As much as I love and adore crocheting blankets and am passionate about designing and making them, there are definitely times when a quick, creative fix is needed. Oddly enough, I mostly get hit by the urge to drop everything and make something small when I am part way through making something large - it's as if my Creative Mind craves a little bit of a detour when I'm on a long journey.
Over the past few years, mandalas have become my go-to solution when this kind of creative itch needs to be scratched - circles are quick and easy to make and a lot of fun. Plus, mandalas deliver plenty of opportunity for colour play which I find therapeutic, joyful and completely irresistible.
Around the middle of January, on an ordinary sort of a Wednesday afternoon, I suddenly felt compelled to make a fresh mandala for my dining table. At the start of the year I began buying small bunches of daffodils and narcissus from the supermarket, and I fancied that my jugs of bright blooms needed something super-pretty and a little bit Spring-like to perch upon. I dived into to my bag of Stylecraft Classique Cotton and pulled out the following six colours ::
✤ Sunflower ✤ Shrimp ✤ Shell Pink ✤ Wisteria ✤ Sky Blue ✤ Soft Lime ✤
As I was doing this on a complete whim and I needed my fix to be instant, I didn't waste time searching for a pattern. All I had to do was go to my own list of tutorials and find the pattern I wrote back in 2014 and get hooking. Instant gratification!
I designed the Attic24 Mandala Wheel to be a quick and simple make, something decorative that could be pinned to the wall or laid on the table to bring a flash of colour to the room. There are 12 rounds in total, so there are twelve colour decisions that need to be made when making this mandala. You could plan it all out in advance, or you could make each choice as you go along (which is what I do) - either way, the colour play is an important part of mandala making and I absolutely love it for that.
Mandalas can look quite complicated as they often use a whole combination of different stitches to create the rings of pattern. But I promise you that it's possible to take a very simple pattern (which mine is) and make something very beautiful and inspiring. Complete satisfaction right there in those stitches!
I have a whole collection of small jugs which I use purely for flowers, collected over many years. The one I'm using here was bought more than twenty five years ago from a craft fair, at a time in my life when I had very little money and £12.50 seemed like a huge amount to spend on a hand made jug. But I have used it and loved it dearly for over a quarter of a century and it brings me such a lot of pleasure, so I'm very glad I gave into my heart and made this jug mine all those years ago.
Do you like the idea of having a little bit of crochet on your table, or do you think it's a bit pointless? I'd love to know what you think of mandalas - they are such therapeutic, mindful, satisfying things to create even if you don't necessarily know what to do with them afterwards.
If you've been following my blog for a while you'll know about my involvement with Yarndale, and you may well know about the large Mandala Hoops I've made which get displayed outside under the trees at the festival. You can read all about the making of these big mandalas (including pattern links) in the following posts :
This year I want to make a collection of smaller hoops to join the big ones at Yarndale, and after I stumbled upon a beautiful pattern a few days ago I just had to give it a go.
I'm using Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK (my go-to yarn for mandalas), in the following colours (from the outside of the mandala inwards ::
✤ Soft Lime ✤ Peppermint ✤ Sky Blue ✤ Wisteria ✤ Plum ✤Busy Lizzie ✤ Mauve ✤ Shrimp ✤ Fondant ✤
These thin metal rings are perfect for making mandala hoops - you can find them easily on Amazon and they come in all different sizes. The ones I'm using at the moment are 30 cm diameter which is the size of a large dinner plate.
This pattern is called the "Spirit Mandala" designed by Tatsiana who writes a crochet blog called Lilla Björn Crochet. It was was gorgeous to make and I enjoyed the challenge of working some different stitches (hello popcorns!)
I used Tatiana's video tutorial to learn how she crochets her mandala to the hoop (which is a very neat method I have to say) and I am thrilled with the result.
One thing to remember when making mandala hoops - the finished crochet will need to be quite a bit smaller than the hoop you are using as you will need to stretch the mandala to open out the stitches and make it nice and taut. I find that the easiest way to do this is to use locking stitch markers (like these little plastic ones) to attach the mandala to your ring before you try and crochet that final round.
The end result is so pleasing to look at, I just love the way the stitches open out and breathe once the crochet is stretched out into it's hoop. I can highly recommend a spot of Mandala Therapy, it's a perfect, colourful quick-fix project for a dreary Winter's afternoon. Tempted????? Go on........you know you want to!!