Have you ever tried the thistle stitch? Uncovered it recently as one of the many amazing stitches in the book ‘200 Crochet Stitches’ by Sarah Hazell. As a self-taught crocheter who has mainly used YouTube for learning new stitches and techniques, I was so pleasantly surprised to find out about so many more stitches that I have yet to try. The book is written in UK terminology and as I am comfortable using both UK and US terms, I have loved going through this book! So highly recommend it, especially if you follow or are comfortable with using UK terminology. But I digress!
In this post, I will show you a slightly adapted thistle stitch written in US terminology. I have included both written instructions with photos and a video tutorial which also shows you how to change colours to give your stitch the colours of a proper thistle flower! Check out my separate blog post here to see how I used it to make a pretty headband. It is worked in the flat, but the stitch can be worked also in the round, like I have done for my Thistle Flower Beanie pattern, available on my Etsy store (coming soon).
I used a 3.5 mm hook and Paintbox acrylic DK yarn in the colours Seafoam Blue (131), Slate Green (126) and Dusty Lilac (146).
How to make the thistle stitch
The pattern repeat is 14 chains (CH). You will then add another 12 CH. Using the yarn and hook mentioned in this post should give you a piece that is approximately 4.5inches (11cm) wide between two thistle stitches.
Directly below a video tutorial (which explains the colour changes) and further below the detailed written instructions:
Row 1: Single crochet (SC) in the second chain from hook. SC in the next 4 chains. In the 6th chain work the following: *1 SC, CH 8, 1 SC, CH 10, 1 SC CH 8, 1 SC. This will make your thistle stem and leaves. For ease of reference, let’s call this the thistle stitch. So each time that I indicate that you should make the thistle stich, you will repeat this sequence of stitches and chains. Place 1 SC in each of the next 13 CH. Make another thistle stitch in the next CH. Repeat from * until you have 6 CH left. Make a thistle stitch and SC in the last 5 CH. CH 1 and turn your piece.
Row 2: SC across the first 5 stitches. You will now have arrived at your first thistle stitch. In the previous round you created a number of additional stitches but we want to keep our piece straight so we will skip some and crochet together others so that you maintain your original number of stitches. So for each thistle stitch, you will skip the first SC and CH 8. You will work a decrease in the next two SCs (skipping the CH 10) and skip the last CH 8 and SC. When you are working your decrease, make sure that the loops you create are facing forward and that the yarn is not tangled between them. This will give you a nicer finish. SC across all the other stitches. When you have reached the end of your row, CH 1 and turn. To double check that you have crocheted this row correctly, count your stitches. You should have the same number of stitches as the number of chains you made minus one chain which acted as your turning chain on the first row.
Row 3: SC across all stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 4: SC in each of the first two stitches. *Picking up the first CH 8 from row 1, SC in the next stitch. SC in the next five stitches. Pick up the second CH 8 from row 1 and SC in the next stitch. SC along the next 7 stiches. Repeat from * until you have two stitches left. SC across both, CH 1 and turn.
Row 5: SC across all stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 6: SC in the first 5 stitches. Picking up the CH 10 from row 1, make 6 double crochets (DC) in the next stitch. Let’s call this the flower stitch. SC across the next 13 stitches. Repeat from * until you have 6 stitches left. Make another flower stitch and SC across the remaining 5 stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 7: Make 5 SCs and *CH 1 skipping the flower stitch. Make 6 SCs and then make a thistle stitch in the next stitch. Crochet another 6 SCs. Repeat from * until you have 6 stitches left. CH 1 and skip the flower stitch. SC across the remaining 5 stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 8: SC across all stitches. Work the thistle stitches like you did on row 2. CH 1 and turn.
Row 9: SC across all stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 10: SC in the first 9 stitches. *Pick up the first CH 8 like you did on row 4 and SC in the next 5 stitches. Pick up the other CH 8. SC in the next 7 stitches. Repeat from * until you have 9 stitches on your row. SC across the remaining stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 11: SC across all stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 12: SC in the first 12 stitches. * Make a flower stitch and SC in the next 13 stitches. Repeat from * until you have only 12 stitches left. SC across the remaining stitches. CH 1 and turn.
Row 13: SC in the first 5 stitches. Make a thistle stitch. SC in the next 6 stitches. and CH 1 skipping the flower stitch. Repeat from * until you have 6 stitches left. Make one thistle stitch in the next stitch and SC in the remaining ones. CH 1 and turn. (Row 14 and onwards) Repeat rows 2-13.
To finish your piece, depending on what your project is and what kind of border you might be thinking of adding, I suggest finishing off on a row where you have completed your flower stitches. Then make another 2 rows with SC. For the first row, CH 1 and skip the flower stitch.
The below graph image provides you with a simplified overview of how the stitch works up.
Tip: If you want to work the pattern in the round, add 3 more chains to your work!