If you have learned how to work a treble crochet stitch, then you are probably well on your way to wrapping up your lessons in basic crochet stitches. Therefore, you are ready to start working on more advanced crochet stitches. Cluster stitches are intermediate or advanced crochet stitches that build upon the basic knowledge of stitches such as the treble crochet. Therefore, it's a natural choice to learn them next. They add texture to your crochet pattern, so they are a great design element to become aware of.
What Is a Cluster in Crochet?
When you crochet a cluster, you work a group of stitches into the same stitch. However, you don't complete each stitch until the end, so essentially you create a thick texture stitch with multiple bases and only one top.
For example, a cluster of three treble crochet stitches will have three tr crochet bases all worked into the same stitch but they'll all end together so that there is only one stitch at the top. In other words, when you're working into this stitch in the next row, you will only see one stitch to work into, even though it has three treble crochet bases.
Cluster crochet stitches are textured stitches, like bobbles and popcorn stitches, that pop out slightly from the fabric and create a plush design.
What Is a 3 Treble Crochet Cluster?
A cluster of treble crochet stitches is when you work three treble crochet stitches into the same stitch. To make it a true cluster crochet stitch, you need to leave off the final step of each treble until the very end, when you close the treble all at once. As mentioned, that's what makes it a cluster; you'll have three side-by-side treble crochet stitches that all end at the top in one stitch.
The name of the cluster stitch depends on the number of stitches as well as the height of the stitches. For example, if you work five double crochet stitches as a cluster then it's a 5 dc cluster stitch. In this case, you will learn how to work three treble crochet stitches, which is a 3 tr cluster.
Note: This is different from a triple treble crochet stitch, which is one crochet stitch (not three side-by-side) that is taller than a regular treble crochet stitch.
This crochet tutorial is written in American/US crochet terms. It uses the following standard crochet abbreviations:
- st = stitch
- sts = stitches
- tr = treble (aka triple) crochet stitch
Reminder: A treble crochet stitch is worked by wrapping the yarn or thread around the hook two times before inserting the hook into the stitch where it is going to be worked.
How to Crochet a 3 Tr Cluster Stitch
You are going to be making the treble crochet cluster stitch with the same process that you use to make a regular treble crochet stitch. The only difference is going to be that you're not going to complete the final step of a regular treble crochet stitch. You will leave the last loops on the hook and then begin the next treble crochet. Likewise, you will leave that one unfinished and begin the final treble of the cluster. When all three treble crochet stitches are the same height, you will close them all together so that the three stitches become one cluster stitch. Here is how you do it:
- Wrap yarn or thread around hook 2 times. (If you wanted to make a double crochet cluster instead of a treble, you would start with one yarn over. This is just a reminder to give you a frame of reference.)
- Insert your crochet hook into the stitch where you want the cluster. This is typically dictated by your crochet pattern. In some cases, it will simply be into the next available stitch. That's what you will see in the photo that accompanies this article, which depicts a 3 tr crochet cluster in between sets of regular treble crochet stitches.
- Draw up a loop.
- Yarn over and pull through. Wrap the yarn over the crochet hook and draw through two of the loops that are on the crochet hook. There will now be three loops remaining on the loop. This should all be familiar since we are still just working a regular treble crochet stitch.
- Yarn over hook and draw through two loops again. There will be two loops left on the hook. Now we are going to pause at this stage of the first treble and we are going to begin the next treble crochet. In other words, you've nearly completed the first treble crochet of the three treble cluster, and you're just leaving off the last step and starting a new treble right in the same base stitch where you have just worked this first one.
- Working in the same stitch, make a second treble (leave the last loop of this treble on the hook also). In other words, repeat steps 1 through 5. When you finish step 5 this second time around, there will be three loops left on the hook instead of just two. That's because you have the remaining loops from the first treble as well as one loop remaining from the second treble.
- Working in the same stitch, make the third treble (leave the last loop of this treble on the hook also). In other words, repeat step six. So again, you are going to repeat steps 1 through 5 but this time there are going to be four loops left on the hook at the end of the repeat. Note that if you kept repeating this step, you would make a cluster of additional stitches (such as four or five) and each time there would be one more loop on the hook.
- Close the stitch. Now you have three unfinished treble crochet stitches sitting side-by-side inside the same stitch. All you need to do is close them up. To do this, wrap the yarn over hook and pull a loop through all four remaining loops on the hook. This closes all three trebles into one treble crochet cluster. You have three bases that are each the height of a treble crochet stitch and they close together into one stitch at the top.