Cluster stitches are wonderful for adding texture to a project. Clusters can be made in different ways, so it’s more of a technique than a specific stitch. The basic concept of a cluster stitch is to work several stitches part of the way through, and then finish them all off at once. This is most commonly done with dc, but can be done with other stitches too. Let’s look at a 4-dc cluster, and at some of the ways it can be done differently.
4-Dc Cluster – Photo Tutorial:
(scroll down for video tutorial)
We’re going to make 4 dc stitches halfway through, and then finish them off together. Start with yarn over (yo), insert hook in specified st, and pull up a loop – just like you would to start a dc stitch.
Now yo and pull through the first 2 loops on your hook – again just like you would to make a dc. But then we’re going to stop, and not finish the dc stitch. You should have 2 loops remaining on your hook.
Yo and pull through the first 2 loops. Now you can see the beginnings of 2 dc stitches, and you have 3 loops on the hook. You will always have one more loop than you do dc stitches, because that’s the loop you started with.
I like to add a slip stitch to the end of my clusters. I feel it closes them off nicely and also gives me a convenient place to work into when I’m working the next row. Not all designers/patterns do this though, so be sure to pay attention to the instructions in your pattern.
4-Dc Cluster – Video Tutorial:
Notes and Modifications:
Cluster stitches are almost always worked on the wrong side of the fabric – the cluster tends to puff out more to opposite side. However, you can work them on either side, you may just need to push them out the way you want them after finishing the next row.
I chose to show you a 4-dc cluster because I’m using that in a pattern that’s coming out soon. Typically, I’ve seen dc clusters with 3, 4, or 5 dc, though you can make them with any number of stitches. The more stitches you have, the puffier the cluster will be.
Cluster stitches can easily be made with taller stitches as well. Depending on how you want them to look, you can finish the stitches all the way up to the last step, or stop somewhat earlier. The more you finish each stitch independently, the taller, looser, and bigger your cluster will look. The less you finish each stitch independently, the tighter, denser, and more like a puff stitch your cluster will look. Here are two different double-treble clusters. On the left, each stitch was worked up to the last loop. On the right, only the first step of each stitch was done, leaving three loops on the hook for each stitch.
Speaking of puff stitches – a puff stitch is basically just a half double crochet cluster! You draw up all the loops, and then pull through them all at once.
As you can see, there are lots of options. Pay attention to your pattern’s instructions, as they should specify exactly how the cluster is made. If you’re doing your own thing, experiment and see what you like!