In the Finished Projects board, I'd posted some things I'd made while experimenting with fair isle crochet. Since people showed interest, I thought I'd do an image tutorial.
A few things to note: I basically taught myself how to crochet. I know I hold everything in the wrong way. Please look past this. I'm also not a native English speaker, so excuse some confusion in terminology. Lastly, I expect you'll know some basics in crochet before you start experimenting with this yourself -- although you needn't know too much, as I know next to nothing and managed this, too.
Using images and some explanation with them, I'll try to show you the basics of the fair isle crochet technique I use.
1. What you'll need (of course):
For this example, I use a 4mm hook (US G/6) and an acrylic yarn (much like Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice, only cheaper). I wouldn't recommend using anything chunkier, or you'll risk your pattern becoming wonky and unclear.
2. Chain a number of stitches, and make them a loop (connect with a slip stitch). When you have a pattern you work with, you need to count the amount of stitches for a "neat repeat". I just stitched away to use a part of the "loop" to show how it works. Never mind me.
3. This is the stitch we'll be working with; my mum said (with considerable incredulity) that she'd never seen anything like it, so I'll teach you how to do it first.
4. Yarn over;
5. Stick your crochet hook through the next stitch in the chain and yarn over; then pull through.
6. Now you have three loops on your hook, like so:
7. Now yarn over again and pull the yarn through all three loops at once. (If anyone knows if this has a name, please let me know. If not, what shall we call it?)
8. Repeat from top. You get something like this; note what people have said looks like a knit structure.
9. When you've come all the way round, connect the last stitch with the first using a slip stitch; then chain two.
9a. [What it looks like before chaining two]
9b. [Plus two chained]
10. [Image says it all ]
11. The pattern I'm using is just about the easiest zig-zag imaginable. Basically, the first row will just be c1-c2-c1-c2-c1-c2 and the second c2-c1-c1-c2-c1 etc., with in this example c1=green and c2=pink.
12. So the first stitch on this row is worked like normal, with the exception that we'll start adding c2;
13. Finished stitch should look like this, with c2 being the loop on your hook:
14. Now the hardest part has come; we need to weave in c1, as our current stitch is c2, and the yarn we're not using gets "carried".
15. You should now have three loops in c2, with c1 "stuck" behind them on the wrong side of your project;
16. Now yarn over c1, and pull it through your three c2 loops;
17. Again, the stitch (as above, yarn over, hook through excisting stitch --two loops --, yarn over, pull through -- three loops --) and again the weaving in of yarn (this time c2);
18. Three loops of c1 on your hook, in this patterns, means c2 gets pulled through;
19. This is what it should look like after a few stitches; again, note the v-shapes;
20. And the back;
Okay, so I used c1 the rest of the way, carrying c2, because I wanted to quickly be able to show you the next step. So that's how we get through this stage so super fast.
21. When this row is finished, we again connect the last stitch with the first, but in this pattern, the first stitch on the next row is c2, so:
22. Again, what the back looks like (make sure you weave in well enough, or you get messy, snaggable loops);
23. Stitch one of row two;
24. Again changing colour on the final loop;
25. ...and again...
26. And so it repeats, until you've come round again;
27. This pattern called for another row in c1 only, and on top of that I've added another row in c2, just to show you could start the whole process again, but using c2 as the main colour and carrying c1 along (reversing the colours in the pattern).
28. Or you could do whatever you like and experiment with more complex patterns;
Once you've mastered the basics, the possibilities are legion. Pleasing things to make using this technique are wrist warmes, mobile phone cozies, hats, etc. You could try combining larger, more complex patterns with basic ones like I used above. Look for fair isle or nordic pattern charts and you can do anything you like (as long as you can count).
I'd love to know if this was helpful, or if anything is still unclear. But most of all, I'd love to see what you're all going to make now!