Saturday, February 6, 2016

Raggedy Heart Coasters ~ a Free Fabric Crochet Pattern

Once I was a quilter, and I have a fabric stash to prove it. But now that yarn has taken over my life, the fabric stash lives in the laundry room - a scrambled rainbow of fat quarters and remnants that mutely reproach me every time I hang socks on the line or pull towels out of the dryer.
"Hey!" the fabric seems to say. "Remember us? You never play with us any more. Have you stopped loving us?"
Poor fabric! Though I've left you out there in the dark, with the acrylic paints and glitter and other detritus of a roving crafty fancy, I haven't forgotten you - and I love you still. Here's proof....


Fabric crochet coasters are pretty popular here at Micawber Towers. They're sturdy, washable, heat-resistant, quiet (Mr. M is a terrible cup-clanker), and handily soak up stray drips. We've been using them for years, and keep them stashed all over the house: on the dining table, on lamp tables, at the bedside, on my desk.

Though I've always made round coasters in the past, I thought it might be fun to try another shape - and so the Raggedy Heart Coasters were born.

Raggedy Heart Coasters are worked in simple spiral rounds from torn strips of fabric. They're trimmed with a final round of contrast slip-stitch, which highlights their shape and gives a decorative edge (and helps shrink that fabric stash):


The trim is of course optional; plain heart coasters look pretty cute too:



Tips for choosing fabric for crochet coasters:
  • I like to use 100% cotton calico (stash depletion tactic), but any light- or medium-weight woven fabric will work well.
  • Strips cut on the cross-grain will have a tiny bit of stretch, and are slightly easier to crochet than strips cut on the lengthwise grain.
  • Remember that the wrong side of the fabric will show in some of your stitches. If you want a solid-colour coaster, choose a reversible fabric.
  • Large prints and designs will turn into small blotches of colour when translated into crochet; swatch with a single strip, to make sure you like the results, before tearing up your fabric.

Here's an example of the fabrics I used, and how they looked when crocheted:


(One advantage of crocheting with fabric strips: no need to press before tearing!)

Raggedy Heart Fabric Crochet Coasters

Finished Measurements: approximately 3½" to 3¾" at widest point

Materials:
~ Scrap fabric, less than 1/4  yard x 42" wide per coaster (you'll be joining the torn strips before crocheting, so the wider or longer your fabric is, the fewer joins you'll have to make)
~ Crochet hook, US size K/6.5mm
~ Smaller crochet hook for weaving in ends
~ Scissors

Making a Straight Edge
Chances are your fabric edge is not perfectly straight; to keep your coasters from stretching out of shape, it's best to work with fabric strips that are true to the fabric's grain.

To get that first straight edge, make a snip in the selvage end of the fabric, about 1/2" away from the existing edge. Tear the fabric all the way across to the other edge. (It's okay if the fabric sheds some long loose threads from the torn edge; just pull or snip them off.)

If your fabric edge is really off-grain, you may not reach the other edge with your first tear. If this happens, start again from the opposite edge (the one you were trying to reach with your first tear); make a small snip and tear across from there.

Making the Strips
To make your strips, snip about 1/2" away from your new straight edge, and tear all the way across. Repeat until you have about 8 yards of strips. (If your fabric is 42" wide, 7 strips should be enough for one coaster.)

Slightly skinnier strips will make a smaller coaster; slightly wider strips will make a larger coaster (but they will also be harder to crochet).

Making the torn strips

Joining the Strips
Fold under about 3/8" on each long skinny end; make a small lengthwise cut through the fold, but don't cut all the way to the edge of the strip.

With right sides facing up, insert the end of one strip (we'll call this Strip A) through the slit of another (we'll call it Strip B). Now take Strip A's other end and feed it through through the slit at the nearer end of Strip A, forming a loop around the end of Strip B. Gently tighten the loop to bring the ends of Strip A and Strip B together, then gently pull on both until the join looks like the lower right photo below:


Joining the Strips

Crocheting the Heart

Notes:
  • Keep a relaxed tension. The best way to do this is by drawing up a generous loop at the base of each single crochet.
  • Use a cushioned hook, and/or rest your hands regularly. Crocheting with fabric can be hard on the wrists.
  • Heart is worked right side facing at all times.
  • Make sure all joins are hidden on the wrong side of the coaster OR between stitches.
  • If a join shows up on the front of a stitch, frog a few stitches, then re-work them with either looser or tighter tension. This will shift the join's position and allow you to hide it. (You might have to frog and re-work a few times to get the join where you want it.)


Make a magic ring and chain 1, OR Knotless Chain 2.
Round 1: Single crochet 6 in ring (do not tighten ring yet).
Round 2: Make 2 single crochets in each single crochet = 12 stitches. (Now you can tighten up the ring. Pull firmly and steadily on the fabric tail to close the hole.)
Round 3: [2 single crochets in the next stitch, 1 single crochet in the next stitch] 6 times around = 18 stitches.
Round 4: Single crochet in each of the next 4 stitches,
[single crochet, chain 1, single crochet] in the next stitch (this is the bottom point of the heart),
single crochet in each of the next 4 stitches,
[hdc, dc] in next stitch,
2 dc in each of next 2 stitches,
hdc in next stitch,
chain 1,
insert hook through center of next single crochet, slip stitch 1,
chain 1,
hdc in next stitch,
2 dc in each of next 2 stitches,
[dc, hdc] in next stitch.

Cut fabric strip, leaving about 3" tail. Skip next single crochet and Invisible Join to 2nd single crochet stitch of Round 4. Weave in ends by using small hook to pull fabric tails under surrounding stitches.

To make a round coaster, omit Round 4 and work another single crochet round, increasing every 3rd stitch.

Adding Contrast Trim
For contrast trim, you'll need about 60" of strips.

Insert hook from front to back through any stitch on the side of the heart, and pull up a loop of the contrast trim. Insert hook through next stitch, yarn over and pull loop through stitch and loop on hook. (This is also known as making a slip stitch.) :)

Slip stitch all the way around the heart, being careful to follow the dent at the center top and the point at the bottom.

When you have 1 stitch left, cut the fabric strip and join to the first slip stitch with an invisible join (join will cover the empty stitch). Pull the yarn tail through to the back and knot it with the beginning tail. Weave in ends as before.


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 to this post are welcome.)

If you have any questions about this pattern, or find any mistakes (it happens all the time), don't be shy: ask or tell in the comment box below, or contact me in Ravelry (where I'm MrsMicawber).

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

~ ~ ~

An Overdue Bit of News:

Dana Bincer of Interweave has been hosting a CAL of my Ghost Cone Scarf pattern (from the Interweave Crochet Winter 2013 issue). You can find her blog post here, and the Ravelry CAL page here.

(Sorry I forgot to post about this before, Dana!)

:)


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