Flat-worked crochet Christmas stocking

Last night I finished a project that has been the bane of my existence for probably about two months now. Behold, my new Christmas stocking, made to match the family set:

There are… so many things wrong with this project I’m not sure I even want to list them. I had to start the whole thing over when I was 85% finished because I realized that a) I had used too small a hook and would never be able to get the letters on, and b) I had forgotten to make the heel. That involved ripping everything out because I was low enough on white yarn that I wouldn’t be able to make a second stocking without cannibalizing the first. I had to do the top red muff section twice because the first time I was accidentally increasing on each round instead of staying true to size. When I was joining the two white sides together it ended up wrinkly because one of them was shorter — but only on one side. Don’t ask me how because I know very well that’s impossible. Because I was using frogged and re-balled yarn it was super kinky and I was constantly fighting splits. My letter spacing is all sorts of wonky and my ‘S’ is upside-down.

And you know what? I don’t even care. It’s FINISHED.

The big problem, I think, was just my own hubris: this is a pattern I created, and I’ve made it three times before. I relied far too much on my (faulty) memory of how it went, instead of digging out the actual pattern, with the above results. Ah, well… a lesson learned, I supposed.

Assuming that you’re making it correctly, this is actually a very easy pattern. The entire thing is worked flat and then joined, and only uses single crochet (with, optionally, some double crochet at the top just to make it go faster). I used a 4-weight yarn (good old Red Heart) and a G hook for this:

  1. Chain 31, turn. Single crochet across (30 stitches). Chain 1, turn.
  2. Repeat until you have 50 rows.
  3. On the turn, skip a stitch (to decrease) and then sc across. Ch 1, turn.
  4. On the return, skip the stitch right before you last one. Ch 1, turn.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have 11 rows in your decreasing section; this forms the heel. (On step 3 you will work 29 stitches across, on step 4 you will work 28 stitches, and so on.)
  6. Rotate your work 90 degrees. Single crochet 20 across. Ch 1, turn. Repeat 10 times.
  7. Decrease 2 stitches per row (one on each edge) to form the toe. Repeat six times or until your top row is 8 stitches across. Tie off, weave in end.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 to make second half of stocking.
  9. If you are going to be adding letters or any other embellishment, do those now. I used surface crochet to add my letters, but you could also do yarn embroidery, sew on felt, etc.
  10. Join the two halves together with a contrasting colour by single-crocheting around the edges.
  11. Make the cuff: single or double crochet around, joining your rows with a chain stitch and turning so that you’re alternating working the inside and the outside of the stocking (this prevents you from creating a spiral which will look uneven). When it’s long enough for your taste, form a chain of 20-30 loops to create a hanger. Join the bottom of your chain to the inside of your stocking near its beginning, tie off, and weave in ends.

And there you have it. I’ve not added dimensions because — to be perfectly forthright — I’ve made four of these and they’re all different sizes. A lot will depend on your hook size (I recommend a G but you may want to size up or down), yarn weight, tension, etc. If you’re not sure, make a swatch and see how you feel about it (ie: be cleverer than me!).

Aunt Thirza’s Lapghan

I made a lapghan! — otherwise known as a lap blanket, I suppose, but lapghan is way more fun to say than that. This is another piece for the prayer shawl ministry at church, made from a pattern provided by another woman who’s part of it; the above-named Aunt Thirza was her husband’s aunt. She apparently had made over seventy of these for a local hospital, crocheting well into her nineties. And it’s a great pattern! I will see if I can get permission to publish it — and then if I can translate it back out of the super-abbreviated version I wrote down.

This was made from a very large ball of Loops & Threads “Impeccable Big! worsted” yarn (yes, the italics and exclamation point are part of the actual name), in the colourway “earth”. I worked it all up on a J hook. It’s a very simple pattern where you’re just repeating two rows — one is a bunch of loops anchored to the row below with single crochet, and the other is clusters of double-crochet done in the loops, with a chain stitch in between them. At the finish, you’ve got a row of loops on each end in which to stick some tassels if desired. I like the result; it’s a little like granny stripes, except the blocks are stacked on top of each other instead of interlocked. I was also tickled to see that the Loops & Threads pooled!

Here we are with a banana for scale. This would be very easy to scale up into a larger project such as a full-size blanket, as the only thing you have to worry about is that your starting chain is divisible by four. This was a nice size to work with; not too big to carry around with me, and large enough to cover one regular-sized lap, or several small ones.

A Fall Shawl

Another month, another project for the prayer shawl ministry — this time a shawl (since we somewhat over supplied ourselves with baby blankets) in some pretty fall colours:

It felt like I was making this one forever, probably because I was putting it down for long swaths of time in between bursts of crocheting. It’s harder to want to have a project like this on my lap now that the weather is heating up!

For this shawl, I just did a very simple double crochet all the way across. The yarn was two skeins of Lion Brand Homespun and I think the colourway is Wildfire (I forgot to keep a wrapper… as usual). I used an N (9mm) hook which kept it nice and airy and helped it to work up relatively quickly.

I don’t think I would work with Homespun again. I like the way that it looks when it’s finished but it’s a pain to work with as it splits very easily and frays at the ends. Definitely not my favourite.

I do love the self-striping action, however. This picture (under fluorescent light) isn’t the greatest in terms of showing the actual colours — it’s darker, as you can see in the first picture which was taken beside a window — but it does show the stripes. I’ll award a point to Homespun on that account! (Probably still not enough points to use it again, though.)