Ahh Beautiful Mandalas
What is a crochet mandala? Well they are these beautiful, hypnotic round pieces that come in every color you can imagine and different geometric shapes. Each row is worked in a circle and so are called rounds instead of rows. In recent years they’ve become very popular. As Mikey from crochetcrowd says, mandalas are sort of the modern version of grandma’s white lace doilies. They are all over Pinterest and Instagram.
I love this exhibit by artist Anu Tuominen as featured on crochet concupiscence blog. I think I want to do this on that blank wall in my living room…
In addition to wall art, mandalas are useful in the kitchen for trivets or hot pads, place mats, rugs, even stool covers. Plus, they are a great way to use up yarn scraps or leftovers. Check out this giant blanket one below.
There are a lot of great books out there with mandala patterns. I found this one at my local library:
Let’s Make One!
Obviously they can get very intricate, but let’s try making a simpler one first. Using this free beginner mandala pattern from crochetcrowd and some 100% cotton yarn we will work in the round. You will need to know: single crochet, double crochet, slip stitch, and how to fasten off and weave in ends. If you need to learn those stitches or could use a refresher head over to my video tutorial section.
This is a great project to try crocheting “in the round” or in a circle if you haven’t tried it before. Crocheting in the round is the first step to making 3 dimensional shapes like a basket, bag, or stuffed animal amigurmi.
I’m using Bernat Handicrafter DeLuxe cotton yarn in 3 colors: Seaspray, Gold, and Paprika. But you can use whatever colors you’d like. You can use acrylic yarn if you want, just make sure to use cotton if you plan to use it in the kitchen.
Note: When working this pattern, be careful not to work into the slip stitch from the previous round or else your stitch counts will get off. Don’t worry if this happens. Simply just “frog it” or pull it out back to where you put in the extra stitch and redo. I did this a few times on my first attempt. No big deal. Many times when I’m working on a project I get into a rhythm in my mind of telling myself which stitch to do–“pull up loop, yarn over, pull through two, pull through two…” Or my mind wanders in another direction and I get distracted (e.g. “Did I finish my to do list for today?”) Plus, when you are working in the round it can get very difficult to tell where you started your current round. In any case, it is inevitable you will lose count of your stitches at some point. Which is why I recommend you use your trusty stitch markers. Just stick a marker under the legs of the first stitch of the round (not the slip stitch). For bigger projects, put on in every 10 or 20 stitches as you go along so you don’t have to recount every single stitch each round or row.
If you are having trouble getting your mandala to lay flat, just block it. Place on a flat surface, spray with water until damp (not soaked), and then place a heavy flat object–like a book or an iron skillet–on top until dry. If you are planning on hanging it, you can follow Lucy from Attic24’s advice and paint the reverse side with some craft glue (that dries clear) to stiffen it up.