavier it should be, right? So I pulled out my handy dandy kitchen scale and weighed each square 10 times.
Lest anyone ever accuse me of not being dedicated to my craft, I decided to frog each square and measure the amount of yarn used. I felt slightly insane during the process, but it had to be done. The price we pay for our art, right? Anyway, here's what I ended up with (after subtracting the extra length from the yarn tails):
- sc: 819 inches (68.25 feet)
- hdc: 763 inches (63.58 feet)
- dc: 658 inches (54.83 feet)
Alright, so we've looked at the general fabric characteristics, the drape, the flexibility, and the yarn usage, how do we pick a stitch? Well, it depends! I know, not the clearest answer. But different projects need different fabric characteristics. For example, if you're making an amigurumi, you'll want neat, stiff stitches that keep their shape well. The winner? Single crochet! If you want something that works up really quickly and don't mind some gaps? Double crochet! Overall, sc will give you the tightest, neatest, stiffest fabric. Dc will give you the loosest, stretchiest fabric with the most drape. And hdc will give you a fabric with characteristics in between the two.
Hopefully this post will give you some more insight into which stitches will work best for your next project. Do you have a favorite use for one of these stitches? I'd love to hear about it! Or if you have any comments or questions about this post, you can reach me in the comments section below or on social media. Happy Hooking!
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