Friday, February 20, 2015

Free Pattern: 22° Sun Halo Earrings

  Have you ever looked up in the sky to see a 22° halo around the Sun? They are the rings of light that form when the light from the Sun refracts through the ice crystals in a cloud. How cool is that? Although these halos can also be seen around the moon, this pattern was designed to specifically reflect the warmth of the Sun. With temperatures colder than cold just about everywhere, who wants to be reminded of that frozen rock?

  No disrespect meant to the moon, of course...It will get its own pattern, too. I'm just tired of being cold! I live in Florida; Why is there ice outside? Not frost - ICE! A big sheet of it, all over my car!

  I know, those of you who are up to your butts in snow and facing single digit and below temps are telling me to get over it...But I consider myself lucky to live where it doesn't snow; I appreciate living where temperatures stay above freezing, and I have no idea how you guys survive! "Ice on the car" is to me as "a blizzard" is to you. I can't drive anywhere because I don't own an ice scraper. I don't own an ice scraper because I live where there IS NO ICE!

  So, I'm doing what comes naturally: Avoid it. Don't go anywhere. Crochet a Sun halo. Imagine that it's a warm summer day. Heat waves dance in the distance. You're sitting on the beach, the hot sand sifting between your toes. As you stretch out along a big, fluffy beach towel, feeling the heat of the sand radiating through your body, you turn your face to the sky. Thin, wispy clouds brush the horizon, swept along by the balmy summer breeze. Your eyes follow a flock of seagulls towards the Sun, and you notice a glimmering ring surrounding the fiery ball.

  Even though these mini versions of the Sun don't emit any warmth, they'll be a hot accessory for your spring and summer wardrobe! With a finished diameter of 1" (2.5 cm), they're big enough to make a statement, but won't weigh your ears down at under a gram a piece.

Skill level:

Size 10 cotton crochet thread
-I used Aunt Lydia's in Golden Yellow
Steel crochet hook size 8/1.50 MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Stitch markers (optional)
Smaller hook to weave in ends
Jewelry findings
-1 jump ring and 1 fish hook for each earring
Fabric starch/stiffener or craft glue

Pattern worked to Round 2 will measure 5/8" (1.5 cm).

When working over rounds, pull up the first loop of the stitch to the top of the previous row. Do not work tightly around the stitch.

Beginners and those who have trouble seeing thread stitches may wish to use stitch markers. Mark the beginning of rounds and the seventh stitch of round 2.

Chain-1 at beginning of rounds counts as one single crochet.

Pictures will help you after Round 2.

Stitches and abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)

Beginning (beg)
Skip (sk)
Space (sp)


Leave a beginning tail (at least 6"/15 cm) long enough to work over twice.

Round 1:
Begin with a slip knot on the hook, chain 8, join into a ring with a sl st in farthest ch from hook. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc). Working over tail thread: Make 11 sc in ring. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (12 sc)

Round 2:
Ch 1, turn. Make 13 sc in ring, over the stitches of Round 1 and the tail. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (14 sc)

Round 3:
Ch 10 (counts as 1 sc, ch-9), turn.

Sk 6, make 1 sc in 7th st.
The following picture shows the chain flattened out:

When you work the pattern, it should look like this because of the short chain:

Ch 9, join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Flip the chain to the back of the work:

Round 4:
Ch 1, turn. 12 sc in the first available ch-9 sp. 1 sc in next sc.

12 sc in next ch-9 sp. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Bind off with enough tail to travel the outer circle, plus a little more to secure the end.

Work the tail thread completely around the outer circle under the stitches. Follow the stitches to securely weave in ends.

This three-dimensional motif will need to be blocked and hardened to keep its shape. I tried to hang the first batch I made, but the weight of the stiffener pulled them out of shape. If you use spray starch, you may be able to skip the next steps. Personally, I have an issue with spray starch not hardening, staying sticky, and/or just making a big mess. I think I use too much. And it smells funny. For jewelry motifs, I prefer plain ol' craft glue (2 parts) mixed with water (1 part). But like I said, that adds weight. Here's how I finally got it to work:

Use four square-sided objects to block the motifs between. I'm using some boxes of screws I had on hand; you can use anything as long as it has four square sides and some weight to it. If using an empty box, place something inside to give it weight. Whatever your objects may be, let's refer to them as "blocks" from here on:

Insert a rag or some paper towels between two of the blocks. Leave enough material overlapping the tops of the blocks to cover the edges of the motifs.

Once you've treated the motifs with hardener, insert the smaller center rings of the motifs in the crack between the blocks. Straighten the outer circles.

If your material is long enough, you can fold it over for the next steps. Mine smashed my motifs down when I covered them, so I got a second piece. A cloth rag would fold easier (but mine leave ugly lint on my awesome crochet!). Place the material against the side of the center circle; place the block against it next.

Make sure you're not squishing your tops, and place the fourth block against the other side.

I gave the motifs 5 minutes to dry this way, and removed them before the paper towels got glued to them. They held their shape from there. Due to my issues with fabric starch, sorry, but you're on your own if you use it. The stuff only turns into a disaster for me, so I'm the one who needs directions, there!

Once dry, add your jump rings and fish hooks.

Experiment with the placement to customize your own! The front pair you see in the previous picture has each jump ring inserted under the vertical loops on the center single crochet, so the flat side of the outer ring faces out. The pair in the back have their jump rings inserted in the back loop of the center single crochet, so the flat side of the center motif peaks out from behind the outer ring. You could add yours anywhere to the side of the outer circle so the center sits horizontally or diagonally. Or attach to the center circle, so the outer ring sits horizontally.

Use different thread colors or add beads to put your own "spin" on the Sun!

Happy Crocheting!

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