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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Eye of the Emerald Mandala

  This mandala would look great in lots of color combinations, but I wanted to celebrate my Irish roots by creating something for upcoming St.Patty's Day. A skein of "Paddy Green" found in the stash seemed to be the perfect tribute. The emerald tone of the green inspired lace like the facets of a gemstone, and the picot edging is a little nod towards Irish lace... But much easier to work than most Irish lace!

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

  The picot stitches of round 20 stick up and make some neat texture around the edges of the mandala. However, if you would like them to sit flat to avoid an accidental drink spill when a cup gets placed on the bumpy round (because we know that would never happen, right?), just push them down between chain spaces when blocking. You could also work a chain-2 picot for a less pointy version.

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot


free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

Check out the pattern for the matching mini mandala! They make a great compliment to the large mandala whether you're using it as an art piece or a table set.


Finished size: 24" (61 cm) in diameter


Skill level:
Easy


Materials:
Worsted weight (4) acrylic yarn
I'm using Red Heart Super Saver in Paddy Green (color A) and White (color B)*
Crochet hook size J/10 - 6.00 MM
Yarn needle
Stitch marker (to mark beginning if needed)

*The entire pattern used 2oz (28 g) of color A and 3oz (85 g) of color B... Since I had no label attached to the scrap skein of White I used, there is a chance that it is actually Caron One Pound, which is a little heavier than Red Heart SS (but they both work up in the same gauge). If you happen to make this pattern using all Red Heart SS yarn (for sure) and you can weigh your finished project, I'd love if you could let me know so I can label my yarn. (Total weight is 5 oz, so if yours weighs in around 4.5 oz, then I'll know I was wrong.)


Gauge:
Not important.
First 2 rounds measure 3" (7.5 cm) across


Notes:
Chain stitches at beginning of rounds do not count as stitches.

Finished pattern will need a small amount of blocking. Some ruffling should be expected until working the final round.

Some rounds are joined with half-double or double crochet stitches to take the place of a chain space. When the next round instructs to work into the "half-double crochet joining space", you will be working over the post of the joining stitch.

New colors are joined with standing crochet stitches. If you are unfamiliar with this method, you can join with a slip stitch, chain 1, and make the beginning stitch.


Stitches:
(American terms)
Chain
Slip stitch
Single crochet
Half double crochet (only for joining rounds)
Double crochet
*Long double crochet - Yarn over and insert hook. Yarn over, pull up a long loop to stitch height. (Meaning: Pull it up high enough to be on top of the stitches you're working over.) (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on hook) 2x.
Just like a double crochet, but with a longer bottom loop. Easy, right?

*Picot (worked slightly different than usual) - Chain 3, insert hook in the front loop and bottom bar of last stitch (from left to right); slip stitch.

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot



Instructions:


free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot


Round 1:
Color A
Begin with a magic circle. Chain 1 (does not count as stitch), single crochet in the ring.
(Chain 3, single crochet) 5x more.
Chain 1, make a half double crochet in the beginning single crochet to join.
(6 chain-3 spaces)

Round 2:
Color A
Chain 1, single crochet in the half-double crochet joining space.
[Chain 3. (Single crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in the next chain-3 space] 5x.
Single crochet in the beginning space. Chain 1, use a half double crochet to join.
(12 chain-3 spaces)

Round 3:
Color A
Chain 1, single crochet in the half-double crochet joining space.
(Chain 3, single crochet in the next space) 11x.
Chain 1, half-double crochet to join. Bind off to change colors.
(12 chain-3 spaces)

Round 4:
Color B
Begin with a standing single crochet in the half-double crochet joining space.
Make 5 single crochet in each of the following chain-3 spaces around (11x).
Work 4 single crochet in the joining space. Join with a slip stitch to beginning single crochet.
(12 "sets" of 5-single crochet)

Round 5:
Color B
Chain 1, single crochet in the space between single crochet sets. (You will work over this stitch in round 6 with the long double crochet.)
(Chain 5, single crochet in the next space between sets) 11x.
Chain 2, double crochet in the beginning single crochet to join. Bind off to change colors.
(12 chain-5 spaces)

Round 6:
Color A
Begin with a standing single crochet in the double crochet joining space. Chain 3.
(Make 3 long double crochet over the single crochet of the previous round. Chain 3, single crochet in the next chain-5 space. Chain 3) 11x.
Make 3 long double crochet over the last single crochet. Chain 1, half-double crochet in the beginning single crochet to join.
(24 chain-3 spaces)

Round 7:
Color A
Chain 1, single crochet in the joining space.
(Chain 3, single crochet in the next chain-3 space) 23x.
Chain 1, half double crochet to join.
(24 chain-3 spaces)

Round 8:
Color A
Repeat as for round 7.

Round 9:
Color A
Repeat as for round 7. Bind off to change colors.

Round 10:
Color B
Begin with a standing single crochet in the joining space.
Make 5 single crochet in each of the following chain-3 spaces around (23x).
Work 4 single crochet in the joining space. Join with a slip stitch to the beginning single crochet.
(24 "sets" of 5-single crochet)

Round 11:
Color B
Chain 1, single crochet in the space between single crochet sets. (You will work over this stitch in round 12 with the long double crochet.)
(Chain 5, single crochet in the next space between sets) 23x.
Chain 2, double crochet in the beginning single crochet to join. Bind off to change colors.
(24 chain-5 spaces)

Round 12:
Color A
Begin with a standing single crochet in the double crochet joining space. Chain 3.
(Make 3 long double crochet over the single crochet of the previous round. Chain 3, single crochet in the next chain-5 space. Chain 3) 23x.
Make 3 long double crochet over the last single crochet. Chain 1, half-double crochet in the beginning single crochet to join.
(48 chain-3 spaces)

Round 13:
Color A
Chain 1, single crochet in the double crochet joining space.
(Chain 3, single crochet in the next chain-3 space) 47x.
Chain 1, half-double crochet in the beginning single crochet.
(48 chain-3 spaces)

Round 14:
Color A
Repeat as for round 13.

Round 15:
Color A
Repeat as for round 13. Bind off to change colors.

Round 16:
Color B
Begin with a standing single crochet in the half-double crochet joining space.
Make 5 single crochet in each of the following chain-3 spaces around (47x).
Work 4 single crochet in the joining space. Join with a slip stitch to the beginning single crochet.
(48 "sets" of 5-single crochet)

Round 17:
Color B
Chain 1, single crochet in the space between single crochet sets.
(Chain 5, single crochet in the next space between sets) 47x.
Chain 2, double crochet in the beginning single crochet to join.
(48 chain-5 spaces)

Round 18:
Color B
Chain 1, single crochet in the double crochet joining space.
(Chain 4, single crochet in the next chain-5 space) 47x.
Chain 1, half-double crochet in the beginning single crochet.
(48 chain-4 spaces)

Round 19:
Color B
Chain 1, single crochet in the double crochet joining space.
(Chain 3, single crochet in the next chain-4 space) 47x.
Chain 1, half-double crochet in the beginning single crochet.
(48 chain-3 spaces)

Round 20:
Color B
Chain 1, single crochet in the half-double crochet joining space.
(2 single crochet, picot, 3 single crochet) in each chain-3 space around (47x).
(2 single crochet, picot, 2 single crochet) in the joining space.
(This still counts as 48 "sets" of 5 single crochet, disregarding the picot in the count.)

Bind off, insert hook in beginning single crochet. Yarn over with tail, pull through. Insert hook from the bottom up through the ending stitch, pull tail through.
(This can also be done with the tail on a yarn needle if you prefer.)

Round 21:
Color A
Begin with a standing double crochet in the space between sets of single crochet.
(Double crochet, chain 5, double crochet) in the space between each of the following sets (47x).
Double crochet in the beginning space, Chain 2, double crochet in the standing double crochet to join.
(48 chain-5 spaces)

Round 22:
Color A
Chain 1, single crochet in the double crochet joining space. Slip stitch in the same space.
(Slip stitch, chain 1, 2 single crochet, picot, 3 single crochet, slip stitch) in each of the following chain-5 spaces (47x).
(Slip stitch, chain 1, 2 single crochet, picot, 2 single crochet) in the joining space.

Bind off, insert hook in beginning single crochet. Yarn over with tail, pull through. Insert hook from the bottom up through the ending stitch, pull tail through.

Weave in ends; dampen slightly to block.


free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

  Now - If you know me, then you know I don't like making patterns that require heavy blocking. This one needs a little help, but it doesn't have to be pinned out. Just shape the dampened project on a towel and keep flat until dry. No extra work!

  If you would like to pin it out anyway, you can make it a little bigger. The lace has enough stretch to increase to 25" (63.5 cm) in diameter. Also for more work: I suppose you could also starch it if you want, but there's no need unless you're making it into a wall hanging.


  And again, if you know me, then you know I always see more than just crochet in designs. There's always some color, a feature, or texture that inspires more than meets the eye to most. My favorite part of this pattern isn't the lace or the picots (well, kinda), and it's certainly not the color. My favorite part is when the sun is shining through the window, starting in the early afternoon. The texture of the picot edge makes the coolest shadows to one side of the mandala, and they move around it like a sundial as the day progresses into the evening. So it's not the picots themselves, but the shadows around them that I like:

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

  What's your favorite part of this pattern? And what colors would you make it in? Do you like the first round of picots sticking up for texture, or would you flatten them out? I know that's a lot of questions, but I'm curious to know! And one more thing... Would you be willing to wait a day or two for a smaller matching pattern to become available? (It's available here now!)

free pattern, crochet, doily, mandala, Irish, St.Patty's Day, St.Patrick's Day, lace, picot

Hmm... What will it be? No sneak peeks this time! But I bet you can guess what it is...


Happy Crocheting!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

From the Stash #1

Welcome to the first of a new series!

  Once upon a time, I got paid to create crochet and crafting tutorials. I had to hustle in order to make my time worth the small amount each project earned. Balls of yarn were pulled out of the stash, stitch swatches were made, and most of it got tossed into my "WIP" stash bin without being ripped back. Some of it was hastily rolled up or left in knots. It's all a mess.

  Then one day, the $7 commission I was making got reduced to $4. I was disappointed, but instead of giving up I hustled more. The mess grew. When I was just a few dollars away from making my (last) payment threshold, the tutorial-uploading part of the site mysteriously went down for days. The company assured me they were just making a few changes to the site, and it would be back up soon. 😀 There was no more payment option when it came back. 

  Fast forward: Although the company was exuberant that I should stay and work for free; it's great exposure for my blog; their creators are "so important" to them... Yeah right. I watch my blog stats frequently, and no traffic ever came from their site. The only exposure I got was on their platform, and it didn't go any farther. As far as them "caring" about their creators? They didn't even have the decency to let us know they would be stopping payments. I found out from a blog post. Their multi-million dollar sellout to a larger company was so big it merited an article in Forbes magazine, and they were proud of it. (But they couldn't pay me the ninety-something dollars I had already earned under contract.) It left me sour, so I left their name behind. I spent a lot of time being angry and ignored that disorganized part of the stash as a result. 


  This series is an attempt to move forward from bad feelings and make something of the mess. That's the first I've ever spoken out about that situation, and the last time I will. Let's move on to item from the stash #1:


yarn, stash, Bernat Baby Jacquards, crochet, WIP, work in progress

  In the foreground: What was to be a lacy granny square with a flowery center. Attached to that in the background: One lone ball of Bernat Baby Jacquards, which is currently discontinued.



yarn, stash, Bernat Baby Jacquards, crochet, WIP, work in progress

  I want to use up this yarn, but I'm not fond of yellow. I'm not fond of pink either, but for some reason I like the summery combination in the color "Berries and Cream". (Of course, I disagree with the naming of this color, which is how my Pink Lemonade Scarf was named.)



yarn, stash, Bernat Baby Jacquards, crochet, WIP, work in progress

  That flowery motif just had to go. I think I want to make a summery wearable of some kind... Maybe a vest. But before I can begin a new project, I have to do something with this mess of a skein that has been partially re-rolled. Before I began fighting with the outside of the skein that had a few knots in it, I thought it would be better to find the center-pull end to start rewinding.



yarn, stash, Bernat Baby Jacquards, crochet, WIP, work in progress

Ha ha ha ha ha! 😄😄😄😄😄



yarn, stash, Bernat Baby Jacquards, crochet, WIP, work in progress

  No worries. I didn't take me very long to unravel the mess of yarn vomit that came out. Needing a nice quiet activity anyway, I didn't mind sitting down with a paper towel tube and re-rolling a better center-pull ball. I started it a little too long, so it's not the best looking skein. But I won't let that bother me as long as the yarn keeps playing out from the center as it should.



yarn, stash, Bernat Baby Jacquards, crochet, WIP, work in progress

  And well, would you look at that... Even after half an hour of hand-winding a ball, I couldn't find sleep. Some trial and error led me to what I think is the perfect design I'm looking for. But!... I'm stopping here because I have other projects I need to work on. 


  I thinking of turning this skein into a circle vest, but I don't want to take that idea too far with a discontinued yarn. Measuring of gauge and weighing of yarn needs to be done to make sure I'll have enough, or I'll need to go in search of a similar-colored matching-weight-and-fiber yarn. I have a feeling that won't be easy to find! Perhaps this yarn will just end up as a lacy doily instead. What it won't turn into is a disappointing, useless, forgotten project like before.

Happy Crocheting!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

24 Hours and Crocheting

  I don't know whether to say insomnia strikes again, or maybe it's just here to stay. But please don't offer sympathetic words over it, because that's not what I'm here for. Insomnia is just the fuel behind another creation that will soon be available to you:


doily, mandala, crochet, WIP


  Seriously, that doesn't look like the work of a crazy sleep-deprived person, does it? Right, but that's only the finished product! I was happy with the beginning of this creation, but hit a snag in the design as my brainpower began to fade with exhaustion. Being absorbed in the Granny-Spiration Challenge, I decided to fall back on that safety net known as the granny stitch. 


doily, mandala, crochet, WIP


  Maybe that did look like some crazy sleep-deprived person's work. Remembering he has a job, Rip van Winkle got up and commented "cool" over the design. I hated it. The granny stitch just didn't fit in with all the rest of the lace. I told Rip I was going to rip it all out. He thought I should leave it, so I decided to make a cup of coffee and think it over...


doily, mandala, crochet, WIP


  I admit it didn't look too bad. But I still didn't like it. After 24 hours of being awake and adding coffee to the insanity, I got excited to throw some spike stitches in the mix. It couldn't hurt to play around before ripping out all that work.


doily, mandala, crochet, WIP


  An hour of moving stitch counts around, and I still wasn't happy. Was I just that tired, or was it a sign that I had made a mistake that needed to be fixed? Or am I just that stubborn that I can't be happy with a design that had no flaws?


doily, mandala, crochet, WIP


  Yup, I have a coffee cup that answers that question... Despite all the uplifting synonyms you could slap on a mug, the thing that sums up most Aries is stubborn. My brain wasn't happy with the design, and that wasn't going to change. 


doily, mandala, crochet, WIP


  So, no granny stitches this time. I felt like all that lace needed some picots instead. Ninety-six picots later, I'm ready for bed at 2 pm. Just wanted to stop by here to say "look what I made" first, then I'm (hopefully) off to that alternate universe known as sleep. I often dream of crochet while I'm there, so maybe another design will be born soon. Until then...


Happy Crocheting!

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