Christmas Part 2: Doilies/Crochet Tutorial

One of the Christmas presents I made this year was doilies. Can you believe it? I couldn’t, but somehow I did end up making doilies and I gave them to my mother in law. She likes them, so that’s good. A successful experiment resulted in good gifts. What more could I ask for?

So how did I end up making doilies? Well…..I had heard about crochet thread and when I found it in the craft store, I wanted to try making something with it. I didn’t know what it could be used for, but I just thought it might be cool to make something with such thin yarn, after having done a lot of projects, in the past, with mostly thick yarn.  So I chose 2 colors I really like: orange and blue. Below are some pictures that show the progression of how I started experimenting to make a spiral shape. If you’re new to crochet, let me encourage you to try it. It’s fairly easy because there’s only one thing you need to know: grab yarn with hook and pull through loop. That’s it. Other than that you can experiment as much as you want with how to elaborate on that, such as first wrapping the yarn around the hook, then inserting into the loop and pulling through, or putting the hook into the same loop multiple times to pull yarn through, or skipping loops. There are endless possibilities. When I want to start a new project, I make a chain and then experiment with different kinds of stitches for a few rows and then look and see what happened. If I like it, I keep going. If I don’t, I just cut it off and start over, no big deal.

Pictures from left to right, top to bottom:

1. The spools of thread I chose and the smallest crochet hook I have.

2. Getting started: tie the crochet thread to the hook with a double knot.

3. My way of holding the yarn. (I’m sure there are other ways) The yarn attached to the spool goes around your index finger, under the next two fingers, and then over the pinky. This allows you to control the tension in the yarn that you’re feeding into the project. The other loose end of yarn you hold between your thumb and two middle fingers. Hold the hook with your other hand however feels comfortable.

4. Start grabbing the yarn (attached to the spool) with your hook and pull through. Do this several times. You get a chain.

5. I formed the chain into a circle by inserting the hook into the first chain stitch I made and then pulling the yarn through both loops. I then made 2 chain stitches to give some height to the next row.

6. I’m demonstrating a simple stitch. I think it’s called single stitch, but I’m not entirely sure. (I know how to do several stitches, but don’t know what they’re officially called.) First insert the hook into the chain loop next to the hook, then pull yarn through once. You now have 2 loops on the hook. Now pull the yarn through both of those loops and start over with next chain loop in the row. Exception: to give this circle a different look, I put the hook through the center hole of the entire chain, rather than in each chain loop to begin the stitches.

7-12 are under the picture.

7. After completing one row.

8. After the second row, it started to take a 3D shape so I knew I had to add stitches each row in order to make it stay flat.

9. Demonstrating different stitch. Maybe it’s called double or half double? Wrap yarn around hook once and then insert into next chain loop. Pull yarn through once. You now have 3 loops on the hook. Pull yarn through first 2 loops. You now have 2 loops on hook again. Pull yarn through these last 2 loops and then start process over with next chain loop. I think I also experimented with pulling yarn through only the first of 3 loops on this stitch, and then pulling through the last 3 to end the stitch. Don’t know what that would be called.

I feel like this is really hard to explain, that’s why I took a bunch of pictures, hopefully they’re clear enough.

10. Demonstrating 3 loops on chain as described in #9.

11. By having rows of different stitches, the height of the rows are different. I though this gave it a nice effect.

12. So I kept going alternating the different stitch types to give different heights to the rows. The safety pin I put there to mark where I began the row. Do you see the holes in each row on the right side? That’s because I was attempting to add stitches by adding a few simple chains at the beginning of each row to add height. This is what you have to do when you start a new row in square or rectangle form. But I realized for spiral form, all you need to do is increase stitches by putting 2 or 3 stitches into the same loop. So I employed this method the next time I made a spiral.

I experimented with different techniques and shapes and ended up with the 5 pieces pictured below.

Failure # 1: I tried making certain shapes in the row, by skipping loops and then putting multiple stitches in the same loop. But it made the rows pull too much so I ended up with a triangle shape. Then I tried redeeming this shape by making into a Christmas tree with ornaments, but the orange didn’t match at all and it was just hideous at the end, so I gave up and started over.

Failure #2: I tried making a diamond shape, but it didn’t really work, than someone suggested I add a circular piece on to make it look like a Christmas stocking, but it just buckled funny and didn’t really look right.

The spiral rug, circular and square ones I did end up giving to my mother in law. I realized after I made these that they were basically doilies, but I still kinda like them. At least they’re not off-white.

Below is a picture of a possible use for them.

Next time I’ll show what I made with the orange thread. What things have you made by crocheting?

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4 Responses to Christmas Part 2: Doilies/Crochet Tutorial

  1. Jenna says:

    Wow! You are fearless. This looks so complicated to me! I love the blue and white–when you first mentioned doilies, I was imagining those cream colored things you might find at an antique shop. However, you managed to infuse these with your personality! Very nice. =)

    • They were really fun to make. I was just playing around with different ideas and patterns and then all the sudden I realized, “wait a second these are doilies! That’s not so good.” But I also realized I did like the color and design anyway, so then I was ok with it. 🙂

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