Holiday Wreath: Achievement Unlocked

You guys! Remember this post I wrote, a mere four years ago, about how all I wanted to do was make a wreath for the holidays?

Well, after buying a kit, a styrofoam ring, reading the pattern, and letting it all sit in my craft room for over three years, I finally pulled it all back out again over the summer and was determined to have a wreath before Christmas came and went.

Unbelievably*, I made it happen. (Thanks, past Zoe, for starting in July; she knew Present Zoe would struggle to get this done.) I did have to force myself to stick with it, especially since I was knitting socks and finishing up other projects in between. (Let’s face it, some of those projects were direct procrastination to avoid the wreath.) I think it felt so tedious because the pattern is making a gigantically long parallelogram and doing single crochet only in the back loop, sometimes increasing, sometimes decreasing, the entire time. When you have to single out the back loop, that’s where it prevents the pattern from being totally mindless.

That said, when I finally got to the phase where I was wrapping the wreath, it was relatively easy.**

After sewing the wreath around the styrofoam form, I had to crochet all the components of the bow. There were three pieces to the bow and an additional attachment piece, making for four pieces in total. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but the design is quite good, and despite all the sewing at the end, it was worth it. It also added some necessary oomph and wow factor to an otherwise attractive wreath.

I haven’t decided where to hang the wreath yet (or perhaps save it in my gift pile?) but I am really happy I tried my hand at this. I would make another one, actually, but instead of more muted colors, I would go for a white and red peppermint/candy cane look to the wreath. I think that would look really good, maybe even with some subtle sparkle in it. If you’re interested in this pattern, you can find it on Ravelry and buy it directly from the designer. It used to only be a kit on Craftsy, which is how I ended up with mine, but now you can get it for the very reasonable price of $4.00. I did not opt to make the poinsettias, but if you’re a fan of them and want to make some by hand, you’ll have the option!

For the yarn, I used the stuff that came in the kit, and it was very decent acrylic yarn. The bow used up a leftover scrap cake of Caron Simply Soft (color: gold). It has a nice sheen to it and a bit more stiffness, so it’s not curling and it’s holding its shape, which is ideal.

Ho ho ho and all that fun stuff–if you decide to try this wreath, or perhaps you have already, please leave a comment!

*The pandemic certainly didn’t help my motivation level.

**Easy is relative here because most people want to Crochet or Knit a Thing and be done with it, but you will always have to weave in ends and many more times, you have to seam/sew something. Little pro tip, kids: don’t get into crocheting or knitting if you abhor the thought of sewing by hand. You’ll have to do it at some point! But you do also learn new skills, so there’s that.

Finished! Colorful Tunisian Triangles Pillow Cover

It took me a little while to do both halves of the aforementioned triangles pillow cover, but I did it! Part of the “finishing” is knotting all of the ends, weaving in others, and making sure the ends aren’t going to get loose. I had some time on my hands the other night while waiting for a family member to arrive, and after a couple of hours, the whole thing was done!

I did not do the crab stitch as suggested by the pattern; I merely crocheted the two sides together with one round of single crochet in the bright blue color and left it at that. My measurements for achieving gauge turned out to be pretty accurate, as the pillow cover wasn’t too big nor too short, but just short enough to allow the pillow to look plump within the cover.

It’s a 16″ x 16″ pillow and I used a 4mm hook.

Here’s the final photo:

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Although my fingers got a little numb after tying a ton of knots with the yarn ends, I really loved the texture and feel of working with Paintbox Yarns DK. I definitely recommend.

To read the original post in its entirety, the full text is below.

***

I have wanted to dip my toe into the graphghan game for a while now. If you don’t know what that is, check out this image search for Tunisian graphghans. Some of them are completely mind-blowing.

Essentially, each Tunisian simple stitch creates a square-like stitch that is denser than a standard crochet stitch, which makes it easy to plot “graphs” of more complicated images into a blanket. Some people do opt to make these projects with single crochet stitches, which works fine and I have seen some stellar work with single crochet, but in my opinion, color changes are much easier in Tunisian crochet. It has to do with being able to simply “loop on” your new color and move on. Other designers have also used the box stitch to create graphghans in the C2C (corner-to-corner) method — see Repeat Crafter Me, who has really perfected this technique.

What stopped me from attempting a graphghan was using 50-100 bobbins for a project right off, so I thought I’d get my start with a smaller project that still involved enough color changes to make it interesting and challenging. (Also, learning to use bobbins.)

Enter Poppy and Bliss! This designer is similar to Felted Button with her use of color. She definitely knows her way around Tunisian crochet and has created some beautiful designs. I purchased the Tunisian triangles pillow cover pattern ten months ago and promptly bought the yarn I would need, and that yarn has sat in my yarn cart for the better part of a year. Here’s how far I got: I wound four bobbins of the eight colors.

(By the way, in case anybody is wondering, I opted to use Paintbox yarn (acrylic) in the DK weight, which can be purchased from Love Crochet. This acrylic yarn is made in Turkey and despite it being DK with a yarn weight of 3, it is very fluffy and soft with a gorgeous array of colors. I was very pleased with being able to match up the colors quite nicely for the bright pastel version of the pillow. I would say my only gripe is that instead of the name of the color, they print the number of the color on the label.)

In addition to being a smaller and more manageable project, the pillow cover also means I don’t have to weave in the ends from the color changes. I took the designer’s advice and have knotted them together along the way so the color changes don’t create any loose or holey stitches, but otherwise, I have found this pattern to be relatively easy. She gives instructions on the color changes and how to read the chart.

If reading a chart intimidates you, trust me, I have been there. This is also an easy enough “advanced beginner” pattern that allows you to get comfortable with reading a chart without being overly confusing. It is not the same as reading a fair isle chart, which is something I’m working on learning.

I will caution anyone who wants to try this pattern that you will need to know a few basics about Tunisian crochet and having practiced those techniques on easier patterns will benefit you. For example, creating a selvedge, the return pass, tension, etc.

The most tedious and/or difficult aspects to the entire project thus far have been swatching and finding the right gauge to fit my 16″x16″ pillow, winding the bobbins, and getting started with all the color changes from the chain/foundation row. Once you get all of the colors onto your hook, off you go! (More details on this project can be found on my Ravelry projects page, but I am having to use a 4mm hook to get the right gauge vs. the 6mm hook the pattern calls for.)

One other difference for me with this project is that I am making two sides of the pillow with the pattern; I am not creating just one side and sewing it to fabric on the other side. It may seem daunting to do two, but I’m already 1/3 of the way through after only spending two nights on it in my free time.

I will post again when I’ve finished the project and will continue to put up photos as I go along — places to find me on social are below!

😀