Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jewel Heptagonal How-to

This purpose of this page is to serve as visual support for the Jewel Heptagonal Pattern as found on a previous blog page.

A final potholder using this pattern is seen in the photo above. The one with the black trim is a completed two-sided potholder. The potholder with the green trim is the front side only and is the one pictured step-by-step in the series of photos that follows on this page.

On this page you will be guided by:
1. photos of yarns and tools used to make the green edged potholder front
2. photos of the step-by-step process
3. general explanations and insider tips about the steps

For the exact pattern, go to the Jewel Heptagonal Pattern page.

Photo 2
Yarns: The yarn used for the main body of the potholders is Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Cotton."* The lighter of the two here is called Ivory Print. The darker is High Sierra Ombre. Other possible cottons for the main body that will give a jewel-like look to the finished potholder are: **1.) Lily's Sugar 'n Cream color Jewels which is an ombre in purples, blues and green. 2.) Lily Sugar 'n Cream color Painted Desert, which is an ombre very much like the Ivory Print but not as much of the lighter, ivory color. Other yarns used to complete the potholder: J&P Coats Black Royale Fashion crochet thread size #3; Hobby Lobby "I Love This Cotton" (black), and any matching cotton color for the center such as other colors in "I Love This Cotton," Paton's Grace or Omega Sinfonia.

*It is important to make potholders of cotton or felted wool. Acrylic can burn, melt and smell badly if exposed to intense heat.

**If you use one of these heavier cottons, the pattern and hook sizes are different. Email me for the adjustments.

Tools: Crochet hooks size F and G, two blunt-nosed needles (one large and one smaller) and scissors, of course.

Let's get started.

Photo 3
Chain 5 and make a loop. Then either make 2 rows of hdc's around (increasing as necessary) or one round of tr crochet.

Photo 4
This photo shows that you are going to make long sc spike stitches over the previous row or rows by going down through the center and back up to complete your sc. You can see about a third of the piece is covered with spike stitches in this photo.

The purpose of the spike stitches is to make the center have dimension to look a little like a jewel.

Photo 5
This photo shows spike stitches all around. It could have more of them to cover the round beneath. You can see how the center puffs out using this stitch.

Photo 6
Using the thinner crochet thread (size 3) and going into the front loops only of the previous round, crochet either a row of hdc or dc. You will not want to make this round lie flat; it should cup. In the next round it will fit perfectly.

A good number of stitches to complete this round is 42.

Photo 7
The next row of black will be crocheted in the back loops of both the black and the lime green. Just sc through both the black and lime colors. This will make the first round of black stand up and form a raised ring around the center green color.

The purpose of the two black rounds is to make a "setting" around the green "gem" center.

The raised black also adds interest to the potholder so that it is not just flat.

Photo 8
I like to have 42 st when I finish the black. This is perfect for starting the main ombre color. The potholder is a heptagon, a seven-sided object. The first segment of the main color will have seven st's: six hdc's followed by a ch sp. By having 42 st from the previous row I will crochet *2 hdc's in the first st, then 1 hdc in each of the next st's, then a ch sp and repeat from * around. This will make a total of 49 st's for the round. Note: I use the smaller hook on this first round because of the smaller black crochet thread used in the previous round. I crochet loosely with this hook so the st's will accommodate the larger hook for the next round. Mark your row starts with a safety pin, as shown in the photo here. Because you will not be making a sl st to end the row with chains up to start the next round so you will need to know where you began.

Photo 9
Once you are into the main color, the potholder goes very fast. After your ch 1 space, crochet 2 hdc's into the first st of the next round. All you do is crochet 2 hdc's in the first and last st's of each heptagon segment with a ch between segments. You will have 7 hdc's in each segment on round two of the main color plus the ch sp; 8 hdc's in each segment on the next round; 9 hdc's in each segment on the next round; 10 hdc's in each segment on the next round. Then there is a change: 2 hdc's in the first and last stitches of each segment PLUS 2 hdc's in the middle of each segment so that the total number of stitches in each segment of this round numbers 12 (plus the ch 1 sp).

The above photo shows the start of the shaping round. There are three shaped segments here and four segments still to be shaped thusly: sc in each of the next 2 st; hdc in each of the next 2 st; 2 dc in the next st; 1 dc, 1 trc, 1 dc in the center st; 2 dc in the next st; hdc in each of the next 2 st; sc in each of the next 2 st. Ch 1.

Photo 10
Using the large blunt-nosed needle and starting between the st at the top of a valley, embroider a line of chain stitches down to the center raised round. Once you have completed all seven lines , secure all of the loose ends in the back.

Photo 11

Then sc around the entire outer edge.

Steam press on the backside only for a nice flat finish. Caution: use a damp cloth on the backside and steam with the iron just by setting it straight down momentarily. Do this three times to cover the entire surface. Be careful not to press too hard or to slide the iron. You want to preserve the crispness of your stitches. While you want your potholder to lie flat, you do not want flat stitches.

Once done, crochet a second side identical to the first and then sc both sides together starting in a valley so you can end up in the same location to attach a plastic ring for hanging. Leave about 30-36 inches of your joining yarn at the end of your sc's. With the smaller blunt-nosed needle, secure the plastic ring in place with a few rounds over the ring and into your sc's with your short starting tail. Then make blanket stitches (also called button hole stitch) around the plastic ring in place and over the first rounds that secured the ring in place to hide them. Secure ends. All done!

Copyright 2010, C. Lowman/Delights. All Rights Reserved.

Here are two just completed potholders. To the left is the one made for this pictorial how-to page using the "I Love This Cotton" High Sierra Ombre yarn. To the right is another potholder made using the "I Love This Cotton" Ivory Print. I sent both of these as a surprise Thank You to Lubbockarmadillo, a ravelry friend. Hope you like them, Cindy.

I crocheted one more potholder as a test. Because I listed Lily's Sugar 'n Cream as a possible main body color, I decided to make one using the color "Jewels" to see how the pattern adapted. I had to make some adjustments, namely a larger size hook (H) and fewer stitches (starting with 5 stitches instead of 7 after the black raised "setting" at the center and ending with 10 on the last two rounds). Here is my overall assessment:
1. The Sugar 'n Cream is coarser to the touch.
2. The overall finished size came to 8 inches. I prefer the finished size of potholders to be a little smaller, about 7.5 inches or no larger than 7.75 inches.
3. The Sugar 'n Cream yield was less than The I Love This Cotton. The yield for the Sugar/Cream was one potholder (front and back) but for The I Love This Cotton I squeezed out two (2 fronts and backs). To be fair, there are 2 oz in the Sugar/Cream skein compared to 3 oz in the Love/Cotton.
Conclusion: I like the colors of both yarns but I recommend the I Love This Cotton for this pattern because it is easier to work, feels better and yields more per skein. However, if you have plenty of Sugar 'n Cream on hand and want to use it, go for it. Just make the adjustments or you may have too large of a potholder.