The single crochet is one of the basic crochet stitches that everyone is very familiar with. You can use it in rows or rounds and it creates a dense crochet fabric with hardly any gaps or holes. Although the sc is a simple stitch, don't be fooled into thinking its not sophisticated. Making some very small changes in the way you do an sc can result in surprising results
In this tutorial, we're going to look at the extended single crochet, a less dense stitch with a looser drape.
About the extended single crochet
Like its name suggests, this is a single crochet stitch that has something extra to make it a bit taller. The first photo above demonstrates this well. I made a wide swatch using a 100% cotton aran weight yarn and a 6 mm hook to produce a fairly open fabric to show exactly what the stitches look like. The single crochet (lower part) shows this tight, closely woven format.
The top half contains only extended single crochet stitches and you can see that its completely different. The crochet fabric has more gaps, the stitches have extra texture and (although you can't actually see this) it has more drape. This is very useful when making garments.
The stitch looks somewhat similar to a half double crochet, but it is slightly different. The main difference is that when making a HDC, you yarn over before inserting your hook to make the stitch; for an ESC, you don't yarn over.
Various abbreviations are used for this stitch, but by far the most common in U.S. patterns is the ESC.
A note about patterns written in U.K. terms
One of the few annoying things about crochet is the different terminologies used by English speaking countries. In the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and some other countries, crocheters use different names for all the crochet stitches. In U.K. terminology the sc is called a double crochet (dc). Confusing or what? The extended sc may be called the chain double crochet in patterns using U.K. terms.
Step-by-step tutorial for the extended single crochet
Making the extended single crochet stitch is very easy. If you already know the single crochet, you'll pick up this stitch in just a few minutes.
Start with a small swatch, about 10-15 chains. For ESC, you need a turning chain of one at the end of each row, so I made a swatch with 13 chains, which made the sample 12 stitches wide. I've worked a few rows to start with so that you can see more easily.
Insert your hook into the next stitch.
Yarn over and pull up a loop. You will have two loops on your hook just as you do when making a standard sc.
Yarn over and pull through only the first loop on the hook. You will still have two loops on your hook.
Step 5: Yarn over and pull through both loops remaining on the hook. Extended single crochet complete!
The crochet fabric that you will produce with this stitch is fully reversible. The comparison below shows the front of the fabric on left and the back of the fabric on the right.
Comparing the standard sc with the extended sc
When I finished my ESC swatch, I made a swatch of sc in the same yarn (a quality acrylic DK weight) with the same hook (Size E, or 3.5mm). Each has the same number of stitches and rows.
I expected the height of the stitches to be different, but I was surprised to see that the ESC sample was taller AND wider:
Using the extended SC
The extended sc is easy to do and it gives a better drape than standard sc, so its very useful in crochet garment making. ESC in the body of a cardigan or sweater gives a beautiful drape without being too bulky or having too many holes.
Could the single crochet be more versatile?
After learning more about the ESC, I was excited to try it out. As a litte experiment, I decided to use it in some fingerless mittens I'd been working on.
These mitten are made entirely using variations on the single crochet (the rib in the cuffs is back loop only sc, two of the stripes use sc waistcoat stitch and the middle stripe uses extended sc). The top is finished with crab stitch — a variant of sc worked from right to left.
All the variations of the sc work perfectly in these mittens. The sc made in the back loops only provides a stretchy, comfortable cuff; the dense waistcoat stitch feels warm and snug and the extended sc provides that all-important flexibility around the thumb and knuckles. And the crab stitch gives a nice, unfussy finish.
If you want to try out extended single crochet and the other forms of the sc, this is a perfect project and the pattern is available right here on Bluprint!
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