Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bent-wire crochet: making chains from coils

A left-handed coil starting to form a right-hander's chain stitch.

The sailor's method of making a chain stitch (The Ashley Book of Knots #2868) is tantamount to making the stitch from the turns of a coil, and sometimes it is done this way (#2870.) The handedness of the coil determines the handedness of the chain stitch. Ironically, a left-handed coil yields a right-hander's chain stitch, and a right-handed coil yields a left-hander's chain stitch. The coil unrolls about a third of a turn at each stitch to pass through and extend the chain.

A right-hander's chain stitch made from a left-handed coil.

A walking chain stitch, i.e., a chain of alternating left- and right-handed links, must be made from a coil that is alternately left- and right-handed, that is, a figure-eight coil.

(An easy way to tell the handedness of a coil is the slant of its front side. In a left-handed coil the slant is like the middle of an 'S', in a right-handed coil the slant is like the middle of a 'Z'. A mnemonic is that the pairs L-R and S-Z are each in alphabetical order.)

S and Z: a left-handed coil and a right-handed coil.

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