When the afternoon wind picks up across the bay, we retreat from the front porch to the courtyard.  A warm and golden nook, rich in whimsy, colour and fragrance.  A lovely spot for wiling away an afternoon.  Mum climbed chairs and draped fabric.  I searched through a tattered paper bag of yarn – filled with knitted projects from so long ago.  I think it was the start of a blanket.  There’s also plenty of leftover mustard coloured yarn from the cardigan my Nanny knitted me for my eighteenth birthday.  That’s good – it was attacked during the great moth debacle of 2006 and needs some repairs to the cuff and neckline.

There was also a dear little knitting nancy.  Isn’t Mlle Nancy just the sweetest thing in a knitter’s basket?  Have you spent years lifting those wee loops over the nails, producing metres and metres of cord, with little idea of what to do with it, apart from dolls house rugs that is.  We’ve made plenty of those.

I think, if I was to search through every box in Bootville, I would find enough knitting-nancy-cord to take to the Elsternwick shops and back.  And ever the enthusiast, I am knitted more on the journey home …

… however, sitting in the courtyard, whilst Mum pondered the best way to suspend her shade canopy, I hit upon a brilliant use for this here red cord – inspired by the crocheted motifs I was stitching from that lovely book I shared yesterday.

See, I’ve learnt a couple of really neat new-to-me techniques that I so enjoy, I’ve been using them over and over and over … the slip ring (instead of chain 4 or 6 etc. and join ring ), making my stitches into the back loop only (provides a lovely “running stitch” effect) and creating loops on the underside so as to add extra layers.  Add that to some balls of 5 ply baby yarn that was in yet another bag of wool that Mum dug out of somewhere, and I designed a wee flower that just begs to be added to some knitted cord for a Christmas garland.

I’ve not yet finished my Christmas garland but figured that since it will take at least a week or so – and you might like to make one too and will also need some time before you put up the Christmas decorations to get it done – I would provide a wee tutorial right now, with just six finished and as many more to go as I am happy to make.  Would you like to crochet and knit a Christmas garland?  Course you would :-)  If you don’t have a knitting nancy doll, you can knit your cord instead – it’s just icord.

Okay … here’s the deal.  And please remember that this Christmas garland is an original pattern made by me and is for personal use only.  Cool!

:: A Christmas Garland Tutorial by Lily Boot ::

Gather your supplies – 5 ply yarn (Sport weight) for the flowers, 8 ply (DK/light worsted) for the leaves, 8 ply for the knitting nancy/icord, and 5 ply for the central stamen.  I used a 3mm crochet hook for all the crochet (courtesy of my brilliant Mollie Makes magazine!) and a yarn needle for attaching the flower to the cord.

Make your cord!  As long as you want.  I’ve produced about 3 metres.  I shall probably keep going  – the longer, the merrier :-) – well, until I get bored.

:: For the flower ::

Make a slip ring (here’s a really great description with instructions and pictures)

:: Round 1

Chain 3 (to represent the first treble), make 13 more trebles (tr) into the slip ring.  Pull the slip ring tight.  Slip stitch (ss) the top of the last treble into the top of the 3rd chain.  You now have 14 stitches to work from for the second round.

:: Round 2

Chain 2 (to represent the first double), *make 2 doubles (dc) in the back loop only of the next stitch*.  Repeat from * to * 12 more times.  Slip stitch the top of the last double into the top of the 2nd chain.  You now have 27 stitches to work from for the third round.

:: Round 3

Chain 6.  * Slip stitch into the next three stitches.  On the third of these stitches, chain 6*.  Repeat from * to * 7 more times.  Slip stitch into last two stitches.  You now have 9 loops to work in for the fourth round.

:: Round 4

*In the next loop, make 12 tr.  Make 1 dc in the second slip stitch*.  Repeat from * to * 8 more times.  You now have 9 petals.  Fasten off.

:: Round 5

Turn flower over.  Working on the back, fasten green yarn for leaves to the stitch underneath the centre of the first petal as per the photograph.  Work 3 chain.  Slip stitch into the stitch underneath the centre of the next petal.  Repeat until you are back to the beginning, making a slip stitch into the first green stitch.  You now have 9 green leaf loops on the back of your flower to work for the sixth round.

:: Round 6

In each green, work 1 dc, 1 half treble (htr), 2 tr, 1 double treble (dtr), 2 tr, 1 ht, 1 dc.  Repeat in each loop.  Finish with a slip stitch into the original green stitch.  Fasten off.

:: Attaching the flower to the icord ::

Cut a piece of the stamen yarn, at least 50cm long.  Using this, make 2 firm stitches through your icord as per the photograph leaving a tail of at least 5 cm in your position of choice.

Place your flower on top, bringing the needle with the stamen yarn up through the centre of the original ring.   Switch from yarn needle to crochet hook.

Pick up a loop of stamen yarn through one of the original centre trebles.  Make 5 chain.  Take directly across (from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock) and slip through the opposite original centre treble.  Repeat two more times (second time, going from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock).

Switch back to yarn needle.  Take the end of the stamen yarn back through the flower to the back of the icord where the 5 cm tail awaits.

Tie the two tails together in a reef knot.  Stitch the ends into the icord – one in one direction, the other in the opposite, as per the photograph.

Your first flower is finished!  Now, repeat as many times as desired :-)

I hope these instructions are clear.  I think this is the first crochet pattern I have ever written.  So if you find a mistake, I do apologise.  I have used these instructions 4 more times myself and they make sense to me, but if they fail to make sense to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me – lily(at)blockaday(dot)com – and I will do my best to help!

I hope you love making these flowers and the Christmas Garland as much as I do.  Send me photos of your work!  I would love to see what you make :-)


postcards from the beach – crochet a christmas garland!

4 thoughts on “postcards from the beach – crochet a christmas garland!

  • November 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Your flowers are adorable.
    Xlent use of those Knitting Nacy cords.
    Can’t wait to see what else ya make.
    Thanx for sharing.

    • November 9, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Glad you like it! I’m working on some more crocheted flowers at the moment – trying for a Marimekko look and will make them up as a cushion for the sofa :-) Tune in soon to them!

  • November 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Did you make the i cord for the Rosey aran sweater on the Nancy ?
    Yes hanging a few metres of fabric certainly makes an outside space special and provides shade, I use my small “stash” of quilt back fabrics, for this, and also some pieces of batik sarong lengths, just lovely !

    • November 9, 2012 at 10:27 am

      No – I knitted the icord for the rosy aran on two double pointed needles – cause it’s knitted into the cardigan as you go – Kate Davies has really good instructions for it in her pattern for the Blaithin (http://katedaviesdesigns.com/designs/blai%CC%81thi%CC%81n/). But I certainly have thought about making icord to use as piping on cushions! That could be fun :-) I’m going to make Mum some red bunting to edge her sun shade with for Christmas. The batik sarongs would look so pretty – like sun catchers!

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