© 2014 Susan Lowman (http://www.TheCrochetArchitect.com)
Background (How I learned to do wiggly crochet)
Wiggly Crochet is a fascinating and different type of crochet that is 3-dimensional! I was first introduced to wiggly crochet about 12 years ago, when a friend asked me to make a new potholder for her. The one she had was well used and loved. Her grandmother had made it and it had special meaning to her. But it had seen its better days and was falling apart, so it was time for a new one! I’d never seen wiggly crochet before and I thought it was very interesting! After figuring out the stitches used in the old potholder and how they related to each other, I made a new potholder for her with concentric squares, just like her original potholder. Here’s a photo of that style of wiggly crochet potholder for you to see:
I enjoyed making that potholder, but then I began to wonder if I could design some wiggly crochet potholders with designs on them instead of concentric squares! And so began my fascination with wiggly crochet! From that first potholder came many wiggly crochet designs in the following years, from hot pads and coasters to rugs and dishcloths!
If you’re fascinated by wiggly crochet and you’d like to get some patterns for this crochet technique, here are photos of my 3 wiggly crochet leaflets, with hot pads, coasters, rugs and dishcloths:
The publisher of the “Hot Stuff for the Holidays” leaflet went out of business, so I got the copyright back to those hot pad & coaster designs. I decided to self-publish them on my website last year so others could enjoy them! They’re each available separately or as a set of 6 (that’s actually 12 patterns, since each set has a hot pad and coaster pattern in it).
My wiggly crochet rugs book is available as a PDF download here.
As of this blog post, my wiggly crochet dishcloths book is still available at Annie’s here (it’s marked down and is available in print, as well as a PDF download).
To see more wiggly crochet patterns that I’ve designed for various crochet magazines over the last 12 years, visit my Ravelry page here.
An Overview on Wiggly Crochet
Now that you know how I got started in designing wiggly crochet projects, let me explain how to actually DO wiggly crochet!
There are 2 steps to making wiggly crochet projects. Step 1 is making the foundation mesh, which forms the back of the project. Step 2 is adding the wiggly stitches to the foundation mesh. The wiggly stitches form the front of the project.
In most crochet techniques, the stitches are all worked as a flat piece. But in wiggly crochet, the wiggly stitches are sticking up perpendicularly from the foundation mesh, making it 3-D! You could say that the top of the wiggly stiches are sticking up in air, while the bottom of the wiggly stitches are anchored to the foundation mesh.
What kind of projects can you make in wiggly crochet?
The projects can be small (such as hot pads and coasters), medium (such as dishcloths) or large (such as rugs). Wiggly crochet hot pads and coasters are great because they have a nice thickness to them, helping to keep the warmth of a hot dish or the condensation from a cold drink glass away from a counter or table underneath the wiggly crochet piece. Wiggly crochet dishcloths are great because they’re very flexible. And wiggly crochet rugs are great because they’re “cushiony” under your feet! Keep in mind that acrylic yarn melts with heat, so always use cotton yarn for projects such as hot pads.
What kind of materials do you need to make wiggly crochet projects?
They can be made with crochet thread or yarn (acrylic or wool, it’s your choice), depending on the type of project and the desired size. Wiggly hot pads, coasters and dishcloths are made with cotton crochet thread, while wiggly rugs are made with acrylic or wool yarn.
Of course, you’ll need a crochet hook (or 2)! Whenever I make a wiggly crochet hot pad, coaster or rug, I either use a smaller hook or a thinner yarn to make the foundation mesh. I’ve found that if I use the same size hook and the same thickness of yarn, the holes between the wiggly stitches don’t look as nice. However, I do use the same size hook and yarn to make wiggly dishcloths because I want to have more space between the wiggly stitches for more flexible dishcloths.
When I make a wiggly crochet project with crochet thread, such as a hot pad or coaster, I use size 10 cotton crochet thread with a size 10 (1.30mm) steel crochet hook for the foundation mesh and a size 7 (1.65mm) steel crochet hook for the wiggly stitches.
When I make wiggly crochet rugs, I use super fine or fine weight yarn (#1 or #2) with a size E/4/3.5mm crochet hook for making the foundation mesh. I use either worsted weight yarn (#4) with a size H/8/5mm crochet hook or bulky weight yarn (#5) with a size I/9/5.5mm crochet hook for the wiggly stitches.
Okay, so now you know a little bit about the projects and the materials to use. Let’s move on and discuss how to actually make wiggly crochet projects next.
Each wiggly crochet pattern will include a chart which is made up of a graph representing the lines of the foundation mesh (formed by chains and double crochet stitches) and colored wiggly lines on top of the graph for the placement of the wiggly crochet stitches on the foundation mesh. I try to design my wiggly crochet projects with an odd number of mesh and rows so the wiggly stitches will cover all 4 corners of the foundation mesh. But that doesn’t always work. My July 4th Flag hot pad and coaster are an exception to this rule because I needed to have an even number of rows for the stripes on the flags in that design.
Here’s a photo of a typical foundation mesh made for a wiggly crochet project:
The written pattern will give you instructions for making the foundation mesh with only chains and double crochets, much like open mesh in Filet Crochet. If your double crochet (dc) stitches are short, like mine, you can substitute extended double crochet stitches (edc) for the double crochet stitches to make the mesh in your foundation mesh more square! If you’ve never made an extended double crochet stitch before, it’s worked like this:
Edc (extended double crochet): Yo, insert hook in specified st or sp and draw up a lp, yo and draw through one lp on hook, [yo and draw through 2 lps on hook] twice.
The extended double crochet stitch is slightly taller than the double crochet stitch, making it perfect to use in Filet Crochet and the foundation mesh in Wiggly Crochet! The pattern will also give you the finished size of the foundation mesh, which will often be smaller than the finished project because the foundation mesh usually stretches when the wiggly stitches are added.
Wiggly Crochet Charts
The chart will have a dot on each of the different colors of wiggly lines to signify where to start making the wiggly stitches and an arrow showing which way to work the wiggly stitches (if you’re left-handed, you may want to work in the opposite direction as the arrow instead). Now realistically, you don’t always have to start at the dot on the chart and follow the direction of the arrow. You can start anywhere on the wiggly line that you want and work in the opposite direction as the arrow, if you’re so inclined (or are left-handed). But isn’t it nice to have most of the thinking and planning done for you already in the pattern?
You should always follow the wiggly line on the chart, though. In some projects, there is a large area of foundation mesh to work the wiggly stitches, like in the background areas of the design. The wiggly stitches should be worked so they will end right back where they started, being worked in one continuous wiggle and joined to the beginning of the wiggly stitches of the same color. If you don’t follow the wiggly lines on the chart, you run the risk of working your wiggly stitches into a corner, having to stop there and start again somewhere else! Now that wouldn’t be fun! So if you don’t want to take the chance of working the wiggles into a corner, please follow the dot, arrow and lines on the wiggly chart!
1. You can add a stitch marker or safety pin to the top edge of the foundation mesh if you are having trouble telling what part of the foundation mesh is the top of the project. This way, you will be able to tell where to start your next section of wiggly stitches more easily!
2. Turn your foundation mesh over periodically to check that you haven’t skipped any chain spaces or double crochet posts while working your wiggly stitches (they’re easier to see from the back of the piece).
The wiggly lines will be worked into the chain spaces and around the post of the double crochet stitches. They will stick up from the flat foundation mesh, giving the project that 3-D effect! Depending on the pattern, there will be 2, 3 or 4 wiggly stitches (typically double crochet, but not always) worked in each of these sections of foundation mesh.
Whenever you start working around a different double crochet post or chain space, you’ll turn your foundation mesh 90 degrees to the left or right and work the new stitches in that section from right to left (if right-handed) or from left to right (if left-handed). The wiggly stitches in the previous section should always be oriented to the right of where you’re working (if right-handed) or to the left of where you’re working (if left-handed). And you’ll always insert your hook from the bottom to the top of the chain space or double crochet post.
Here’s a photo of the outer edge of wiggly stitches added to a foundation mesh, looking at it from the top of the piece:
Notice how the wiggly stitches are worked in one continuous wiggly line around the outer edge of the foundation mesh and the end of the blue wiggly line is joined to the beginning of the blue wiggly line? In fact, it’s hard to see where the beginning and ending actually are in these blue wiggly stitches!
Here’s a photo of that same piece, viewed from the side:
Can you see that the bottom of the wiggly stitches are worked in the chain spaces or around the posts of the double crochet stitches in the foundation mesh and the top of the wiggly stitches is sticking up, making it 3-D? Imagine how cushiony this will be when all the wiggly stitches are added to the foundation mesh on this project!
On most (but not all) wiggly crochet projects, every chain space and double crochet post will be covered on the foundation mesh except for every other chain space or double crochet post around the outer edges of the foundation mesh. I purposely left some of the foundation mesh unworked on my wiggly crochet dishcloths so they’d be more flexible! But on my wiggly crochet hot pads, coasters and rugs, I covered all of the chain spaces and double crochet posts in the center of the projects (except for every other one around the edges).
To try a wiggly crochet pattern for free, download my wiggly crochet hot pad and coaster pattern on the Red Heart website here. And if you fall in love with wiggly crochet, like me, I have some wiggly crochet patterns available for sale here on my website (and on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy, too).
I hope you’ll give Wiggly Crochet a try. It’s a fun crochet technique with spectacular results!