Shallow Single Tapestry Crochet

Ariana Thompson taught herself how to crochet more than fifteen years ago from the 1993 Harmony Guide To Crocheting: Techniques and Stitches by Debra Mountford. That’s where she discovered the shallow single crochet stitch. Fortunately, Ariana decided to experiment with this stitch while doing tapestry crochet.

Ariana’s “shallow single” tapestry crochet swatches with designs from Alice Starmore, Tone Takle, and Lise Kolstad. Most are superwash wool DK worked with a 4mm hook. The two on the top right are cotton, and the small red one in the middle with two isolated motifs were crocheted with Kroy sock yarn.

According to Ariana, “The finished project does not behave like knitting – structurally it’s still single crochet, but the look is nice. It is actually a little firmer than regular single crochet, as you are working into the stitch below a little . . . deeper, I guess you could say. I think that’s why they call it ‘shallow crochet’, because you don’t actually gain as much height with each round as you would with a round of regular single crochet. It has a firmness that’s great for jackets, purses, pillows – with a finer yarn, like sportweight or sockweight you get a fabric than behaves like . . . maybe light denim. Shallow stitch has a significant bias and has to be wet-blocked to be straight, so I like to use a fibre that can be blocked – a wool or a cotton rather than acrylic.”

“I often do tapestry crochet using a ‘shallow single crochet’ usually abbreviated in patterns as ssc. Instead of working your single crochet into the top two loops of the stitch below, put your hook in the centre of the stitch below, between the two uprights. You have to work this stitch in one direction only so you always have the right side facing. The result is the perfectly stacked little “V” shapes of knitting.”

After Ariana shared her swatches with the Ravelry Tapestry Crochet Group, I began to experiment, too. Several attempts were required to successfully produce the red and white sample below – done with a large hook, loose tension, and stretchy yarn.

Both pieces were crocheted following the same instructions, but the blue one was tapestry crocheted with size 3 cotton thread and the pink one was “shallow single” tapestry crocheted with a larger hook and stretchy worsted wool.

The motifs on my sample didn’t slant – maybe because the hook was stuck under the carried yarn of the stitch below.

The back of the blue tapestry crocheted piece looks quite different from the back of the red shallow single tapestry crocheted piece.

I’m not only intrigued by the look of the front and back – but also by the incredible thickness of the fabric! To me, it looks like shallow single tapestry crochet has great potential!

14 Responses to “Shallow Single Tapestry Crochet”

  1. judy says:

    WOW! I love this!

  2. Bob Cook says:

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ann Blachly says:

    Hi Carol,
    I was at Amazon and discovered a book (out of print) but available used titled Hard Crochet by Matt Dittrick.

    Apparently you both need to get your books published again. Fantastic stuff.

    All the best,

  4. Kathryn says:

    Hi Carol,

    That looks like Knit Stitch in Tunisian Crochet, done without the back and forth! How cool!


  5. TacoMagic says:

    Wow, as Kathryn says, that looks a lot like doing tapestry with Tunisian Knit, but without the constant thread changes that make Tunisian tapestry rather… cumbersome to do.

  6. Unlike Tunisian, only one stitch is worked at a time. It takes a lot of practice to get used to this technique, though!

  7. HERMINDA says:

    ……..adoro crochet ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡tapestry es una tecnica hermosa saludos desde ………….chile

  8. MANYA says:

    if I am to work only on one side, the right side, then I would have lots of ends to work in. Is there a way to get around that? Or do I have to crochet backwardds on every second row?

  9. I encase the carried colors in the single crochet stitches, so I have no ends. I crochet backwards on every other row when I crochet back and forth to eliminate the ridge formed when it’s crocheted normally back and forth.

  10. MANYA says:

    I tried to figure out and work this stitch to no avail. I have lots of resistence if I’m doing it right. So I don’t think it’s possible. It seems like I’m working over the stitch in the row below, the last row worked. I don’t remember what it’s called but I sometimes do a stitch where I go into part of the present stitch and part into the stitch of the previous row and I get a stiffer material, with less height than a regular single crochet. Do you have a tutorial with pictures of this stitch. I think that’s probably what’s needed if I’m to succeed here.

  11. Marlene Waldbauer says:

    this is a beautiful stitch I will have to give it a try thank you for sharing

  12. Patricia Seaton says:

    This is another technique I feel I must try! Thanks for the research on it and article.

  13. Holly Modarelli Earley says:

    Any updates with anyone with new tutorials and blogs found with more instructions?

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