The Story of the Graceful Mandala
(or go straight to the pattern below)
This summer my cousin lost her newborn baby, and I wanted to send her and her family some sort of sympathy gift. I wanted something peaceful and or meditative in feeling, and since this family is very much into Yoga and meditation, I decided to make a Mandala, which is a complex circular design that is sometimes described as "a support for the meditating person."
I looked online for various patterns (searching for things like "lace wall hanging" and "sympathy pattern"), but nothing really matched what I was looking for. I found one or two that seemed like possibilities, but the instructions were very confusing. When I asked my mother in law for help deciphering one of these patterns, she offered me some patterns for lace doilies instead. I tried the one below (intending to make the centre section, not the whole thing), but since I was using colourful sport weight yarn and a 4mm hook, rather than crochet cotton and a tiny hook, these patterns were too floppy and didn't have the right feeling. I was picturing the end result as something that could be used as a small wall hanging, and this pattern was so floppy that it there was no way it would be able to keep its shape while hanging on the wall.
So after a few tries, I gave up on this pattern and all the others, and starting working from scratch. I started with a circle of double crochet and started working outward from there, changing colours and adding spaces and varying the height of stitches to create more intricate patterns, while still maintaining enough structure to help the whole thing keep its shape. I've recorded the pattern I created as I went, and I wanted to post it here for anyone else who may want to create their own crochet Mandala.
|Nikko helping by batting around the ball of yarn|
Of course, when I was mostly done this project I finally did a google search for "crochet mandala" and found lots of designs (including this whole Pinterest board) - silly me for using the wrong search terms I guess! Ah well, I like the fact that this pattern came to me organically while thinking of my cousin and her loss. I hope it will be the support for meditation that she needs, and a reminder of the little life that was lost too soon.
Here's the finished product:
Graceful Mandala Pattern
(This mandala was made with Patons Canadiana acrylic yarn)
Ch 3 with first colour (Green)
Rnd 1: (Green) 9 DC into 3rd ch from hook, join with sl, fasten off and weave in ends
Rnd 2: (Blue row 1) join to any dc, ch 5, DC in next st. [Ch 2, DC in next st] repeat around and join to third ch in original set.
Rnd 3: (Blue Row 2) [2 sc into ch 2 sp, 2 sc into dc] repeat around. On sc into last one, and slip st into next st.
Rnd 4: (Purple row 1) without fastening off blue, switch to purple with a chain st. Ch 4 more, then skip 2 and sl into third sc. (Ch 5, skip 2, sl into third sc) repeat around. In the last set, you will have 1 extra sc, so sl into it as usual, then sl into base of first purple ch to complete the round.
Rnd 5: (Purple Row 2) (ch 5, sc into next sl) repeat around
Rnd 6: (Dark blue row 1) - attach to a sc, then 6 ch, and DC into next sc. (4ch then dc into next sc) around to end. Last one, ch 4, then join to 2nd ch in starting chain
Rnd 7: (Dark blue Row 2) 4 sc into space, then sc2tog into that space and the next one. Repeat around and slip into first sc.
Rnd 8: (Dark blue Row 3) ch 1, sc into base of ch, 1 sc in each sc around, but 2 sc into each sc2tog. Slip st to join.
Rnd 9: (Light Blue row 1) join light blue, ch 1, sc, ch 2, DC, ch 2, sc, (sc, ch 2, dc, ch 2, sc) repeat around.
Rnd 10: (Purple row 1) join to any sc at the end of a hump (the first sc of any two sc in a row), and ch 4(counts as 1 dc and 1 ch), then sc into the dc at the top of the hump. (Ch 1, then dc into the first sc of the pair, ch 1, and sc to the DC at the top), repeat around and join with a slip st to the third ch in starting chain.
Rnd 11: (Purple Row 2) Sc in each st and ch 1 space around
Rnd 12: (Red row 1) join to any sc, sc. (Skip 1 st, 5 hdc in the next sc, skip 1 st, sc) - 1 shell made. Repeat shells around. May have to skip 1 extra stitch before starting last shell. Sl to join. Fasten off and weave in ends
Rnd 13: (Purple row 1) join to any sc, ch 3. 2 hdc in same st (sc into BLO of middle stitch in shell, then 5 hdc into both loops of next sc) repeat around.
Rnd 14: (Dark blue row 1) join at the top of a shell. Sc in each dc, and sc2tog over each sc. Repeat around.
Rnd 15: (Light blue row 1) Join into the bottom of a dip. Chain 2, then sc in each of the next 4 st. (Hdc into the next dip, sc into each of next 4 st) repeat around.
Rnd 16: (Green row 1) Join to any st. Sc into every stitch around. Fasten off.