There’s more than one way to picot

A post to the board from August 2005 asked “What stitch do you hate the most?” Many replied that the picot stitch is their nemesis. Thus I was inspired to feature this stitch for the month. It’s not my intention to win anyone over to this stitch, but perhaps to make it less daunting. There are two types of picot stitch that I am aware of:

  • small picot: slip stitch picot (harder)
  • large picot: sc, chain 3 [or 4], slip stich in sc (easier)

So far it may seem like this is getting more complicated; especially when I mentioned that some of the frustration to the picot may be caused by how you hold your hook!

Holding the Hook and Another Purpose for Your Middle Finger

There are two ways to hold a crochet hook. One is referred to as the underhand method; it looks like gripping a pencil. Hold the hook this way allows for use of the middle finger as an anchor of the stitch loops. This style of hook holding is essential to thread work. The second grip is the overhand method and is often used by yarn crocheters as it doesn’t involve as much wrist movement; however, it limits the use of the middle finger for anchoring loops on the hook shaft. Also, the middle finger and thumb of your yarn/thread holding hand can be used to hold your work in place.

Let’s Get the Hard Picot Over and Done With, Shall We?

Slip stitches are one thing when you are working across a row of stitches, but suddenly when a pattern calls for “chain 3, sl st in 3rd chain from hook” and all hell breaks loose, especially if you are working with thread! If you make the chain loops to loopy, the picot comes out a tangled bunch. Too tight and you can’t slip stitch! The trick is to find that magic tension that will allow for an easy pull through of the stitch, and also, use those other fingers to help with the prestidigitation of sliding the hook through without dropping the top chain loop!

Often slip stitch picots are done in a series where you are told to chain 3, slip stitch in 3rd chain from hook, and repeat ad nauseum until you get a line of beautiful picots like those featured in the photo pictured above.

I Say To-may-to, You Say To-mah-to: Two Versions of the Large Picot

For years when I would read a pattern that said to “sc, chain 3, sl st in same sc, sc in next stitch” I had no idea what “sl st in same sc” really meant, so I’d just slip stitch in the 3rd chain from the hook and call it even. But then one fateful day I discovered what this means, and the shroud of mystery shall now be lifted! All that need be done is slip stitch in the top of the single crochet! 🙂

Now hold on a second! Some sources say that what I was originally doing, slip stitching in the 3rd chain from the hook and not into the top of the single crochet is the way to make a picot. Many pattern book stitch guides as well as online resources will show to slip stitch in the 3rd chain from the hook—so why do it the other way? My thoughts are that by slip stitching in the top of the single crochet it makes for a nicer picot, plus most importantly: I think it is easier to slip stitch in the top versus making the slip stitch in the 3rd chain.

Where’s the top of the single crochet? The pink arrows in the picture point to the stitch bars that are known as the top. This image is clickable and will display a larger image for enlarged detail. Insert the hook from top to left and then slip stitch, and violá! picot is made!

In case you can’t get enough about how to do picots, I have scoured the Internet to find additional resources in which you can further your quest for picot perfection:

Next month I’ll explore either the Lover’s Knot/Solomon’s Knot stitch or the Bullion stitch—maybe even both because I have a wicked sense of humor and can easily amuse myself! 😉