Once you know how to do surface crochet, you can use this versatile technique to enhance plain crochet, tapestry crochet, freeform crochet, and unlimited other types of crochet projects. If you knit, you can even use surface crochet as a means to embellish your knitting projects too.
The term "surface crochet" is almost self-explanatory; it refers to crochet work that is created on the surface of the fabric.
There are many reasons you might want to add surface crocheted slip stitches to your fabric.
Make the Project More Colorful: Surface crochet slip stitches provide an easy way to add color to a project.
Let's say you've finished working a color chart that has three colors. When you finish, you look at it and you decide that it's just begging for a fourth color.
Of course, you could re-chart your design, adding the fourth color. Then you'd have to re-crochet the whole thing (dealing with four different balls of yarn in the process.)
Surface crochet provides you with an alternative. Instead of redoing the whole thing, you could just enhance your completed piece using surface crochet slip stitches in the fourth color.
Add Outlines, Drop Shadows and Details: If you've ever played around with designing anything digital, you're no doubt aware that it's nice to be able to add strokes, outlines and drop shadows at the click of the mouse. It isn't so easy to accomplish the same tasks when you are designing patterns in crochet, but surface crochet slip stitches do allow you to fake these effects somewhat.
In the pictures above, you can see several different examples of this. The "Before" pictures show how each of these designs looks before outlines have been added. The "After" pictures show the projects with outlines. In some cases, the difference is subtle; in many cases, the difference is significant and dramatic.
Tapestry Crochet: Surface crochet is handy for cleaning up messy areas in tapestry crochet. Sometimes, when working tapestry crochet patterns, you end up with jagged lines in places where the colors touch each other. This isn't the crocheter's fault; it's just the reality of the technique. Certain tapestry crochet designs can really benefit from having an outline added in surface crochet slip stitches.
The red, white and blue potholder pictured above is a fantastic example of this. On the left, you see the red and white potholder before any surface crochet was added. Notice how jagged the lines are. On the right hand side, you see how the potholder looks after some surface crochet slip stitches have been added. This tutorial takes you through the process of transforming the potholder, using surface crochet to do it.
If you'd like to try this, you can click here to get the free potholder pattern.
Build Additional Layers Onto a Flat Project, or Give Yourself Another Space to Crochet Into: Let's say you want to add flower petals to a flat flower, or animal ears to a crocheted hat. In either case, you could work surface crochet slip stitches in the spot you want the petals or the ears. The surface crochet stitches could be the foundation that you crochet into when you get started on the addition.
See an Example: In this 3d flower granny square, the granny square itself is crocheted flat. Then I used surface crochet slip stitches to build an additional layer on top of the square, forming the flower petals.
Freeform Crochet: If you enjoy freeform crochet, you'll find that surface crochet techniques greatly enhance your ability to create interesting work.
Free Crochet Patterns for the Projects Shown:
- Striped heart afghan square pattern
- Striped heart potholder pattern
- Striped op art heart chart
- Snowflake potholder
- Flower applique pattern
- Candy cane diagonal striped potholder