Thursday, 16 June 2016

Make it ! Mini mandalas hanging decorations !!!

Hi my dear friends!!
I have to apologize for my long absence from the blog, but we had a lot of problems with internet (will they ever stop????) and my laptop is almost dead, so I'm using the one of my husband...
This is even the reason, you will find me more often on Instagram, as you need just a photo and a little caption.... the right solution for me, at least for the moment!
I really miss my blogging activity, but my internet reality is not easy!
Anyway, I did a photo tutorial for you and I hope you will love it!!!

It's all about my mini mandalas (shown for the first time HERE) and they look like the followings

I think you got the idea, right? ;oD

  • some colourful yarns from your personal stash. I was using acrylic leftovers from other projects and still have some, so other decorations are on the way!!!!
  • a hook, in my specific case : a 4mm hook
  • a pair of scissors
  • a yarn needle
  • a tape measure
  • some stitch markers (optional)
Please, note that I follow the US crochet terminology!
The project calls for different sizes of double crochet (abbrev. DC) circles : the bigger is made of 5 rounds, then we have one circle of 3 rounds, one of 2 rounds and the last one is just made of one round!
You can choose to work these 4 circles separately and then sew them together. I prefer to join them as I go.... It's up to you and, honestly, the final result doesn't change because of the sewing or joining method!


I always start with the bigger one (5 rounds). The smaller ones follow the same pattern, shortened!

Select two colours to work with. I prefer to start with the darker one (name it "A") and then use the lighter one (name it "B"). You are not obligated to follow this rule and feel free to use more than two colours, if you like! This choice of mine, is just a simplification for the project to follow.

Pick the first colour (A) and make a slip knot on your hook. Chain 3 and insert the tip of your hook in the 1st chain made to crochet one DC (= double crochet). Make other 11 DCs in the same chain. Slip stitch in top of first DC to close the round. Your first round is done! (12 stitches)

second round : join colour B (do not cut colour A!), chain 2, work 2 DCs in each stitch. Slip stitch in 1st DC to close the round. (24 stitches)

third round : rejoin first colour A (do not cut colour B!), chain 2, repeat [1 DC + 2 DCs in same stitch] 12 times. Slip stitch in top of first DC to close the round. (36 stitches)

fourth round : rejoin second colour B (do not cut A!), chain 2, repeat [1 DC + 1 DC + 2 DCs in same stitch] 12 times. Slip stitch in top of first DC to close the round. (48 stitches) Now you can cut yarn B!

fifth round : rejoin colour A, chain 2, repeat [1 DC + 1 DC + 1 DC + 2 DCs in same stitch] 12 times. Slip stitch in top of first DC to close the round. (60 stitches) Cut yarn, fasten off and trim in all ends.

Once the big circle is completed, you can crochet the other ones (3 rounds, 2 rounds and one round) individually and then sew them together : the "2 rounds circle" at the bottom of the decoration-to-be, while the "3 rounds circle" will be at the top of the bigger circle and the "one round circle" will be at the top of all them, as the hanging loop will be at its top!!!

I prefer to work differently! Follow me, if interested in this alternative way to join!

I have to prepare my big circle

I use 4 pins as stitch markers to mark the stitches I will use for the joining. A total of 4 stitches are involved at the top of the big circle and the same amount of stitches are considered at the bottom of the same circle.
As the last round of the circle is made of 60 stitches, the stitches left free on both sides are 26 : 26+26+4+4=60 !
I start the joining at the bottom of the big circle, while working a "2 rounds circle"
Once the first round is done, I start the 2nd round and the first two stitches of it are joined to the two stitches (of the bigger circle) on the left

It's not difficult! When you are starting to work the second part of your DC, before wrapping the yarn around your hook, push the tip of your hook under the top of the Dc of the bigger circle, then wrap the yarn around the hook and pull it to the front of your work and the two loops of the DC to complete!!! Join and DC done at the same time!

After the first two DCs are joined, continue to work the round as usual and stop before the last two stitches are done

These last two stitches will be joined with the tops of the two DCs of the big circle as the first two

Cut yarn, fasten off and trim ends in !

This time, we have to do the same with the top 4 stitches of the big circle and the bottom 4 stitches of the "3 rounds circle"

In this situation, you need to join the stitches 17, 18, 19 and 20 to the 4 stitches of the big circle

and this is how the 3 circles appear joined together

Now, to complete the body of the hanging decoration, we need to join the last circle (made of just one round) to the top 4 stitches of the "3 rounds circle"

You start to work the first 4 DCs of the last circle and you will join the following 4 to the other DCs of the "3 rounds circle"

As the "one circle" is made of 12 stitches, after the joining you need to work 4 more DCs and then slip stitch in the top of the first DC.
Work extra 20 chains and slip stitch in the first chain made and then slip stitch in the top of first DC : the loop is done, too!!!

Cut yarn, fasten off and trim in all ends!

You need to embellish your decoration!
To make a tassel : I cut 10 lengths of one colour + 10 lengths in a different colour (each length is about 30 cm long). Fold together these lengths in two , pass two strands under the fold and knot them together. You need other two strands to knot around and form the "head" of the tassel. Knot the tassel at the bottom of the last circle. Trim it.

Before adding the tassel, you can embellish your hanging decoration with some slip stitches in contrasting colours and add an extra edging at the bigger circle, made of single crochets or even picots!
Have a look :

Have fun, xxxx Alessandra

Friday, 27 May 2016

Make it ! Sombrero Ring Holder !!!

The inspiration for these sombreros comes from Lauren's Mini Sombrero Crochet Pattern .

In fact, the first sombrero (the one with the blue edging) is crocheted following the original pattern, while the next ones (pink and yellow edgings) have in my personal variations to Lauren's pattern.

My sombreros (all of them) were made using a 3,5mm hook and cotton threads.
You need, also, a pair of scissors, a yarn needle, a stitch marker (as working in spiral, it's a good idea to identify the first stich of the round) and a small amount of toy filling.

All the sombreros are crocheted using a pale blue cotton thread

and the colourful edging is made with single crochet stitches (=SC, abbreviation) (US crochet terminology) and picots (each made of 3 chains). Every 3 single crochets, you make a picot!

First Sombrero

Is the one with the blue edging

I simply followed Lauren's pattern.
The only difference is the final embellishment, as I preferred picots to French knots ! ;oD

Second Sombrero

This one has a pointy cone and a slightly larger base.

Some variations were added to the original pattern :

chain 2
round 1 : 4 SCs in the first chain made (4 stitches)
round 2 : 2 SCs in each stitch (8 stitches)
rounds 3 and 4 : crochet 8 SCs around (8 stitches)
round 5 : repeat [1 SC + 2 SCs] 4 times (12 stitches)
rounds 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 : crochet 12 SCs around (12 stitches)
round 11 : 2 SCs in each stitch (24 stitches)
round 12 : crochet 24 single crochets around (24 stitches)
round 13 : repeat [1 SC + 2 SCs] 12 times (36 stitches)
rounds 14, 15 and 16: 1 SC in each stitch around. Slip stitch in first stitch of the round (end of round 16), cut yarn and trim ends in.

With a different colour, add the round of SCs and picots.

I added even a third sombrero to the group

To put the sombrero's cone in the condition to stay straight, you have to contrast it's natural floppiness with the help of some toy filling (use a skewer or the bottom of a pencil to push it inside)

I think that it would be nice to gift a set of sombreros to a friend, maybe 3 or 5 : What do you think??

My cat Margot was very sweet to try one on ....

xxxx, Alessandra

Thursday, 19 May 2016

How to join "side by side" two squares made of double crochet stitches (US crochet terminology)

I'm not the first one to offer a photo tutorial on this specific topic. In fact, there is a good one provided by Tif from dottie angel right HERE (an "ordinarily extraordinary" blanket how to ...).

Tif creates a lovely "eyelet join", I'm more basic : my joining method is really essential. I know that some of you will love it, some others will ignore it, but I love to have more options to choose from and I love to share this method with you, just because you can have one more option to choose from, too!!!

The two squares shown in the above pictures follow a simple pattern (you can pick any kind of yarn and, consequently, any hook size for this) : chain 42 stitches and insert hook in 3rd chain from hook to crochet your first double crochet (=DC, using the US crochet terminology). Crocheting one DC in each chain, you will end the row with 40 DCs. Chain 2 and turn your work and repeat the pattern. For the first square, I worked the first 18 rows in turquoise, while from row 19 to the end (row 26) I've been using a pea green. The second square, joined to the first one while crocheting it, has the first 8 rows (instead) in green and the other 18 in turquoise. You are free to choose the design better suits your taste! ;oD

My photo tutorial will show you my joining method using smaller squares to practice with. It's quicker and gives you the right confidence with the technique!

The pattern for your first mini square is the following (in my case, some acrylic DK yarns and a 4mm hook):
make a slip knot on your hook, chain 12, push the tip in 3rd chain from hook to crochet your first DC, crochet other 9 DCs (total : 10 DCs), chain 2 and turn your work. Repeat this pattern other 4 times and at the end of row 5 don't chain 2, just fasten off and you will have something like this

Pick a new colour and follow the given pattern, but remember to stop (you are working the first row of your second mini square) when the 9th DC is done ...

At this point, wrap your yarn as starting a new DC and insert the tip of your hook in both last chain of the first row of your 2nd mini square-to-be and in the first chain of your "chain 2" made at the beginning of row 1 of the first mini square, as shown below ...

Then, wrap yarn on hook and pull it trough the chain of first mini square to the front of your work and through the chain of the base of first row of second mini square (you have just done a slip stitch) and crochet the last DC as usual ...

Now, you have to slip stitch in the top of first stitch of first row of the 1st mini square ...

To do that, insert your hook in that stitch (shown with the help of the white arrow, above), wrap yarn around the hook and pass it from the back to the front of the mini square ...

.... and through the loop on the top of your last DC of the 2mini square ... join done ..

Then, chain 2 ...

and make another slip stitch ! This time through the top of first stitch of 2nd row of 1st mini square ...

Turn your work and crochet 10 DCs for the 2nd row of your 2nd mini square and chain 2 ...

Turn again and start the 3rd row of DCs

slip stitch in top of 1st stitch of row 3 (1st mini square) ...

... chain 2 and slip stitch in top of 1st stitch of row 4 (still 1st mini square)....

Turn your work, crochet 10 DCs of row 4 of 2nd mini square and chain 2 ...

Turn your work again and work 10 DCs to complete row 5 of your 2nd mini square ...

Insert the tip of your hook in first stitch of row 5 of the 1st mini square ...

Make a slip stitch ...

... and fasten off !!!

Don't forget to trim ends, in ... ;oD ...

Bigger or smaller squares, the joining method remains the same ...

Let me know !!!!

xxxx Alessandra


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