Thursday, February 4, 2016

Popcorn Heart Garland

  First, is it okay if I say that I don't actually like popcorn that much? I mean, it's not bad, it's just not my favorite snack. Anyways, on to the real subject: I love crocheting the popcorn stitch! There's lots of variations of the "basic", or classic popcorn.The stitch is usually worked in double crochet, but you can make a popcorn using any of the basic stitches to create a different shape or texture. Then there's other styles of the stitch, such as the milk glass popcorn. And now, there's the "Popcorn Heart" stitch!

free crochet pattern, heart, popcorn stitch, garland, Valentine's Day

  Okay, maybe it's more of a pattern than a stitch... I've been trying to work it into rows, but I still can't get it to come out right. But there's only like, what... Less than two weeks until Valentine's Day! So, who wants to get into some big project right now? Let's make this cute and quick chain garland, and you'll still have time to decorate with it before the celebration is over. I'm going to continue to play around with turning the "popcorn heart" into something more than just a decoration, but why waste this for now?

free crochet pattern, hearts, garland, Valentine's Day,

  Also, that's why you're going to get this as more of a tutorial than a pattern. (Which is where I should warn you that there's about 20 pictures ahead.) I'm still in the experimental stage of this stitch. I haven't tested the gauge, and there's a few variations I couldn't decide on.  But you'll see below some examples that will give you an idea of what hook size(s) you'll want, and you can choose whichever variations you prefer. I haven't even thought about what difficulty it should be, so maybe you guys could give me some opinions!

  • If you want to give it a try, then you'll need to know the chain (ch), slip stitch (sl st), single crochet (sc) and double crochet (dc) stitches.

  • You'll also need to be able to remove your hook and pick up a different loop, so you might want to grab a stitch marker (or two)! 

  • Gather an assortment of hooks that are close to the size of your yarn manufacturer's recommended size. You can use any size yarn you want!

crochet hooks, supplies, free crochet pattern, hearts

*Want the written directions first? Sure! Chain your desired number of stitches, plus three or four (your choice). Slip stitch in the second or third chain from the hook, chain 1 (counts as sc). Now, all in that same stitch: 1 single crochet, 1 chain, 2 double crochet, 2 chain, 2 double crochet, 1 chain, 2 sc. Take the hook out of the working loop, put it back into the first single crochet (ch-1), pick the working loop back up and pull the loop through. Go from back to front, then front to back around the middle slip stitch (in and out of the ch-2 spaces), and slip stitch. Anchor with a slip stitch to the last chain made before heart, or skip one and go into the stitch before it (easier!).

Now do you want that tutorial to make more sense of those variations?

First, you'll need to decide how far apart you want your hearts to be on the chain. (For the tutorial version, I'll be working them 15 chains apart.) Chain the desired number of chains, plus three or four. (Three chains in example, with first chain marked - you'll see why I mark that later!)

Decide how you want to work the point of your heart. You can begin in the second or third chain from the hook. (Red/white examples worked in second chain, burgundy worked in third.)

Make a slip stitch, but do it loosely! If your tension is too tight, the point of your heart will turn into a tiny nub that will disappear under the popcorn.

Chain one (to count as the first single crochet), and make a single crochet in the same space. Hint: If you think you'll have trouble finding that beginning chain-one again, mark it now! You'll need to work into it again later.

Chain one, and make two double crochet in the same space.

Chain two, slip stitch in the same space. (Half of the heart is complete!)

Now, you'll make (almost) all those stitches in reverse order, in the same space. Chain two, two double crochet, chain one, two single crochet. Now, let's turn it into a popcorn heart!

You're going to remove your hook from the working loop. Don't be afraid to pull up a bunch of slack in that working loop before you take the hook out! It will prevent the stitch from pulling out, and it will help you in the end. Trust me.

Insert your hook into the beginning chain-one.

Place the working loop back on the hook, pulling any slack back out of it. Beginner tip: Don't twist that stitch when you put it back on the hook! When you pull your working yarn, it should slide over the front of the hook. If it goes to the back, your loop is backwards.

You're not making a stitch here, so don't yarn over for anything! Just pull that working loop right through the beginning chain. This is the part where you can pull your stitch as tight as you want. The tighter you pull this stitch, the more your popcorn will "pop" out and stand out on the chain.

And to make the heart "pop" the most, let's turn it into a popcorn "ball"! What I mean is turn it into a ball stitch of sorts, which you can see by following this link. Insert the hook from back to front in the first chain-2 space.

Now, insert it from front to back in the next chain-2.

Slip stitch through the chain spaces, and pull the stitch tight.

Finally, here's where you get to make another choice, and I'll explain why I mark that previous chain: You need to anchor the heart to the chain with a slip stitch, or it just flops around. I like making things the difficult way to go into the very next chain, but working all those stitches into the previous chain makes this one tighten up, and it can be nearly impossible to insert your hook in the stitch. I mark this stitch so I can use the marker to pull slack back in the chain, but it's still really difficult to twist your hook around the popcorn and make it into the stitch. It's a lot easier to just skip this tight chain, and slip stitch in the next one.

free crochet pattern, popcorn heart garland

Now you can chain your desired number of stitches again, and repeat the steps for more hearts.

I began working the hearts with a size K - 6.50 MM, and continued working the chain with the same size. When I got to the next heart, I switched to a size I - 5.50 MM. The heart is only a tiny bit smaller, and although it feels thicker, the appearance doesn't change much.

crochet, gauge, hearts

And I worked the next heart with a size H - 5.00 hook. Again, it's only a bit smaller than the last one, but this time the shape changed some, too. This third heart is almost as thick as it is wide!

crochet, free pattern, hearts, popcorn stitch

For the white garland, I worked the anchoring slip stitch into the second chain from the popcorn. It doesn't pull the heart as tight against the chain, but it makes it so much easier to work the stitch!

crochet, heart, garland, free pattern,

At first glance, the pattern seems to remain the same. But if you skip a stitch to make your anchoring slip stitch, then you'll need to think about how and where you'll be using your garland. If it's wrapped around something, the hearts will stick out pretty easily. If you try to hang it freely - let's say, like across an open doorway, the hearts will tend to flop downwards. Which is cool, if you're hanging it up high! But, honestly, it looks kinda dumb if you hang it that way at eye level.

crochet, free pattern, heart, garland

The burgundy garland was made by beginning in the third chain from the hook, for a pointier point. ("Pointier" is a word... Wouldn't you think it should be "more pointy"? Grammar aside, I tried working into the fourth chain for the pointiest point, but I didn't like it.) I also skipped to the second chain for the anchoring slip stitch.

crochet, tassels, heart garland

Since the hearts on my red garland stay put pretty nicely, I decided to add a tassel of all the colors to one end, so I could hang it vertically. I think you could do this too, or add it to both ends, or even attach more tassels on the chain between the hearts... I just don't like it. I like sleek and simple, and don't want a bunch of tasseled decorations around my house. I think I'm gonna take that back off.

thread crochet, hearts, free pattern, garland

And for the Grande Finale, I started working the pattern in thread. You can, too, if you're crazy enough. (LOL) No, I think you really could, if you enjoy working with thread! I started out with a hook that was too big, so I experimented with making three double crochet where you should make two (left). But, it made the heart a bit too wide, so I went back to the original pattern (right). I think I just need to switch to a smaller hook, but my hands are getting tired! I'm setting this one aside for another day.

free crochet pattern, hearts, popcorn stitch, garland

Before we end, let me give you one last warning about skipping that chain... I know the lighting is horrible, but hopefully you can get a good idea of this example by the silhouettes of the hearts: The garland at the right is the red one, made by anchoring in the very next chain. See how the hearts hang at a cute angle? Now, can you see at the bottom and top of the branch where the burgundy and white garlands (skipped a chain) aren't wrapped all the way around? FLOP.

Happy Crocheting!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is now enabled because of those nasty spammers - Sorry!
Your comment will go through after you click "publish", but it won't be visible until approved.