I designed these little hanging decorations to add some colourful, homespun Hooky Goodness to my Christmas Tree this season, but there's no reason why they can't be used all year round and in all sorts of ways. I've had suggestions for using them as baby rattles, baby mobiles, as tags on wrapped gifts, or simply just as little decorative gifts to pass on to friends and family.
These are quick and satisfying little things to work up, ideal to use up those little itty bits of stash yarn that you might have lurking somewhere. I personally prefer to use cotton yarn for making decorations (here I've used Rico Creative Cotton), but any yarn would be fine. I also tend to switch down a hook size for making decorations which keeps the stitches quite tight and prevents the polyester stuffing showing through the gaps. So for example where the Rico cotton suggests a 5mm hook size, I switch down to a 4mm hook.
Before we begin, a little summary of the basic stitches. I'm writing using UK crochet terms ::
sl st [slip stitch] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch, then through the loop on your hook.
dc [double crochet] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (two loops on hook), yarn over and pull through both loops on hook (note :: this is equivalent to the US sc stitch)
htr [half treble]:: yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (three loops on hook), yarn over and pull through all three loops on hook (note :: this is equivalent to the US hdc stitch)
tr [treble] :: yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (three loops on hook), yarn over and pull through two loops on hook (two loops left on hook), yarn over and pull through remaining two loops (note :: this is equivalent to the US dc stitch)
To begin, chain 4 and join to form a ring.
Round 1 :: ch 2 (counts as 1 htr) then work 9 htr's into the ring, making 10 "spokes" in total (see above)
Slip stitch into 2nd chain of initial chain-2 to join the round. Fasten off.
You should be able to clearly see and count the ten stitches you've just created (picture above) :: you'll be working out of these stitches in the next round.
Join in a new colour by tying a knot close to the stitches, as pictured above.
Insert your hook into the stitch directly to the left of your knot, and pull a loop through to the front.
Round 2 ::
Chain 2 (counts as 1 htr), then work 1 htr into same stitch (as above)
**work 2htr's into the next stitch** (this makes a double "V" stitch, or an increase stitch).
Repeat between **, 8 more times.
At the end of round 2, you should clearly be able to see and count 10 lots of double "V" stitches, as pictured above. You'll now have 20 stitches altogether which you'll work out of for the next round.
Slip Stitch into second chain of initial chain-2 to join the round. Fasten off.
Round 3 :: Join in your new colour, hook it through to the front (as above) and chain 2 (counts as 1 htr). Work 1 htr into the same stitch as the chain....this is your first double "V" stitch.
Now work the following :: 1 htr in next stitch, **2 htr's in next stitch, 1 htr in next stitch**
Repeat between ** , alternating between the double"V" stitches and the single stitches. I find when I'm working this round that it helps to count 2 - 1 - 2 - 1 etc as I'm working, keeping track of the double stitches and the single stitches.
You should end the round with a single htr in the final stitch (picture above).
Slip Stitch into second chain of initial chain-2 to join the round. Fasten off.
Round 4 ::
This round is worked in DOUBLE CROCHET, and combines "Short dc" stitches with "Long dc" stitches. Don't panic, I'll show you what I mean.....
First off, join in your new colour as usual and hook it through to the front to begin.
Chain 1, then work 1 dc in next stitch (picture above).These are your Short dc's.
Now then...the next stitch is a Long dc and is worked out of the base of the previous row. Look at the picture above and see where I've stuck my needle?? You're looking for the little hole underneath the single htr from the pink row, can you see ????
Insert your hook into this hole, yarn over and pull through a loop to the front. Pull the loop right up over the pink stitches until it's level with the stitches you've just worked. Keep the yarn quite loose ok? As with a normal Short dc, you should have 2 loops on your hook, so yarn over and pull through both loops. That's one Long dc made.
Now make another one in EXACTLY THE SAME HOLE.....insert your hook into the hole (more or less over the top of the previous Long dc you just made), yarn over and pull a loop through to the front. Same as before, pull the loop right up until it's level with the top, remembering to keep the yarn quite loose as you work. Now yarn over and pull through both loops on your hook. That's your second Long dc made, it should be sitting very snuggly next to the first one, as pictured above.
Now working immediately to the left of the two Long dc's, work 1 dc into each of the next 2 stitches (pictured above). These are your two Short dc's.
OK, still with me?
Right-o, time for the next pair of Long dc's. Remember you are looking for that little hole beneath the single htr of the previous (pink) round...my needle in the picture above shows you where it is.
Just as before, work two Long dc's out of this same hole so that they sit snuggly together with each other.
Then work 1 Short dc into each of the next two stitches.
Continue working your way round the circle, alternating 2 Short dc's with 2 Long dc's .
You should end the round by working 2 Long dc's. You should be able to count ten altogether. Now Slip Stitch into the first chain (see my arrow above) to join the round. Fasten off.
Yippee!! Isn't that good? Now you may find that the last row has made the circle go a little bit wavy and wobbly...you'll perhaps need to stretch it out a bit with your hands and flatten it down. It helps if you make an effort to keep your tension quite loose when working that last round.
And this is probably very obvious, but you will of course need to make TWO identical circles for front and back of the Bauble.
[a Little Note :: if you fancy having a go at making your circles into a Star, you'll now need to hot foot it to THIS tutorial to add a fifth round of pointy triangle star-making bits].
Right, now for the Embellishing and Assembling.
Embellishing first....start by stitching a button to the centre of each circle. Then using some fine yarn or embroidery floss, attach a couple of beads and/or bells to the bottom of the circle, as pictured above.
The Hanging Loop ::
Make a slip stitch leaving a tail end roughly 6 inches long. Chain 30. Fasten off, leaving another 6 inch tail end (pictured above)
Bring yarn ends together and thread them both together through 2 or 3 beads. If your yarn is quite thick like the Rico cotton is, you will need to choose your beads carefully and find ones with nice big holes. Otherwise you will be using a few Choice Words trying to get them to thread. I can tell you that after many Choice Words with some very pretty but small-holed glass beads, I ended up using Little Lady's plastic beads from her bracelet making set as they were bright and colourful and the holes were Big.
When the beads have been threaded successfully, breathe out a sigh of relief. Then thread the ends of yarn onto a darning needle and stitch the beaded loop securely to the edge of the circle. Make sure it sits directly opposite the beads/bells you've already stitched on (see above) so that it hangs nicely.
Onto the Assembly now then....it's up to you whether you stitch or crochet your two circles together, either method will work well. I chose to crochet mine together.
Hold the two circles together (right sides facing out) and start at the bottom next to the bead/bell you stitched on earlier. Insert your hook through the INNER LOOPS ONLY of both circles (picture above) and draw the yarn through. Leave a tail end which you can darn in at the end. Working out of the next stitch, insert hook through the inside loops of each circle. Pull yarn through both loops, then through the stitch on your hook (Slip Stitch).
Keep working your way round, slip stitching through the inside loops of both circles....you'll be forming a neat little chain ridge around the edge.
When you are half way round, you'll come to the hanging loop :: simply continue to sl st either side of the beads, they should be stitched securely in place already.
About 2/3 of the way round you'll need to add in the stuffing. I used a small handful of polyester stuffing, but you could use whatever you have to hand (wadding, or perhaps even cotton wool would do the job). Don't use too much filling, you want it to be sort of padded, not stuffed. Continue to close up the gap with your slip stitches until you get back to where you started.
Snip off the yarn leaving a 6 inch tail end and fasten off the crochet. Thread the yarn end onto a darning needle and darn it in securely.
And there you have it :: one little Crochet Bauble Decoration. Cute eh??
Now skip off and make many, many more, you know you want to.
ps If you fancy having a go at making a Star, you'll need to make two circles as described above, then hot foot it to THIS tutorial to add a fifth round of pointy triangle star-making bits.
pps You can see and read more about my Decorations in this Ta-dah post.
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xx Thank you xx