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Last Minute Crochet Jewelry Gift–How to

I’m crocheting these festive bangles for quick holiday gifts (Hanukkah, solstice/yule, Christmas), hostess gifts (I have five holiday parties to attend), and for myself. It’s relaxing now to make them. I’ll wear some to the parties.

Each completed bangle is costing me about 50¢ (not including labor, a.k.a. the love in every stitch ❤️).

“Solstice Bangles” Free Pattern

Below is the complete pattern for what I’ll call “Solstice Bangles” because tomorrow morning is the Winter Solstice (first day of winter). I contemplate this sometimes as I crochet around the bangles; it’s a satisfying “full circle” feeling. I’m completing another sparkly “wheel of the year”.

Skill level

The starter pattern is Beginner-friendly. So many ways to get fancy with it. Add some challenge with wire or beads.

Materials

This section looks long because it includes tips for substituting with items you have on hand.

  1. Bangle “blanks”: Look for thin, narrow, permanently closed (not hinged or locking) metal bangles. They’re often sold as a group to be worn stacked, meaning all at the same time. If they are labeled with a size, choose only “large” because any crocheting you add will reduce the final inner circumference. I don’t want any tarnishing or chipping, so I prefer to buy them exposed to air without a package wrapper. If they have soldered seams, check them for strength. This is especially important for gifts because you don’t know how much force someone will use to slide it on over their hand. I only buy them locally so that I can test the seam and finish of each one. Over the years I’ve kept an eye out for them in places like Claire’s, Wal-Mart, Target, etc. The quality varies wildly. I can recommend the ones in Wal-Mart now (pictured). They come in bunches of 15-18 bangles for $4.88.
  2. Yarn, if you’re not adding beads: Here’s where you can use the interesting embroidery braids, flosses, and fine novelty yarns languishing in your stash. My first choice is a fancy metallic Kreinik braid type if I’m not adding beads. My little 5-meter spool can cover two, possibly three skinny bangle blanks. Some fingering and lace weight yarns would work, and any crochet thread size. Beginners: start with a sock yarn or size #3 or #5 crochet thread, and no beads. Then graduate to a fancy metallic floss/braid type, then try very fine wire without beads first (30ga to 32ga thickness).
  3. Yarn if you’re using beadsI’ve had the best luck crocheting with wire. The wire holds the beads in place the best for me. Wire is a unique crochet experience. If you’ve never tried it, please see my newsletter issue on it, or the Embracelet pattern.
  4. Crochet hook: This is easy. Use whatever hook size that makes it easiest for you to crochet tightly and evenly.
  5. Beads (optional): I like very small beads for this. I don’t go much larger than “e-beads” (size 6 seed beads). Beads with small holes also work better for this so that they don’t jiggle and shift around. This means gem, chip, and pearl beads are great! You can use a larger accent bead for a tassel finish.
  6. Sealer, stiffener, adhesive, fine yarn needle, etc. (optional): You might wish to use a fabric protectant such as Scotchgard if your yarn is an absorbent fiber. I used three coats of clear nail polish to secure a tassel of metallic embroidery floss because it doesn’t hold knots well. I may use this, or some clear fabric paint, on the inner surface of a bangle to keep the stitches from twisting around the bangle.

Pattern Abbreviations

  • ch = chain stitch
  • sc = single crochet (UK/AUS: dc)
  • ss = slip stitch

Crochet a Basic Solstice Bangle

Step 1: Leave a 4″ yarn end that you can crochet over it, weave in later with a needle, or leave hanging with a bead or tassel. Crochet all stitches tightly. Slip stitch around the metal bangle tightly, *ch 1, ss, repeat from * until bangle is covered.

This is up to you: use fewer stitches to cover the bangle by stretching them taut around the bangle. They’ll be less likely to twist and shift around the bangle, and you’ll see more of the metal. Or, use an excess of stitches for a different look: I love the wavy zig-zag texture of the (ch 1, ss) combo. You’ll see much less of the metal this way.

Step 2: When you’ve crocheted the number of stitches around the bangle that you like, join the last stitch to the first one. I remove my hook from the stitch loop, insert the hook in the first ss, and pull the last stitch loop through it with the hook, then fasten off.

Step 3: Decide what you want to do with those yarn ends. Weave them in. Or, string an accent bead onto both ends, knot them, and trim ends close to the bead. A third option is to tie the ends together, cut more yarn lengths, then add to the yarn ends and tie into a bundle to make a tassel.

Step 4, optional: If you add a fabric protectant, test a swatch first. You could coat the inner rim with a glue or sealer to prevent stitches from twisting around the bangle. Add a drop to knots if they might loosen with wear.

Add Challenge

The basic Solstice Bangle pattern is crazy simple, right? Add just one variable and it’s a different experience. For example:

Add other stitches or change them completely. You could try all sc. I used such a fine red wire for a beaded bangle that I had to use sc instead of ss to make them more visible. Embracelet is an example of using love knots.

Hold two different glittery strands together as you crochet, or use 6-strand embroidery floss. (Managing multiple plies as you crochet so tightly around a bangle does get tricky.)

Just add beads. That’ll keep you busy! I like to add one or more beads to the ch of the (ss, ch 1).

Use wire as the yarn. A thicker wire such as 26ga may be difficult for some people to crochet with, but it sure shows up well, and makes a statement even without beads. It also holds up nicely and is less likely to twist around the bangle. Finer wire is great for showing off beads.

Try to crochet the wire as tightly as you can. (It will still be looser than you intend.) When you’re done, tug on each bead a bit while also giving it a half-twist. This will tighten the stitch around the bead and bangle. I also compress everything by pressing and scrunching the stitch loops together into the bangle. I guess you could consider this a “blocking” method for wire jewelry?

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Project Tests for New Crochet Classes

Love knot hexagonal mesh is beaded in such a way that a cluster of them looks like a sea urchin.
View project page for this “Bead Urchins Cuff” in Ravelry.

I’m still testing new crochet designs…

…for the five classes I teach next month! This started months ago. It never stops, actually.

I have other new crochet ideas in progress for this year’s classes too. For Tunisian Eyelet Meshes I have a draping collapsible “Leanin’ Loopholes” wrap to finally start when the new Lotus colors arrive. Another project in motion for the Stitch Games class is an argyle (only a few rows done, no photos yet).

When CGOA puts out a call for class topic proposals in the fall, I send more than enough: all the topics that I’ve enjoyed teaching in the past, plus interesting variations on them, plus new ones. Designing new crochet examples starts the moment I find out which ones I’ll be teaching. (Not on purpose, it just happens.)

Meanwhile

Meanwhile I stand ready (with camera) to receive a giant new lot of Lotus yarn. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new colors. Doris has her designing cones already so I know UPS will be here any day. Once the yarn arrives–on giant cones–I get some of it turned into Z-Bombes (1-pounders). A lot of it will be “pull cakesASAP.

I also stand ready to design with it. I’ll need some new crochet for the road trip up to the conference, right? Doris got started immediately with a new design in emerald green. This reminds me that I also need to lock in the new color names for the ball bands and snip cards.

I’m on Day 35 of my 50 blogging days of crochet conference prep and I’m feeling behind! I still need to get some crochet patterns reformatted into print versions (for some of my classes and for kits in the market booth).

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Beaded Tunisian Crochet Test

Same Tunisian Extended Net used for Smokestack and Mesmer patterns but in Lotus yarn with beads!

I love preparing to teach crochet classes for the big CGOA conferences every year because I try things I’ve been meaning to for months. Like yesterday. Today I’m testing instructions in my class handout for Steeked Tunisian Lace. I figured while I’m at it, I might as well throw in some beads.

I haven’t used this swatch for a project because the beads would shift around a bit with use. A larger project could also get heavy. I would need to use tighter stitches, or larger beads, or a different yarn (or all of the above) to make the beads stay where they are.

Beads aren’t part of the class, but I’ll have the swatch handy if someone asks.

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How to Crochet Slip Knot Variations

Steps to do a slip knot with more wraps when you need a decorative one.
View the above image full size.

 

Here’s the follow-up how-to for yesterday’s “Pros & Cons of the Starting Slip Knot” post. I’ve created photo step outs for two promising alternatives to the basic starting slip knot. The first is what I call the Buff Slip Knot, shown above. The second is the Three-Loop Starting Slip Knot.

Special Slip Knots for Crochet

The Buff Slip Knot

Like our general-purpose slip knot, the Buff version offers a slip loop that you adjust by tugging on the longer yarn end. Unlike many other knots I tested, the longer yarn end is waiting for you up where the slip loop is rather than down at the bottom of the knot near the short yarn end. Stays tidy-looking this way.

Tying it is like tying a basic slip knot that has more wraps. A crochet beginner might wish to come back to this one later. Follow the four steps shown above. (View the high-resolution image).

I listed ten possible functions crocheters might need from the starting slip knot in yesterday’s post. The Buff Slip Knot variation is an especially good candidate for advantages #6 and #10 on the list. Try it when you need or want a visible crochet slip knot that is nice looking. It’s symmetrical in more than one way. It’s also beefier if you wish to start with a large-holed bead accent.

The Three-Loop Slip Knot

This one may seem odd. Why would anyone want a crochet slip knot with three starting loops? This one is a great way to start right off crocheting with a finished, usable button loop, hanging loop, or other handy use for a secure loop. Think jewelry, cords and straps, and how about potholders?

Chained loops look less delicate than the satiny fine-grained texture of the puffpearls.
Puff stitches look finer than the chain stitches of the clasp loop!

Normally we’d start with a basic slip knot, crochet some chain stitches, then slip stitch them together to form a loop of chains. These work great for most things. Occasionally, chain stitches are too thick or textured for what I need. This tends to happen for me with jewelry projects. I’d like a slim loop to fit under a button clasp. The chained loops of these Puffpearl necklaces look unnecessarily chunky to me.

Another example is when a crocheted charm or pendant is designed to dangle. I’m thinking the Three-Loop one would have been a sleeker choice for the tops of the Lovebud Vines.

Three-Loop: How to Do It

The Three-Loop Slip Knot variation is similar to making a basic slip knot except: take the first 16″ or so* of your starting yarn end and fold it in half first. Use the fold to make the slip knot. Don’t pull the folded end all the way through.

3 steps to making a standard slip knot with a doubled length of yarn to result in 3 loops, not 1.
View higher-res image.

*Use a longer length than 16″ if you’ll be crocheting both ends together throughout, like I did in image #6 below. It’ll depend completely on each project. (It’s a great way to avoid weaving in the end.)

Adjust and tweak the final desired size of the loops first before tightening completely. Then, pull the knot tight enough to give it a streamlined look.

Starting slip knot variation: this one has 3 loops. One goes on your crochet hook; after crocheting, two loops are left.
How the 3-loop slip knot looks with a simple foundation chain. View full size.

Here again is a feature I appreciate: the long yarn end is waiting close to the loop that goes on the crochet hook. This means you won’t have to see a stringy strand of yarn traveling over the knot, which would look messy, asymmetrical, and unnecessary.

Updated November 2018. It’s part of an experimental blog post series: Vashti’s How to Crochet Book. Next post: Hand Chaining, a Straddler of Worlds.
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Beaded “Delta” Types of Crochet Lace

I have some fun photos of beaded crochet swatches to share: overflow from newsletter issue #62, “Delta-Type” Crochet/Hexagonal Lace Types. Click on each photo to enlarge it and see comments.

Note: I’m using “delta crochet” to refer to a category, not for a single kind of stitch pattern, and not for triangular items such as shawls. I mean geometrically a type of lace grid. In the four-sided lacy net category we have the filet type (square/rectangular spaces that stack up in columns), and the fishnet or diamond mesh type, which have diamond-shaped spaces that are offset/staggered. “Delta” is pretty well known to mean triangle, whereas a term like “isometric” might be less helpful. If you have a better term to suggest than “delta,” please leave a comment, thanks  🙂

The gist of the newsletter is: Crochet nets of three-sided triangular lacy holes (or “spaces”) have a fundamentally different kind of lace structure, or grid. You can create them with several different kinds of crochet stitches, and they all differ from nets with four-sided spaces in looks, stretch/drape properties, and the experience of crocheting them.

When I experimented with beading delta laces, interesting things happened. Adding beads to love knots is in some ways very similar to beading chain stitches. I haven’t even tried several more ways to add beads to the ones shown here. Adding beads to the classic tall-stitch delta type, though, is more limited. It would be super tricky* to add beads to a whole post of a tall stitch.

*By “super tricky” I mean unpleasant and perhaps impossible LOL.

Check back, I’m swimming in swatches and blogging them all – my goal is a short blog post most days per week. I love comments!