A free new pattern, and beyond!
Click me to go directly to DesigningVashti.com. Pictured: Solstice Bangles experiments.

Covered Rings Old & New

Happy New Year!
This issue is not really about bangles
. It's about what can happen to crochet stitches when you use a ring instead of foundation chains. (Scroll down for a step by step diagram if you don’t know what I mean by that.)
5 Skinny metal bangles with 1 or 2 colors crocheted around them. Beads.
This topic turns out to be bigger than I expected. It was quite the trendy thing to do in the late 1800's. I thought before now I'd only crocheted around a few metal, plastic, or wood rings in my day. My count ran to twenty.

As rings go, bangles (closed, continuous hoops with a 2.75"-ish inner diameter to be slid onto the wrist) are really helpful for swatching different ways to cover rings with crochet. They’re smooth, light weight, and a nice size. They allow me to see from any angle how each loop of a stitch responds when I try something different.

Bangle hoops are also perfect for experimenting with beads. I discovered that beads change the stitches more dramatically around a ring, depending on how you add them.

I think this is because the stitch's base loops are entirely visible and free to move, and therefore noticeably responsive. 

Page 136 from Butterick's Art of Crochet © 1891.

The Traditional Covered Ring

“Brass ring crochet” or “crocheted ring-work” was popular in the late 1800’s for making things like bags, shade pulls, and fancy borders. As you can see in the 1891 illustration, just single crochet (UK: dc) around a ring until it’s covered. The ring, whether metal, plastic, wood or bone, stands in for the foundation chain.

The required hardware—sturdy rings of varied sizes—have been readily available in craft stores since then. Crocheters have covered rings to add hanging loops to potholders, for tree ornaments that look like little wreaths, and covered hair elastics to make scrunchies. (I count crocheting around clothes hangers too. It's a similar experience.)

Currently Trendy Covered Rings

Fast forward to today:

  • “messy bun” hats (use a ponytail elastic)
  • Teething rings for babies, see inspiring link in right column.
  • Mandalas and sun catchers—hula hoops as frames!
  • Jewelry—hoop earrings, pendants, bib necklaces, etc.
  • Pop tab crochet (a similar experience).

The ring may vary in size, material, or purpose, but the crocheting is usually Victorian: single crochet around the ring until it’s covered. I can see why. The bottom loops of each stitch wrap around to accommodate even the thickest ring, and pack neatly together, while the stitch tops appear to fan out a bit. It's a nice look.

My Discoveries

1. When crochet stitches can freely spin around a foundation its recognizable loops and textures change. Its base loops can become its top loops. The stitch repeats can be stretched taut around the ring, or piled in until no more can fit. Crocheting a stitch into a foundation chain locks it into that slot. It can’t slide to the left or right or turn upside down.

2. I mentioned above how beads affect crochet more dramatically around a ring. I started with the simplest stitches: sc (single crochet or UK: dc), and [ss, ch-1] (slip stitch, chain stitch, repeat). Then I progressed to fancy stitches such as love knots, puffs, and bent tall stitches.

Adding beads to the simple stitches did fancier things than the fancy stitches did. (See the variations in the right column.)
Solstice Bangles beaded 3 ways
Bangle #2 (purple thread over a black bangle) has the [ss, ch-1] top loops positioned inside the bangle. The beads are on the base loops of the stitches.

3. The bead shape can really matter. Cubes and triangles, and bugle bead shapes don't teeter like oblongs and bicone shapes do. 

4. It’s addictive. There’s something about circles! I saw it and felt it. It’s simple enough to pick up and set down in distracted moments throughout the holidays. Quick enough to be satisfying and to invite fancy variations. I saw this while looking all over the internet for covered rings. (Many jewelry designs are just circles, for example.) 

Swatching these in December unexpectedly gave me last minute ideas for holiday gifts. Crocheting them in free moments was really fun. I have so many more versions with no room to show them to you here. I'll be creating project pages for the newer ones in Ravelry.


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A pretty stitch experiment! Beaded love knots.

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Same Stitch!

I used gold 26-gauge wire with metal beads for this giftworthy Solstice BangleFree pattern at the blog.
More Solstice Bangles with different bead shapes. The uppermost one has fewer stitch repeats that are stretched tightly around the bangle. The other two have as many stitch repeats as I could squeeze in. The bottom bangle has multiple beads added to each stitch repeat.
The bottom three Solstice Bangles in this stack are crocheted without beads in fancy embroidery threads. Kreinik metallic braids are my favorite for this. 


The biggest news: 
I'll be teaching at the Chain Link conference this July!

Five 3-hour crochet classes in Portland Oregon, July 25-28.

Solstice Bangles:

A new free pattern is newsworthy, right? 

Remember issue #88 about yarn overs and yarn unders? As promised in that issue, I blogged the diagrams and other things that wouldn't fit in that issue.

Our website's makeover adventure continues! I added more crochet tutorials and articles under the "Learn" tab (always at the top of the screen). I'm getting help with making all images display in posts.

Patterns for covered rings in the shop:
Big Hook Bucket

Now free: Parakeet Perchswing. Jelly Yarn® is ideal for it!

Want more covered rings ideas? I hope my Bangles & Covered Rings pinboard inspires you as much as it does me.

Another free bangle pattern by Vashti at Cut Out & Keep: Jelly Bangles

So Many Great Links

How to use hula hoops for crochet mandala frames! Fun blog post.

Rachael's mjolkg Etsy shop for covering teething rings with crochet.
(See my Bangles & Covered Rings pinboard for more crocheted teething and sensory rings.)

Recycled Plastic Rings for Towel Holders

1939 patent for a machine that crochets "sheathings" for rings.
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