Saturday, July 19, 2014

Free Pattern: Plarn Welcome Mat

  Your guests can see your skills before they make it through your door when you make this plarn doormat. Using a large hook, thick double strands of plastic bag yarn, and 3 DC filet crochet, this pattern works up quickly and easily. The substantial size of each mesh produces an impressionistic view of the word "WELCOME", but it doesn't stand out enough on its own. A bit of surface crochet is the final touch to add some character and depth. The complete highlighted result is a sort of funky, fancy, graffiti-style block lettering.

  With the combination of techniques needed to make this project, you can brush up on a few of your skills, or perhaps add some new ones. Click on the links provided if you need help with filet crochet, surface crochet, or making plarn.

  Do you have a pile of plastic bags to save from a landfill? Plarn is a great way to turn trash into something practical or even stylish. Requiring four to six bags per row, this project uses well over 100 average size grocery bags, so be prepared for a lot of cutting.

  *Here's a tip: If you are skilled with color work, you could make this project really pop! Use color B to work the highlighted solid mesh, or use a third color for even more contrast.

Size is 18" x 36" ( 45.5 cm x 91.5 cm) before finishing.
Finished size with border is 19 1/2" x 36 1/2" (49.5 cm x 92.5 cm)

Skill Level: 

Plarn, cut into 2 1/2" -3" (6cm - 7.5cm) wide strips
- over 100 bags for color A
- about 30 bags for color B
Crochet hook size K/10 1/2-6.50MM, or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook for weaving in ends

4" x 4" (10 cm x 10 cm) = 4 rows of 4 mesh,
  or, one mesh = 1" x 1" (2.5cm x 2.5 cm)

-Written directions are provided for the beginning chain and first row only. Follow the chart to complete.
-Begin working the chart from the bottom left to right. The next row up is worked right to left, and so on. To help make sure you're working in the correct direction on the chart, follow the arrows.
-Chain 3 for first double crochet at beginning of each row.

Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)

Filet Symbols:

Using two strands of color A, ch 90 to begin.

Row 1:
Follow chart from left to right: Dc in 4th ch from hook and in each of remaining 86 chs. (87 dc, or 43 solid mesh)

Rows 2 - 23:
Follow chart. Bind off.

Click to enlarge chart.

Rotate work 1 half-turn, repeat rows 22 and 23, beginning in first st of beg ch. Bind off. You may weave in ends now, or work over them while adding the border.

Surface crochet:
Now for the finishing touch. Your guests might not know they are welcome without it.

Using the same size hook unless you need to switch for gauge, change to a single strand of color B. Beginning in any marked mesh you wish, secure with a sl st to the wrong side, ch 1. Remove hook, pull st through to right side.

Following the markings on the chart, surface single crochet as stated for each filet:

To work horizontally:

Solid mesh - Make one surface single crochet for each dc of the mesh (3).

Open mesh - Make 2 surface single crochet in the chain space, one in the next dc.

Long mesh - Make 5 surface single crochet in the chain space.

Lacet - Make 2 surface single crochet in first chain space, 1 surface single crochet in the single crochet, and 2 surface single crochet in the next chain space.

To work vertically, make 3 surface single crochet around a dc post.

For border:
Use the same size hook and double strands of color B.

Except for corner posts, work 3 sc around each vertical post for short sides. Only work 2 sc in corner sps.

For long sides, work 1 dc for each dc available in a solid mesh. Work 2 dc in an open mesh ch-sp. Work 4 dc in ch-sp of a long mesh.

Chain 3 for corners.

Bind off, weave in ends.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Free Pattern: Festive Plarn Doily

  Experience the joy of recycling while adding some cheery color to your table with this plarn doily. One large outer bag from a large assortment pack of chips is used to create this festive piece, but you could use something similar like bread, rice cake, or frozen vegetable bags to make your own.

  Use as part of a centerpiece, or as an oversized coaster to brighten up your summer table. Make a set to double as funky placemats for a summer brunch. It would even make an interesting trivet for a cold dish at a picnic, or go great under a potted plant on a stand.

Finished size is 7" (17.8 cm) in diameter.

Skill level:

Plarn cut 1/2" (about 1 cm) wide, see description at top for examples
Hook size I/9 - 5.50 MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook to weave in ends

Round 1 of pattern (12 double crochet in the round) = 1/2" (about 1 cm) in diameter.

Get the most out of your plarn by cutting it in the spiral method. See here.

Stitches and abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Double crochet (dc)
Beginning (beg)
Back loop (BL)
Stitches (sts)


Begin with a slipknot.

Round 1:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 11 dc in farthest ch from hook. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3.
(12 dc)

Round 2:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc, ch-1), (dc, ch 1) in each of next 11 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24 sts)

Round 3:
Sl st into next ch-sp, ch 5 (counts as 1 dc, ch-2). (1 dc, ch 2) in each of next 11 ch-sps. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (36 sts)

Round 4:
Sl st into next ch-sp, ch 6 (counts as 1 dc, ch-3). (1 dc, ch 3) in each of next 11 ch-sps. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (48 sts)

Round 5:
(Sl st into next ch-sp. Ch 6, sl st in the BL of 3rd ch from hook, ch 3) 11 times. Sl st in next ch-sp. Ch 6, sl st in BL of 3rd ch from hook, ch 3. Join with a sl st to beg sl st. Bind off, weave in ends.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Free Pattern: Glow-in-the-Dark Star Jewelry

  When I was a kid, I was completely obsessed with anything that glows in the dark. Actually, I should admit that I'm still obsessed. And now my daughter is, too. After a trip to the craft store to introduce her to glow-in-the-dark plastic lacing (she calls it lanyard string), I started getting ideas. I bought an extra spool for myself to experiment with. My kid wants something special to wear for the Fourth of July, and I though these would be some cute accessories.

  The stars are made as separate one-round pieces, then joined to a crocheted chain, so you could easily make whatever you choose. Instead of jewelry, perhaps you would like to make a key chain, magnets, or a long garland to decorate indoors or out. Simply follow the directions provided, adjusting the number of chains, or attach single stars to something with glue or double-sided tape.

  Stars 1 and 2 use a picot stitch, while star 3 is made with only chains and slip stitches. All stars are just one round! Star 1 is 1 1/2" (3.8 cm) , star 2 is 1 1/4" (3 cm), and star 3 is 1" (2.5 cm) in diameter.

  If you've never crocheted with plastic lacing, it can seem difficult at first. The plastic doesn't slide smoothly on the hook, and the flat material tends to twist, causing it to come off the hook while completing a stitch. Before you begin, here are some tips to make your project easier:
  • To combat twisting, I spin the work in the opposite direction, right on the hook, every few stitches. Secure the loop on the hook with your finger and let go of the working yarn to do this.
  • When the plastic creates too much friction, I rub a tiny bit of mineral or vegetable oil on my hook, and even on my tension fingers, to help the material glide. *Pay close attention to the phrase "tiny bit", I mean a tiny bit, as in a drop, or you will have a greasy mess sliding out of your hands.  
  • Practice for a few minutes to learn how to work around these problems before you begin a project.
  • Pull gently if you need to unravel your work, because the plastic can stretch or break easily.
  • If your material is kinked after being unraveled, soak it in some warm water for a few seconds. Pinch it between a rag or paper towel to dry it while you wind it back on the spool, and it will be back to normal.
Skill level:

Plastic lacing - Glow-in-the-dark, or any color you wish...But how could you not choose glow-in-the-dark?
Hook size E/4 - 3.50 MM, or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook to weave in ends
Whatever you might need to create your accessories, such as jewelry findings, pin backs, key rings, etc.

4 rows of 5 single crochet = 1" (2.5 cm)

If you would like to use any of the stars for a different project, and would like them to be bigger, you can use the same pattern with a larger hook. The smaller stars are quite stiff, and hold their shape well. The more you increase your hook size, the more pliable they will be.

Single crochet (sc)
Picot - 1 single crochet, ch 3, slip stitch in third (3rd) chain from hook (top of single crochet just made).


Each star begins with a magic circle. All stitches are worked into circle. 

Star 1 (large):

Ch 4, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 1 sc. (1 sc, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook [picot], 1 sc) 4 times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. Pull stitches together by tightening magic circle, then secure end. Bind off, weave in ends.

Star 2 (medium):

Ch 4, sl st in 3rd ch from hook. Make 4 picot in circle, pull closed and secure end. Bind off, weave in ends. 

Star 3 (small):

(Ch 3, sl st) 5 times. Pull circle closed and secure end. Bind off, weave in ends.

To assemble jewelry shown:
Directions are for small, changes for large are in parenthesis ( ), and kids don't sit still for pictures.

For necklace:
Make (1) of star 1, (2) each of stars 2 and 3.
With plastic lacing: Ch 30 (45), join to point of star 2 with a sl st, ch 10, join to point of star 3 with a sl st, ch 10, join to point of star 1 with a sl st, ch 10, join star 3 with a sl st, ch 10, join star 2 with a sl st, ch 30 (45). Bind off, weave in ends, add clasps (join with a sl st to beg ch, bind off, weave in ends).

For earrings:
Make (2) of star 3.
Attach jump ring to the point of star, add chain. Attach chain to earring hook with another jump ring. This would also look awesome with multiple chains of stars at different lengths, but my model said that one is heavy enough.

For bracelet:
Make (2) of star 1, (1) of star 2.
With plastic lacing: Ch 1, join with a sl st to point of star 1. Ch 7, join to point of star 2 with a sl st, ch 7, joint to point of star 1. Ch 19 (24), join with a sl st to beg ch. Bind off, weave in ends.

For brooch:
Make (2) of Star 3, (1) of Star 2.
Using a bar pin, attach a jump ring to a point of each star 3. Add chain, attach to outer edges of pin with jump rings. Attach star 2 directly to center of pin.

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