Us Brits love talking about the weather and my latest design is perfectly suited to talking about our changeable weather: sun, cloud, super-hot sun, cloud, rain, sun, cloud, sun, cloud, lightning, sun, and repeat…
In fact, that list could be the running order of my new design – this cute baby mobile, made up of crocheted cloud and sun motifs:
Look at those happy yellow colours!
The motifs are made using Bruges crochet techniques, which are super-easy to learn. I designed and made the motifs as part of my two-part technical guide to Bruges crochet, which was in Simply Crochet magazine recently – part one (the basics) is in issue 72, while part two (how to make circles and this mobile) is in issue 73 (visit simplycrochetmag.co.uk to find out more).
Bruges crochet is especially fun if you don’t enjoy working turning chains – instead of the usual turning chains, you make big loops at the start of each row that become part of the design. The sun motif is basically just one long strip of lacy crochet, with plain loops along one side, which get joined to form the centre of the motif. On the other side are pointed loops (made with picots) that form the sunburst shape – I love a pointy picot!
Sun using variegated yellow and white yarn
For the sun motifs, I used a wonderful variegated yarn in yellow and white, which just seems to capture the happiness of sunny days! Specifically, the yarn is Lily Sugar n Cream Ombres (100% cotton, 56.7g/86m) in Daisy Ombre (00165). The cotton fibre was really easy to work with, especially during the hot weather when my hands were perhaps just a little bit moist! I also used a smaller hook size than usual for the yarn so that the motifs would hold their shape without needing to be starched.
In fact, I enjoyed working with the yarn so much that I challenged myself to try yarn pooling the sun motif. If you’ve not heard of yarn pooling, it’s where you intentionally position the colour changes of a variegated yarn to create a specific effect. So first, I tried pooling the white at the centre:
Yarn-pooled sun with white centre
I should probably mention at this point that most crocheters only try yarn pooling with a variegated yarn that has regular, even colour repeats – and that this yarn does not have that! So unless you really fancy the challenge, I wouldn’t try this at home!
The uneven colour changes made yarn pooling with this yarn pretty hard work and time-consuming, but I LOVE the end result. Eagle-eyed crocheters among you might notice that the yarn-pooled sun above has some extra stitches compared to the first sun motif – I had to add these extra trebles to make the yarn-pooling effect work.
I learned that starting in the right place is vital to making the yarn-pooling effect work – I must have ripped out and reworked the first three rows about six times before I got it right. I also learned that tiny changes make a big difference – if a row didn’t work out quite right, I ripped back and reworked a row of stitches slightly tighter or looser to change the outcome.
I used all of this new knowledge to make a second yarn-pooled sun with the reverse colour scheme – yellow at the centre and white at the tips:
Yarn pooled sun with yellow centre
Ok this one is a little bit like a fried egg, but hey, experimentation and learning are fun and I love testing the boundaries of a technique!
After all this hot sun action, I was happy to cool down with my head in the clouds:
Bruges crochet cloud
This time, I kept the outer loops short so they created that bumpy cloud look, while varying the size of the inner loops so that when they were joined together, the cloud shape was wide and short. It took a few attempts to get the shape right, but now I have a variety of other little cloud shapes to do something else with!
After having played with the sun motifs a bit, I thought it only fair that the clouds had a bit of diversity as well, so I made a few little raindrops for this guy:
Bruges cloud with raindrops
The grey yarn might have been a bit dull to hook with, but I found the flecks of blue lifted the whole mood and made them more whimsical to make. In real life, the clouds actually have a lovely 3D look to them, where one side seems to cave in while the other side seems to bow out towards you. Finally, I added a lightning motif to this little cloud:
Bruges cloud with lightning
I made four clouds and four suns in total, before hanging them all from a large embroidery hoop using different lengths of yarn. At this point, it seemed like something was missing at the centre of the mobile, which looked empty. So I decided to make another sun to place at the centre. This time, I used two strands of the white and yellow yarn held together:
I really like the variegated effect on this one, with the yellow and white dancing around each other throughout the whole shape. It was bigger then the other sun motifs, so I was a bit worried that it might need starching but it actually held its shape just as well as the other motifs. Win!
I loved my adventures with variegated yarn and Bruges crochet – now I’m looking forward to getting the project back so I can gift it to a special baby. I’m thinking that the mobile’s variety in sunshine and cloud motifs will help to teach them about our changeable weather from an early age!
If you’d like the pattern for this mobile, it’s in Simply Crochet magazine issue 73 – visit simplycrochetmag.co.uk to find out more.