Thursday, June 3, 2010

houndstooth stitch

The Houndstooth stitch is quite a challenge so I got permission to do a little tutorial for those who need further instruction. Thank you to Margaret and her publishers. They are not affiliated with me in any way, nor are they held responsible for any errors in my tutorial. All my mistakes are mine. :-)

Remember this stitch is on p. 117 in the book Creative Publishing International The Complete Photo Guide To Crochet . I think the photo in the book may be upside down. I could be wrong. What do you think?

I am using American terminology as always.

First, note that in the book the first row of all patterns is listed as Foundation Row. This makes sense even though it is not how you will see most patterns written. Your foundation row is usually different from the rest of your rows, even if it is the first row worked in the pattern. Instead of going into specific stitches, you're going into chains. Yes, a chain is a stitch, but you know what I mean. *grin* So it does make perfect sense to call this a foundation row and then start your regular numbered rows. I may consider doing this in my own future patterns.

I use abbreviations in some places for the stitches.
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
tr = triple or treble crochet
ch = chain

If there is a dash with the abbreviation ch that refers to a previously created chain, such as ch-4 would be a chain of 4 previously made.

So... for this pattern I will start with a chain of 20. The multiple given is 4. To figure this you take the number 4 and multiple it by whatever number you choose. THAT product, or result, is your foundation chain. 4 x 5 = 20. This gives a width of just over 4" with an H hook and worsted weight yarns. There are four hills or teeth made if you use this foundation chain. It did come out rather on the small side, so if you are working to get a particular size, keep that in mind and perhaps go with a longer foundation chain.

The next step if to work the foundation row. You will start by making a single crochet in the 2nd chain from your hook. In other words, you don't count the loop ON your hook, nor the one right next to your hook. You go into the NEXT one.

There are different ways to work into the foundation chain. I chose to go into the back loop in the purple sample. I found the sticky out bump less prominent when using the back loop method.

After the sc, you will make a half double crochet in the next chain, then a double crochet in the next chain. Here is the photo.

Now skip 3 chains and work a single crochet in the fourth chain.

Good. Now chain 4. This is going to be your pattern for the row.

Work into the ch-4 just as you did before. A single crochet in second chain from hook, then hdc, then dc. Remember that these are going into that ch-4, NOT into your foundation chain.

Skip the next three chains on your foundation chain, then single crochet into the fourth chain. Chain 4 again. You see the pattern now?

Keep on doing this along the foundation chain row as the pattern instructs. You will make two more "hills" or "teeth" for a total of four.

Your last section for this first row will be to skip three chains and work a single crochet into the last chain. However, don't complete the single crochet. Work to two loops on hook and then finish the single crochet with your second color. DO NOT cut your first color. You'll just carry it up.

In my case the second color is peach though I don't know if you can tell in the photos. I chose peach because my camera doesn't usually recognize purple. It shows it as blue. So peach and blue would look great. LOL Joke's on me though the peach and purple don't look too bad. heh

Chain 4 with your new color and turn. If you find that chaining 4 makes it too high for your tension, you can chain 3 here, but you must chain 4 when making the hills because you need all four chains there.

Then you will work a dc into the last dc you made in the formation of your hill. It is sort of on its side there.

Then a hdc into the hdc previously made.

And a single crochet into the single crochet.

Now work a triple crochet, also called treble crochet, into the sc you made on the previous row. (This is the sc you made after you skipped three chains on the foundation row.)You need this long stitch because you're at the tippy top of your hill.

Note: There was a bit of a gap where the triple crochet goes into the sc. If this distresses you, you can go into the base of the hill instead - that loop before the sc loop. It will bring the triple crochet closer and the gap will be closed as you work your dc into the side of the hill. That is what I did here. In the alternate version (the green and white pictured below) I went into the sc.

Then you continue as you did before, following the pattern. Your next stitch will be dc into the dc and so on, finishing with sc into sc. That leaves a tiny bump on the end. If you go into that bump, rather than in the stitch, it gives a cleaner edge, though you didn't hear me say that. *wink* Of course, I didn't realize this until I'd done several rows. Be careful not to create an additional stitch there, however. You are just placing your last stitch in a slightly different place. In other words, you're not making two sc. You're only going to make the one, even if you choose to place it in the sticky out bump.

Moving on, with the SAME color, chain 4.

Now you're returning to making hills as you did above in the foundation row. Single crochet in second chain from hook - you are working in that ch-4, NOT your row - hdc in next, dc in next. I found that going into the back hump (the middle loop of your chain) worked better for me and didn't leave that tiny loop on the end of the chain.

Then you will skip your first three stitches of the row. That includes the one below your turning chain. You will work your single crochet into the fourth stitch, which is the top of your triple crochet. Your last single crochet of the row will go into the top of your turning chain.

Do not finish that last single crochet. You will bring up the first color that you dropped earlier. Just lay the strand alongside the end of the row, don't pull it up too tightly, nor leave too loose a gap. This takes a bit of practice with this particular pattern stitch. Just pay attention to what you're doing and make sure it is not bunching up there. I'm not sure myself if I was entirely successful. If you prefer to cut the strand and sew it in later, you can do that, of course.

Do not cut your second color. You'll carry that one up as well.

With your first color, chain 4. That counts as your triple crochet in case you were wondering why you're doing that. heh Then you will repeat the pattern of dc into the dc, hdc into hdc, sc into sc. Then work your triple into the sc from previous row. Go along the row in this manner until the end, where your last stitch will be sc into sc.

You will continue with the original color for the next row, making new hills (or teeth, if you prefer). Then switch again to your second color.

You may have noticed, you always chain 4 at the beginning of the row. Then  you will either be working into valleys or making new hills. You will work two rows of each color.

Here is my other sample. Note the uneven edges are more prominent on this one. I did not go into my bumps on this one though I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

My work does not look as nice as Margaret's (or whoever did the samples)! The end of the rows are not perfectly straight. I don't know if this is because I'm doing something wrong or just the nature of the pattern. Perhaps it is my tension or the placement on that last stitch. If it was on the side with the carry yarn I could blame it on that, but it's the opposite side. The carry along side seems fine. It is more noticeable on the green and yellow piece than on the purple and peach, which leads me to believe it is me, not the pattern.

A square or scarf made with this stitch would, in my opinion, need an edging worked around. Mine does, anyway. Otherwise you will have the carry loop showing on the outer edges. Also, as already noted, the ends are not perfectly straight on mine, so I particularly need that edging.

Here is what I did with mine. I added one round of (sc, ch 2) around and then did dc in each chain space. I made sure there was the same number of stitches on each side. This is important if you are assembling the squares together. This one came out about 5 1/2" square. Note that the first row has that gap of the foundation chain. I considered working my edging to close that gap. If I was going to use this square in something, I probably would do that.

I hope this is helpful to someone somewhere. :-) I had fun working with this stitch. It was challenging. I don't think I'll make a scarf with it. I ran out of the peach so I don't have enough to do much of anything with it. I may make another one with different yarns and play with it a bit.

Kudos to Margaret for a very challenging, pretty pattern.

Now to choose another pattern to try. :-) Back in a few...

Happy crocheting!


  1. Thanks for all the tutorials and the great, I mean GREAT patterns and website and everything you share with us.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Tacy. I enjoy sharing what little I know.

  3. I think it's the nature of the stitch. It's one that should either be blocked or bordered.