And a brand-new species was discovered this week growing in the Micawber living room:
I call them Yarnberries.
Yarnberries may not be edible - indeed, they would probably cause severe tummyache if consumed - but their soft woolly texture and unlimited colour potential make them an ideal fashion accessory.
Yarnberries are quickly and easily grown from materials every crocheter has on hand. And since they use multiple strands of yarn, they score very high on the Stashbusting Index. :)
To grow your own Yarnberries, choose 3 coordinating yarns from your stash, in any combination of worsted and bulky weight. (I used 2 strands of worsted and 1 strand of bulky.)
Grab a 15-16mm (P or Q) hook, flex your fingers a few times (to limber them up), and away we go.
Each Berry measures about 1-5/8" long, and uses approximately 30" (times 3 strands) of yarn.
3 strands held together throughout.
Forward Loop Chain (phototutorial below): Keep working loop on hook and working yarn draped over forefinger. Lift forefinger slightly to form 2 vertical strands of yarn, one in front and one behind finger. Place hook behind the back strand and use hook to pull strand to the right. (Yarn should look like a letter "D" or "O", with the tip of the hook pointing up through the hole.) Remove forefinger from yarn while keeping hook in the "hole"; gently pull on working yarn to tighten loop until it is snug against the working loop. Yarn over and pull through both loops on hook.
Berry: *Chain 3, double crochet 3 together in back bump of 1st chain (or 3rd ch from hook), push berry towards you and tug gently on working yarn to tighten; Forward Loop Chain 1. Repeat from *.
Spacing Loop: Chain 3, triple crochet in back bump of 1st chain.
Ending Loop: Chain 7, attach with slip stitch to forward loop chain.
Start with a Berry, and keep crocheting Berries (inserting Spacing Loops as desired - see Construction Options below), until your string of Berries is long enough or you run out of yarn - though you can also change colours anywhere along the way. Finish with an Ending Loop.
Note: Spacing Loops are optional, but very helpful, since they can hold Berries in place when Berry string is coiled. Different placements of Spacing Loops give different draping options (see below).
Any Berry will fit through any Loop.
For a cowl that will hang in graduated strands, like the one pictured: Make 15 Berries, then 1 Spacing Loop, then 16 Berries, then 1 Spacing Loop, then 17 Berries and 1 Spacing Loop, and so on, each time adding 1 extra Berry to the section between the loops. Finish with Ending Loop.
Note: The starting section of berries will form the innermost (shortest) strand of your cowl; make it longer or shorter according to your taste (but be sure increase each section accordingly).
My Berry string ends after the 17-Berry section (one of my yarns was running out) and measures about 84" long.
For a cowl that will hang in even strands (all strands the same length): Make a string of Berries to the desired length (try it on as you go to find a length you like), then make a Spacing Loop. Repeat (same number of Berries, 1 Spacing Loop) as many times as desired. Finish with Ending Loop.
For the simplest cowl: Make a long string of Berries, and finish with Ending Loop.
Weave in yarn ends and you're done!
Note: Photos show Berries already in progress, but starting Berry is made exactly the same way. Just imagine a yarn tail hanging from that Chain 3. :)
Chain 3; find the back bump of the 1st chain (which will be the 3rd chain from the hook):
Double crochet 3 together in that back bump:
Push berry towards you and gently pull working yarn to tighten top:
Forward Loop Chain Phototutorial (video tutorial to be posted soon)
Note: Instructions refer to a "strand" of yarn. For Yarnberries, you will be holding 3 strands together and treating them as one.
Keep working loop on hook and working yarn draped over forefinger.
Lift forefinger slightly to form 2 vertical strands of yarn, one in front and one behind finger:
Place hook behind the back strand and use hook to pull strand to the right:
Yarn should look like a letter "D" or "O", with the tip of the hook pointing up through the hole:
Remove forefinger from yarn while keeping hook in the "hole":
Gently pull on working yarn to tighten loop until it is snug against the working loop:
Yarn over and pull through all loops on hook:
Forward Loop Chain complete. On to the next Berry!
A note on the Forward Loop Chain: You may be wondering, why the special stitch? Why not just chain 1 between Berries? The Forward Loop Chain is more stable, keeps the Berry string from twisting, and also makes it easier to identify the back loop of the 1st chain which is right above it. :)
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Some ways to wear your Yarnberries
Any of the Construction Options above can be wrapped freely about the neck with ends hanging loose. Or you can join only the ends for a single giant loop which can be worn doubled or tripled (or quadrupled).
Here my Yarnberries are coiled as a short cowl (ends are joined, and berries are tucked into Spacing Loops here and there to keep the coils in place):
To wear as Graduated Strands, coil the Yarnberries, starting with the shortest section first, and placing starting Berry in first Spacing Loop (be careful not to twist the Berry string):
Then wrap the next section around the outside of the coil, placing second Spacing Loop over the same Berry:
Keep coiling and placing the next Loop over the same (starting) Berry. The starting Berry acts as a clasp to hold the strands together:
(This coiling technique will also work for the Even Strands Option.)