Saturday, January 16, 2016

Golden Apples in Silver Filigree

"Like golden apples in silver filigree is a word aptly spoken." Proverbs 25:11. Maimonides said what this meant was the truth is the golden apple, but nobody will get it unless it is presented in a way that people can understand, which is the silver filigree.

Anyway I think golden apples are a better description of this mandala than barnacles, which was my first thought.


First of all, all my joins are invisible joins. I don't start with a slip stitch and I don't end with one. I start with no loop at all. I start the first stitch with nothing on the hook. Insert hook, YO and pull through foundation only, then one more ch for sc and 2 more ch for dc. Then after I complete the last stitch, I cut the yarn to about 6 inches, pull the loop on the hook out, thread the yarn onto a darning needle, wrap it around the top of the first stitch, and thread it back through where I pulled it out. If the round is sc then I just carry the yarn to the back, tie it to the start piece with an overhand knot (first half of a square knot), and weave the end in. Then I weave in the other end. Other ways are possible, but that's how this was made. In the case of dc, I have a tutorial here about how I make the invisible join. It's my own idiosyncratic method, so of course there are other ways to do it.

Yarns used: Vanna's choice linen, white, charcoal grey, silver grey, toffee, grey marble, and mustard, and a couple of scrap bits that I have no idea what they were originally.

Step 1. Make a mandala that ends with 72 stitches, and then make 12 shells around.

Directions for this mandala are:
Round 1: Puce (a bit of yarn I've had forever) Start with magic loop, ch3, then 11 (dc, ch1), ending with invisible join around 3rd ch of ch3. Pull loop tight. 12 dc and 12 ch1 sp.
Round 2: Gold (also yarn I've had forever, in fact the first yarn I ever bought for myself) 2 dc in each ch1 space. 24 dc.
Round 3: (Linen) 1 hdc in each dc. LOOSELY. This stitch was not the best choice, because it was too tight, but if crocheted loosely, the next round will spread the stitches out and flatten them. 24 hdc
Round 4: (White) 2 dc in each hdc (48 dc).
Round 5: (Charcoal grey) 1 sc in each dc (48 sc).
Round 6: (Silver grey) dc 2 tog, ch 2 around. (24 ch2 sp).
Round 7: (Toffee) 3 dc in each sp. (72 dc).

An alternative is to make Wink's standard mandala up to round 6. Round 6 ends with 72 stitches. Her directions also illustrate magic ring and another way to do an invisible join.

Then make the shells. I used grey marble. Because of the way I join, I start with half a shell. Pull a loop through, ch2, 2 dc. Then (skip 2 st, sc in next, skip 2 st, 6 dc in next) 11 times. skip 2 st, sc in next, skip 2 st, 3 dc in first st, end with invisible join.

Make the first small circle. (Mustard) Start with 12 dc in a magic ring, and pull tight. As described above, my first dc is 3 ch, then 11 dc, then invisible join.
(Charcoal Gray) 2 sc in each dc around; join. If you would like, repeat steps 1 and 2 11 more times, to make the insides of all 12 little circles.
(Linen) LOOSELY, or using a larger hook, make 1 sc in each sc around. Join.
Make second circle and join it to the first. Make rounds 1 and 2 as for first circle, then make just 2 sc of round 3. Pull the loop out slightly and remove the hook.
Insert the hook into any stitch of the first circle and pull it through. Tighten it only enough to take up the slack (remember this round needs to be loose on all the small circles).
Complete the sc in the next space of the second circle.
One more time, remove the loop from the hook and pull it through the next st on the first circle.
Complete the second join and continue with sc around LOOSELY. Join to the first sc.
Make third circle and join it to the second. There should be 11 stitches between the two joins on the outside of the loop of circles and 9 stitches between the two joins on the inside of the loop of circles. So the first loop of the joining stitch should be pulled through the second circle 10 stitches from the previous join, counting from the bottom of the loop of circles.

One more time, remove the hook and pull the loop through the next st of the previous circle. Complete the sc and then sc around, joining to the start of the round. Repeat the previous step for circles 4 to 11.

Join the last circle to the previous circle. Then make 11 sc in the next 11 st, and remove the hook. Counting back from the first join along the inside, pull the loop through the 11th st. Complete the sc and pull the loop through the next st, sc to the first st of this round and join. Now the ring of circles is complete.
The next round will be worked on the inner mandala. The ring of circles will be attached by pulling loops through the inside scs of the ring of circles. However, it is more convenient to start the process by pulling a loop through one of the small circles first. Pull a loop through the second sc from the right on any small circle.
Make a dc in the fourth dc of any shell.
Remove the hook and pull a loop through the next st of the inner circle. sc in the next st of the inner mandala, 5 times. Remove the hook and pull a loop through the next st of the inner circle. dc in the next st, which should be the 3rd dc of the next shell. Remove the hook.
Pull the loop through the second inner sc of the next circle. Make a dc, and repeat the previous step.
Repeat the previous step 10 more times. Now the way I joined this round was as follows. I cut the yarn to 6 inches and pulled out the last loop. I threaded it onto a darning needle and carefully joined to the first stitch by replacing the original top stitch. I did this by threading the yarn around where the top stitch was and removing the top stitch afterwards, and then poking the two ends behind the mandala and weaving them in. Alternatively, a slip stitch judiciously placed would work, but I didn't do it that way, so I can't say how to do it.

Finally, add a round in linen to the entire mandala. Start at the top of any small circle. Work 2 sc into every sc until 1 st before where it's joined to the next circle. Skip 1 st on this circle and skip 1 st after the join on the next circle. Then 2 sc in each sc, 9 times, always omitting one st on either side of where two circles are joined. Finish with an invisible join.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Afghan for the New Year

I finished the inside of this afghan last month (last year) using the continuous flat braid join from the tutorial on cypress textiles (here). I had to wait a few days into the new year for the border book (Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman), but it was worth the wait. This border was exactly what I wanted, and I finished it today. I love this afghan and it's mine! I made it for myself. I'm sure more creations will ensue to give to family and friends, but for now I've made myself a very nice present.