Aren't the colours in this photograph beautiful? When I was searching for pictures of Hellebore flowers a few weeks ago, this image popped up on my screen and I was immediately smitten by those gorgeous, dusky pinks and purples. I knew when I was first planning my Winter wreath that I wanted to make hellebore flowers, as apart from snowdrops they are the only flowers I could think of that reliably bloom in winter. Plus I knew that the pinks and purples would provide just the right amount of warmth in amongst the very cool blues and greens of the crochet foliage I've been making.
It took me quite a few attempts to get the flower shape right, working the petals so that they overlap each other slightly, with just enough curl to stop the flower from looking too flat. Hellebores have a lot of stamens in the centre and it took me even more attempts to get this part of the flower right. At first I tried using artificial stamens (the sort that you can buy for sugar craft) but they looked too stark and false. I then messed up a couple of flowers trying to stitch (and then un-stitch) some yarny stamens in place. It all went a bit wrong and made me cross, and the flowers were duly slung in the bin and abandoned for a while. Eventually, I made more flowers and managed (just about) to get the hang of the stamens. I stitched loops of pale green and yellow merino yarn around the flower centre and then trimmed them down with sharp scissors.
The yarn went a bit fluffy, but I don't think it matters too much in the overall scheme of things. I'll be writing up the pattern for my hellebore flowers to share on my blog during the next week or so.
The other part of my winter wreath which I wanted to share with you is the little pine cones I hooked up in January. In typical fashion, I crocheted them in a whirl of wintry excitement one snowy afternoon and didn't bother to make one scrap of pattern notes at the time (tut tut, should have written it in my Book of Days!). However, I did take a few quick photos which has helped me to remember, plus I've just had a reeeeeally close up look at one and counted all the little bobbles so I can roughly tell you how to make one.
Snowy Little Pinecone
You will need some scaps of DK yarn in pale brown and white and a 3.5mm hook.
I'm writing in UK crochet terms.
To begin :: using brown yarn, chain 15.
:: Row 1 :: starting in 2nd chain from hook, work 1 dc in each chain across. Turn. (14 sts)
:: Row 2 :: Chain 3 (counts as 1 tr), then work 3 tr's into first dc. Work 4 tr's into each dc to end. Fasten off, leaving a 20cm tail end for stitching up. (56 sts)
:: Row 3 :: With right side facing, pull a loop of white yarn through top of chain-3 at start of previous row. Chain 2, slip stitch into top of chain-3 (chain loop made).
*In next tr (slip stitch, chain 2, slip stitch)*
Repeat between ** making little chain-2 loops in the top of each treble stitch of row 2. Fasten off.
Your rows of crochet should pretty much be curling themselves into a pine-cone-esk spiral without much assistance. Thread a darning needle with the tail end of brown yarn. Start from the tip/top centre of the pine cone and curl your crochet around, securing with small stitches. Keep working around/down, shaping the little pine cone and securing with stitches as you go.
They turn out quite cute - a little bit round and fat perhaps, but I do quite like them like that. I made four for my winter wreath, two snowy ones and two plain brown ones.
The very last things to be made for my winter wreath this week were some snowflakes. I went to my local shop to purchase some white crochet thread and a 1.5mm steel hook and entered into the old fashioned world of thread crochet. Oh. My. Goodness. This kind of fine, fiddlesome, micro-crochet work is both naggingly irritating and strangely addictive all at once. It made my toes curl with concentration.
I managed to hook up a small flurry of teeny tiny snowflakes (no patterns for these folks, they kind of made themselves), they turned out oh so cute!
I mean, just LOOK at this itty-bitty little thing, it only measures 18mm across! I honestly can't believe I made something so small, they are so different from anything else I've ever crocheted. I made nine altogether and am planning on adding some little pearl beads to the centre, and possibly a bit of extra stitch-work when I attach these little things to my wreath. We'll see how it goes.
And that, my friends, is that....all the components for my winter wreath are now finished. There are 81 pieces of crochet altogether, not including the wreath base and the extra buttons and bling that will be added here and there. I spent this morning photographing it all laid out (just as I did for my Autumn Wreath) and it's now all pinned in place ready for The Big Stitch-Up. You can expect a grand, wintry Ta-dah moment any time soon, just in the nick of time before Spring arrives. I can't wait to see it all finally come together.