Adding details, stripes, or texture to finished crochet work can be done by working common stitches right on top of the finished stitches. Surface crochet is a great way to put that extra pop on your fiber art.
You just finished a lovely pillow cover for your living room. It is a lovely stitch — simple, fast — uh oh…and a little boring?
But it’s done now, and the last thing you want to do is start over or rip out rows to add in color changes. And embroidering on details is great, but it isn’t crochet, and let’s face it, that’s the artform we are hooked on (pun totally intended).
Enter surface crochet! You can go back on your finished work and crochet into the completed stitches to add letters, lines or texture to your project after it is already done.
This technique is especially useful for amigurumi because it allows you to make major shapes, like heads, and add the 3D features later, like nostrils, eyebrows, and accent colors.
But you are not limited to just one style of surface crochet. Depending on the look you are going for, you can use a different surface crochet stitch to achieve the look you desire.
Surface Crochet Video Tutorial
The video tutorial shows all three methods of working in surface crochet.
Surface Single Crochet (surface sc) — Starts at 00:01:10
Surface Slip Stitch (surface sl st) — Starts at 00:04:08
Surface Stitch (surface st) — Starts at 00:07:10
Surface Single Crochet
Sometimes abbreviated ssc or surface-sc, the surface single crochet adds a raised row of stitches on top of the work. These are great for amigurumi depth features (I use it a lot to outline nostrils or lips).
It will be one stitch tall on top of the work, so keep that in mind when you are adding this stitch. It WILL add a layer to the piece.
The surface sc is worked with both the yarn and the hook on the right side of the work, so you can use it on amigurumi, when you don’t have access to the back of the work because the piece is sewn shut.
Surface Slip Stitch
Sometimes abbreviated ssl st or surface-sl st, the surface slip stitch is a flatter way to add lines to the top of the work.
This is a great stitch for when you want to draw on your work, but not really leave any texture behind.
The surface sl st is great for adding mouth lines or any accent stripes/lines. This stitch is also worked with both the yarn and hook on the right side of the work, so it is also useful for amigurumi, when you can’t reach the back of the work.
This can replace the surface slip stitch if you are working on a flat piece on which you can reach the back and front of the work, such as a blanket or garment. This is my favorite way to do surface crochet, though it is limited.
For this stitch, the yarn is held on the back of the work and the hook held on the front, pulling one loop at a time through the work. As a result, it leaves very, very little texture on the work.
The surface stitch is great for adding letters or words to a blanket and creating plaid effects. When you have access to the back of the work, this stitch will have a more finished look than the surface slip stitch.
What is your favorite surface crochet stitch? What projects do you love to do with surface crochet? Share a picture of a project you have done with surface crochet in the comments below or on the Facebook group!
Kati is the designer behind Hooked by Kati. With thousands of patterns sold around the world, Kati prides herself in creating innovative, easy-to-follow amigurumi patterns. She has designed for several publications, including Crochet!, Crochet World, Simply Crochet, and I Like Crochet. Kati finds her inspiration in science fiction, video games, and numerous visits to the zoo — all passions she shares with her husband and two boys.