>Confessions of a Lifter

>In my recent article “Gauge Crashers” for Interweave Crochet magazine, I admitted to being a “lifter”. It was my intention to offer a sidebar to that article, the better to explore this concept, but the words didn’t make the cut. Let’s fill in the blanks here and now.

On the subject of Lifters vs Riders vs Yankers

I first heard these terms while I was doing a demonstration for the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, a chapter of CGOA in Connecticut. Dee Stanziano is co-founder of the chapter and wearer of many hats; among them are CGOA answer lady and CYCA certified crochet teacher. Oh, and provider of mighty fine wine when the occasion warrants. Dee hovered behind me, watching as I crocheted, and after a few moments she leaned over to whisper in my ear, “Doris, you are a lifter”. Recognizing a teachable moment when presented with it, she went on to explain what this meant. I dutifully pass on to you the eye-opening concept I learned.

Lifter, Rider and Yanker are non-technical, non-judgmental and yet wonderfully descriptive terms for how crocheters manage their stitches. Lifters tend to pull up on loops, raising them off the working row, higher than the diameter of the hook. Riders keep their stitches closer to the working row, with loop allowances about the same as the diameter of the hook. Yankers take back yarn by snugging up certain steps of their stitches.

Lifters’ stitches are taller, creating an elongated row gauge. Riders’ tall stitches may be squatter. Yankers’ rows may be both squatter and narrower, particularly if there are yanked chain spaces. This concept goes a long way to explaining why it’s not your fault if you can’t match the gauge in a pattern since it’s impossible to know which style crocheter set the gauge.

Although lifting, riding and yanking can be correlated to how loosely or tightly you tension the feeder yarn, that’s not always the case. It is possible to crochet in a combination of styles. For example, I don’t wrap my feeder yarn around my fingers; I simply hold it in place with a little pressure, so my tension is extremely relaxed. It is no surprise that I am a lifter of tall stitches, but inexplicably I am also an occasional yanker of chains!


14 thoughts on “>Confessions of a Lifter

  1. >I confess that I, too, am a combination crocheter. My sc’s ride, my dc’s lift, and my ch’s are yanked. This combo is why I’m good at blocking! LOL To pull it all into shape!

  2. >How do you compensate for gauge changes caused by being a lifter? Changing hook sizes never works for me because my number-of-stitches-per-4" row measurement is generally right. It's the number-of-rows-per-4" measurement that can come out wrong because of making stitches too tall. Changing hook sizes may make the vertical measurement more accurate but then the horizontal one is messed up! [sigh]I am working on deliberated changing my crocheting style by easing up on that lifting instinct. I am gradually getting more used to this, although, at least at first it seemed to slow down my work.Is there any other way to fix the lifter's gauge miss-matched gauge problem?Thank you for putting these crochet styles into actual words so we can talk about them.And on a personal note, this has been like honest to goodness therapy for me. I no longer feel like "the Secret Failure."–You know, like everyone else crochets both their measurements the same way…I mean, this is obviously true, right?, or publishers wouldn't keep saying, "Just change your hook size and it will fix everything." [See me turning slightly balder as I pull slightly more hair out (grin).] Now I know that I am not alone and not simply self-taught and somehow mysteriously sloppy or defective.Yippee! [Eureka moment] I'm just a someone who loves to crochet, like so many others, and stuff like this is just part of the game. So from now on I'm going to relax and enjoy it, knowing that I've got so many other happy lifters out there–just like me–and riders and yankers and beautiful combinations of all of these. Just like snowflakes–we're all alike and all unique and wonderful!

  3. >hehe. became aware of the differences recently when checking for some video tutorial and that lady managed her yarn differently than me – so it even has a term!i am a yanker

  4. >LOL! I love it! I believe that I'm a lifter as well. I do on occasion yank and ride. My Mother-in-law has mentioned to me that my crocheting tends to be much looser than hers. This would explain why. :o)

  5. this is awesome! love the descriptions…. and i’m guessing ~ i’m a lifter too!! i relate to “knittenkitten” ^ and her ah-ha moment… i’ve felt the very same sequences of emotions in trying to teach myself crochet and wondering why, WHY, I just cant seem to master some technique or other. Blogs, like this, and Ravelry have been a great source of education and support. 😀 working on my Ling Collar from Crochet Lace Innovations now… and loving it! hope to have it finished soon so i can wear thru the rest of summer and fall….hmmm, maybe over a turtleneck or cowl sweater when it turns cold!!

  6. Magiccrochetfan gave me this link in response to a post I made on Crochetville.com. I, too, had many frustrating moments over the issue of gauge matching until Jean Leinhauser responded to one of my posts and explained the “Golden-loop Theory” to me. (Basically, how high you pull that first loop will help to determine the height of your stitch.) After pondering the idea, I came to the conclusion that holding my hook like a pencil meant that the front end just naturally stayed closer to my work than it does when you hold the hook like a knife; try it for yourself and you will see what I mean.

    So, I started to make a conscious effort to raise that first loop a little more and it has made a world of difference all the way around; reading this article has cleared things up even more, apparently I was a rider and the gauges that I was having trouble with required that I be a lifter. Now, I can’t help but wonder how much the way you hold your hook (and your yarn, I guess, since it’s a package deal) affects which category you will fall into: Are ‘pencil-holders’ more likely to be ‘riders’ and ‘knife-holders’ more likely to be lifters? And what makes a person more inclined to be a ‘yanker’?

    Rather than sticking only to our main category, I suspect we will use all three at some point in our crocheting which makes this information invaluable. I can honestly say it has lowered my stress levels and improved my technique.

  7. Hi Doris, A friend just shared this article with me. I was ecstatic. It explained in real words what I do, and why my hdc are just over 1/2 inch tall with an I hook. I will be linking this article to another post have planned for gauge discussion on the 25th of February. Thank you so much for all you contribute to the industry. You are my Idol.

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  9. This DEFINITELY explains why I have been trying relentlessly to make gauge, changing hooks, then needles, etc, for this particular pattern! I could get the # of stitches correct but never the number of rows! Ok, now to try to compensate for this! Any suggestions??? (btw: I LOVE ALL of your articles!! You are my Crochet Hero!!! ~ thanks for sharing your expertize!) ♥

    PS: I was referred to you by Happy4Crochet on Ravelry

  10. Pingback: All About Gauge - What is it? Why do I care? How can I fix it? | Jessie At Home

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