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Clones Knots: The Open and The Closed 

Clones Knots are fancy, finicky crochet stitches that can be made several different ways, in keeping with their free form lace tradition. They're named after a place in county Monaghan, Ireland, called Clones. It was a primary commercial center for Irish crochet lace in the 19th century. (I've heard it pronounced "clawn-ess," "clawn-ez," and "clone-ess.")

I like to use Clones Knots for jewelry instead of for traditional Irish lace. I used closed CK for the Rowanberry Pendant in the book Jewelry With a Hook (©2007)
Rowanberry Pendant I didn't know this historic stitch was going to be the newsletter topic! What happened is that I found an "Irish Pearl Strand" that I've loved wearing ever since I designed it in 2006. 
(Its backstory here )

Open CKs are my first choice for a bead look. I remember trying puffs, popcorns, and other bobbly stitches to get a fiber "pearls." It turns out that the CK variation I came up with for the necklace is known as an "open CK" or "long CK." All I knew was that I wanted a way to crochet a “string of pearls” as jewelry.  

How to Crochet Open and Closed Clones Knots

Pictured: Open CK with closed CK as buttons.
Open & Closed Clones KnotsSometime before 2006 I learned how to do closed CK from an antique book, and like many people I was never sure if I was doing it correctly. I've discovered that Clones Knot instructions are worded many different ways, and that can mean that there's a version out there that speaks to every type of learner.

I favor using the hdc puff stitch as a familiar analogy because how the yarn overs [yo] are wrapped for a CK resemble how the half double puff [hdc puff] is made. See if you do too. (Abbreviations at end of column.) For a puff, yo, insert hook in designated stitch, yo and pull up a loop: 3 loops on hook; *yo, insert hook in same stitch, yo and pull up a loop*: total of 5 loops on hook. To complete this 2-hdc puff, yo and pull through all loops on hook. For a 3- (or more) hdc puff, simply repeat from * to * once (or more) before completing the puff.

To begin a CK, think of it as a puff around chains instead of worked into one stitch: Ch 8 (this amount gives you something to hold onto), yo, bring hook in front of the chs, down and around to the back of them, yo and bring the hook back around and up again: this is one “wrap” which adds 2 loops to the starting loop on your hook. Repeat these wraps any number of times. Antique patterns call for anywhere from 8 to 15 wraps (puts 17 to 31 loops on the hook). Complete the same as for a puff; THEN for a closed CK: fold your puffy sausage into a round ball so that you can slip stitch into the ch at the base of the wraps. For an open CK, use fewer wraps and leave unfolded.

More Variations

Pictured Below:
Barbed Wire Belt: Spiked Clones Knots in Jelly Yarn®!
Barbed Wire Belt in Jelly Yarn- Try dramatically more, or fewer, wraps.
- After working all loops off of the hook, you can slide the wraps together, or not.
- Instead of wrapping around chains, you can pull up the beginning loop on your hook to about 1/4" or 1/2" long, then work the CK wraps around that long loop, and complete as usual.
- You can add ch(s) after working loops off the hook and just before closing your CK.
- You can close your CK with a sc instead of ss. 

Try changing color only for the CK.
- Máire's wrapping technique is a must-see!

Normally, a YouTube video is a great substitute for a teacher, but Clones Knots (CK) are so deeply entwined, so to speak, with Irish lace history that most of the videos I've seen so far demonstrate how to crochet the stitch with fine thread, and from too much of a distance in average lighting. It needs to be filmed close up, and demonstrated in crisp lighting with thick thread or smooth yarn!
Abbrev's: ch(s)=chain(s), CK=Clones Knot, hdc=half double crochet, sc=single crochet, ss=slip stitch.
Happy Holidays! Issue Look for #47 either just before, or after Christmas this year. If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks!      --Vashti

Fiber Pearls

Open Clones Knots: Pendant Cords
For pendant cords, I wear my size #20 thread version (green, above) - with most everything.

Friendship bracelets are big right now, and they're easy last-minute gifts. This week I whipped up a few in fingering weight silk, rayon, and some merino sock yarns. I learned that open CK (see how-to at left) come out nice in these yarns for bracelets. 
Clones Knot Friendship Bracelets in Silk
Clones Knots are pretty special. They're neither coils, like the bullion stitch, nor bunched chains (picots) or other stitches such as popcorns.

Instead, the surface resembles tiny yarn balls, not crochet stitches. You don’t see the usual front and back top loops that most crochet stitches have, and no “feet” or “legs” that commonly anchor a crochet stitch into another stitch. 

Unlike bullions, CK are easier for me to crochet because a CK's wraps create a woven v-shaped tunnel for the hook to pull through, whereas the bullion is a coil of yarn overs around the hook shaft. I can work all CK loops off of my hook in one motion more often than I can with Bullions.sloppy pearl knots

At right: sloppy CK.

Like bullions, making CK neat and uniform can be tricky. The hook brand, even the year it was manufactured, can matter. So can the plies and twist of the yarn/thread, plus my mood/environment. With practice and experimentation I make subtler choices in fine movements, so there’s an art to making these advanced stitches.


Links I Enjoyed This Week
Máire Treanor is the authority for me on the Clones Knot. Máire's new DVD and video:

(See my earlier newsletter for more about her book Clones LaceIssue #14

DesigningVashti News

New Pattern for quick gifts: Irish Pearl Knots Necklace and...
Irish Pearl Knots Necklace & Friendship BraceletsFriendship Bracelets 
Clones knot Friendship Bracelets $2.99


Heads Up: A DesigningVashti Ravelry Group is in the works! Watch this spot, I'll keep you posted here.

You know about Doris' Ravelry Group, right?
 Doris Chan Everyday Crochet


It's...Another New Pattern! Slip Swoop beaded
Slip Swoop Loop Scarf in lacy slip stitches:  

Slip Swoop Loop, long aqua hand dyed silk-merino
Slip SwoopDetail of
beading option:

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Subscribe to this newsletter. Vashti Braha is a professional crochet designer & teacher who resides in Florida (USA). She writes 100% of each issue and emails it to subscribers
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