How to Make a Limpet Stitch

I don't know about you, but spring cleaning always makes me feel inspired about my home and its potential. The cleaning itself is a real slog, but once it's done I see my home with new eyes. And of course, I always want to make and buy new things for my freshly cleaned place!

One of the projects I've been eying for my home is the Limpet Chair Pad from our Home issue–it's a great pattern, and the red just so happens to match my kitchen and dishes. I love the idea of making a cushion for my dining room chairs because I love to linger around the table after a good meal, but my chairs are too uncomfortable for extended sitting. These little chair pads are the perfect solution.

As I looked into the pattern, though, I was a bit intimidated by the limpet stitch. I've never attempted it, and if I'm going to make six of these chair pads, I figured I should make sure I have a really good grasp on it. I asked designer Sue Perez to write up a tutorial for this stitch, and she kindly obliged with this awesome, in-depth guide to the limpet stitch (complete with photos!). Here's Sue:

 

Have you ever stitched a limpet? I first encountered this seldom-used stitch a few years ago, on one of Vashti Braha's blogs. Later I began to incorporate it into my own projects, and quickly became hooked (ahem) on the technique.

Limpets are a kind of free-wheeling cousin to the bullion stitch. They're formed by casting on extra loops to your crochet hook at the beginning of your stitch; when you yarn over and draw through all the loops at the end of the stitch, the extra loops fan out to form a little shell. You can change the size of the shell by changing the number cast-on loops. The limpets in this photo are free-standing, separated by chain stitches. They could make a lovely starting chain or work well as part of a crochet necklace.

 

Limpets can also be incorporated into the body of a project, as in the Limpet Chair Pad from the Home issue.

Here's how to make the limpets used in the Limpet Chair Pad. Note that the limpets are worked WS facing.

Chain an odd number, plus enough chains to make the turning stitch of your choice. (In the Limpet Chair Pad, the starting and ending stitch of each row match the height of the limpets.) Turn and make your starting stitch (here I've used a stacked single crochet).

Cast on four forward loops (you should now have 5 loops on your hook).

Insert your hook into the back bump of the next chain, pull up a loop, then yarn over and draw through all the loops on the hook.

Chain 1 to "lock" the limpet, then cast on your four forward loops for the next limpet.

Skip 1 ch, insert your hook into the back bump of the next ch, pull up a loop, yarn over and draw through all the loops on the hook, and ch 1 to lock the limpet.

Repeat these steps (cast on four forward loops, skip 1 ch, insert hook in back bump of next ch, pull up a loop, yarn over and draw through all loops on hook, ch 1 to lock limpet) across your starting chain. On the final limpet, omit the locking ch-1 and finish with an hdc in the last ch.

Here's how the limpets look from the RS (after adding a row of sc).

A note on forward loops versus backward loops: If you've ever done a simple knitted cast-on, you've probably used backward loops. With backward loops, the working yarn exits toward the front of the work (go figure!). The forward loop is cast on in the opposite direction, which means the working yarn exits toward the back of the work.

Limpets can be made with either forward loops or backward loops. As you can see in this photo, the results are virtually identical; the only difference is in the loop twist direction at the edge of the limpets. (If you turned this swatch over, you would see that the WS of the forward loop limpet looks exactly like the RS of the backward loop limpet, and vice versa. A forward loop is just a backward loop turned around.)

If either cast-on works just as well for limpets, why not use the more familiar backwards loop? I prefer forward loops for two reasons. First, the forward loop cast-on action is smoother and less disruptive of the normal flow of yarn over my fingers. Second, a forward loop enhances the twist of S-twist yarns (which make up the majority of available yarns) and gives a tidier edge to the limpet. But feel free to use whichever cast-on works best for you.

If you've never stitched a limpet, give it a try today. Crochet limpets are fun to make, easy to modify, and can add a cheerful touch to any project.

 

Thanks, Sue! This will really help me (and others, I'm sure) get the hang of this stitch. I can't wait to get started on my chair pads!

Happy crocheting!

Rachel

P.S. Sue also included a link to a quick video demonstration of forward loops and freestanding limpets: https://youtu.be/2FIQi45fwko. Super handy for getting the hang of these techniques!

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