5 Tips for Learning Live-Loop Crochet (or any new technique)

If you’ve browsed through the pages of Interweave Crochet Fall 2017, you may have noticed a brand-new cabling technique that looks knitted! When Sue Perez shared live-loop crochet with us, I was beyond thrilled—I have loved making crochet cables for years, but the holes that appeared on each side of a cable crossing frustrated me. I also thought post stitches left an overall chunky and unappealing appearance and found myself always wishing crochet cables looked as nice as knitted ones.

Sue has developed a new technique, called live-loop crochet, that tries to solve these crochet cable issues. Live-loop crochet eliminates the holes on the side of the cable, makes cables that resemble knitted I-cord and lie on top of your crochet background stitch, and ultimately gives your crochet project a knitted appearance. Sue made my crochet cable dreams come true!

I have been playing with this technique for a few months now (and showing off my cable swatches to every crafter in the Interweave office)and wanted to share some tips and tricks. These tips are helpful for anyone learning a new technique.

1. Start easy.

As I was learning this technique, I found I couldn’t start with Sue’s Bristlecone Mitts or her Blue Spruce Hat. The patterns were too hard for me to follow before I was familiar with how the stitch worked. I started off far easier than that and began by trying to replicate the swatches she provided for the tutorial. Once I started off nice and easy, I was able to handle the patterns for the hat and the mitts.

2. Swatch a lot.

Yes, we always tell you to swatch! Swatching is important to help you obtain an accurate gauge and to familiarize yourself with any complicated stitch patterns before you get deep into a project. Here, swatching is even more important. Why? I don’t feel bad if I’ve messed up a swatch. It didn’t take me very long to get it going, and I can easily start over if I need to. But I always feel bad when I mess up on my project. Better to mess up when it won’t destroy your stitching mood.

3. Experiment.

live loop crochet

Sue offers her own tips and tricks in her tutorial in Interweave Crochet Fall 2017. Some of those tips and tricks involve how to fix a mistake. Before you get to work on your larger project, try messing up on purpose. It’s inevitable that we’ll make a mistake (we’re all human). So try making the mistake and then figuring out how to fix it. It will help you launch into your new project with confidence! You’ll be ready for anything.

4. Use the right tools.

Finding the right tools for the job might involve some experimenting as well. Be open to trying new things. Sue’s cable method requires a large amount of stitch holders. You have several options for notions in that realm. I started off using locking stitch markers to hold the live loops, but their small size made it hard to crochet from them. Then I borrowed some stitch holders from the knitting team.

Again, no luck: constantly opening and closing them was too clunky. I ended up using straight knitting cable needles for the step-by-step photos because that was the easiest way to display the stitches and how they were being held. You might find it easier to use bobby pins or toothpicks. While you’re swatching and experimenting, test out your notions and find the tool that works best for you.

5. Use the right kind of yarn.

Sue recommends using a slightly “grippy” yarn for these projects, because live loops in slippery yarn will slide right off whatever you use to hold them. That would be a bummer. Also, try to find a yarn that isn’t prone to splitting, or you’ll get frustrated as you take your hook out of stitches and put it back in.

Grab Interweave Crochet Fall 2017 for a step-by-step photo tutorial on live-loop cables. Sue’s video will help you visualize how this technique works! So check that out if you are in need of extra assistance.

Be brave, try it out, and let us know how it goes! Who else has tried this technique? Anyone else have suggestions for people learning something new? Share your knowledge in the comments below!

Happy stitching!

-Sara Dudek
Associate Editor, Interweave Crochet

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