Saturday, March 21, 2015

Always Teatime ~ a Free Pattern in Celebration of National Crochet Month

Did you know that March is National Crochet Month? (It's also National Craft Month.)

Of course every month is Crochet Month here at Micawber Towers, but I couldn't let the occasion pass without making a little something special to celebrate and share:

Always Teatime Mat

Always Teatime is a versatile, join-as-you-go 2-round block which is great for using up stash. Worked in a combination of sport and dk yarns, my blocks are just under 1½" square, but you can use any combination of yarns that are close to each other in weight.

Simple joins give the Always Teatime blocks a lovely intertwined effect:


The blocks are so pretty on their own, I decided not to add a border to my square mat. Instead I kept it simple with a small tassel of fringe at each corner:


Note to crochet geeks: If you follow my pattern adventures, you'll know that I am Very Fussy about round joins, starts, and ends, striving ever to render them more subtly and undetectably. In pursuance of this noble quest, I've stumbled on yet another way to start a new round with a new yarn colour. It's secure, knotless, and - when combined with the invisible join - creates an almost perfect duplicate of a single crochet:

Can you tell where the round starts and ends?

If you're not a crochet geek, feel free use any other joining techniques you prefer. :)

Always Teatime Block Pattern With Phototutorial

Use any yarn you like, with the appropriate size hook.

Note: Click on the words "knotless chain" or "invisible join" to be taken to a tutorial for each technique.

Round 1:
With Color A, Knotless chain 4, OR make a magic ring and chain 3.
Dc 11 in ring.
Cut yarn and join to first dc with invisible join (12 sts total).


Round 2: Join Color B as follows:
Insert hook from front to back of any stitch, and pull up a loop (yarn tail should be on the right, and working yarn on the left). With yarn tail, cast on a backwards loop.
Pull on working yarn to tighten both loops,
move yarn tail behind working yarn and to the right,
then yarn over and pull working yarn through both loops on hook.


This stitch counts as a single crochet (and later on it will look like one).

Next: *chain 5, skip 2 stitches, sc in next stitch, chain 3, sc in same stitch.
Repeat from * two more times, working around the circle (you should have 3 ch-5 bumps and 3 ch-3 bumps).
Chain 5 more, skip the final 2 stitches, and sc in next stitch (you should now be back where you started).
Chain 3, cut yarn, and join with invisible join to the first chain AFTER the starting stitch:


After making the invisible join, turn the block over and take the yarn tail down and through the back loops of the starting stitch:



Et voilà! Ze stitch, she is now indistinguishable from any other single crochet:

Invisible Start, Invisible Join!

And your first block is finished. Now all you have to do is make a few more, joining as you go, and before you know it you'll have a pretty project on your hands. Nothing could be simpler.

Read on....

Joining the Always Teatime Blocks

Blocks may be joined on any chain-5 section. To join:
Chain 2,
drop working loop from hook, insert hook from RS to WS through ch-5 space of opposite block, pick up working loop (being careful to re-insert hook in the proper direction),
then gently pull the working loop up through the opposite block's ch-5:


Now, yarn UNDER and chain 1 (catching opposite ch-5),
chain 2 normally,
skip 2 stitches of circle, and sc in next stitch. Join complete!


If you're wondering why we yarn UNDER for that joining chain stitch: it makes a smoother, flatter join, and minimises the block twist that would otherwise occur with this type of join.

Assembling your Always Teatime Blocks

The easiest way is to work one row at a time, always working in one direction (from right to left or left to right). This way, you'll never have to make more than 2 joins on any block.

To Make a Mat like Mine:

Make 5 rows of 5 blocks in the colours of your choice. For a rectangular mat, make the rows longer. My mat is square because I ran out of turquoise yarn. :)

Weave in all yarn ends, and block project. To enhance the picot effect of the ch-3 bumps, use the blunt end of a crochet hook to pull each one open (this works best while project is damp).

Trim with a fringed tassel at each corner, or add a border of your choice.


Other Things to make from the Always Teatime blocks:
  • A scarf
  • A table runner
  • A colourful cowl
  • A simple tunic
  • Use blocks as a border for another project
All those ch-3 and ch-5 loops offer plenty of scope for joining and embellishment - have fun with them!

You may do whatever you like with the items you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern or reproduce the text without permission. Links are always welcome.


Thanks for viewing, and happy National Crochet Month! (Happy National Craft Month too.)

What are you making this month?

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25 comments:

  1. I was a bit surprised to read somewhere that March was the month of celery but crochet makes more sense and is much closer to my heart :-)
    Thanks for sharing the tutorial and for the clear instructions. It's a lovely pattern and I'll give it a try.
    Amalia
    xo

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  2. Thank you for this beautiful pattern. I'm going to print it out tomorrow and try it. The directions were so clear it was apparent that you are a wonderful crocheter and want to pass that skill on to others.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  3. The pattern is simply beautiful, thank you for sharing it!
    Greetings from Finland,
    Johanna

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  4. Beautifully done, especially the invisible join, clever you. CJ xx

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  5. Thank you! Beautiful work and a good description.

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  6. This is beautifully done and I am definitely going to give this a whirl. Not sure when I'll get to it but saving it as its so pretty and I love giving a new technique a whirl.

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  7. How sweet is that.
    Just like a Spring time garden beneath your teacup.
    I hope its getting warmer there and the snow has melted almost to nothing...
    Susan x

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  8. I love your work, I have made the limpet head band. Will try this pattern too.

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  9. And a happy crochet month to you, love your tea mat.

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  10. I had no idea there was a National Crochet Month. Now I know. I like your Always Teatime blocks with the fringed tassel. I also like your tea kettle. As for crochet, Snowcatcher has tried to teach me. I'm afraid I'm not a very good student. Nonetheless, I think I'll give it another go. Someday I'll get it!

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  11. Very nice Sue I will be making some of these, I'm not a crochet geek although I feel I ought to be because projects look so much better when they are neat and perfect. Thank you for the tutorial, I'm thinking placemats. :) xx

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  12. Thank you for the lovely pattern, Sue. I actually didn't realize it was National Crochet Month, but I'm so glad we have a month! We deserve it. :)

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  13. Wow, Sue.. that is gorgeous! Happy CM! I finished my lap ripple blanket and am knocking out a turquoise crochet cotton double hot pad today. We're taking it easy this weekend. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  14. So pretty :-). Perhaps it's time for me to grab the crochet hook again!

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  15. Sue, I didn't know about NCM either, but I'm glad it is :-) Thanks once more for sharing a super pattern that I want to try. I admire your work, and I appreciate the effort and generosity you exercise with each project you share with us. I finished my first baby hat on dpn this past week and a crocheted baby hat the week before. Progress :-) xx

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  16. Thank you for the lovely pattern. :) My crochet MoJo has left and moved to Texas....I was left behind here in KY with my knitting! Of course, there is the sad tale of Mr. Cross Stitch and how his waywardness lead to his final demise, but I won't bore you with that here. Wishing you a most lovely day sweet friend. :)

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  17. That green and pink is SO pretty together. Love the little TEA TIME mat! :-)

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  18. Sue, you have amazed once again. I am in awe of your designing skills. Love this pattern, you are brilliant.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  19. So very pretty! I am obviously not a crochet geek. I'm lucky I make anything. Have tried to figure out join as you go and the magic circle and other things but can't seem to teach this old dog new tricks, so I just do what I can, however I can. Yesterday I posted about all the little projects I've been working on lately. Have a great week. Tammy

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  20. Lovely, you really are very clever! Juliex

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  21. Lovely! And you're right: I'm feeling like a cup of tea right now. :-)

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  22. This is such an attractive pattern! I love tiny motifs (such as snowflakes... duh) joined into a bigger project. This is so bright and cheerful! And as you mentioned, so good for using up scraps!

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  23. Hello, I love your crochet, is beauty, I love this colors, I follow your blog, I have a blog about crochet with free patterns and free crochet diagrams, visit me , hugs from Brazil.
    Visite meu blog - Tita Carré - Crochet

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  24. Thanks for the pattern. LOve the inter twining. So cool.

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  25. More uses (apologies if someone else got there first) -- strip of them as a bookmark; as trim on shirt/blouse cuff, hem, collar or placket; as a trim around the collar of a T-shirt, as a strip of braid, as it were, along the handle or top edge of a tote bag...

    I love working little versions in embroidery floss or #10 thread. Tanx!

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