I'm known around here for my passion for hanging things on the walls. I can't let a blank space stay that way. If I can make something myself for the purpose, so much the better. I had lately been feeling the need to fill up the wall above the GB's bed. It's a fairly big space and it was mostly empty. Five feet across, from closet doors to window, it needed something to break up the space. I thought about it a lot and considered several options but ultimately decided to do it with a garland made from crocheted Maybelle flowers. This free pattern is quick and easy to make and I love the way the flowers turn out. I used cotton yarns in lots of bright colors, to make the GB's garland fun and cheerful.
Maybelle flowers are really enjoyable to make. I think they look more complicated than they are. Once you have the pattern memorized, it's easy to churn out a pile of them in very little time at all. I'd made some in the past and felt confident with the technique, so this time around, I decided to experiment a little and I discovered something very interesting about the pattern...
It's really easy to alter the basic Maybelle flower pattern to change the size of the finished flower. In the photo above, I've got three different sizes. The orange one has nine petals, the turquoise one has eight and the yellow one has six. The turquoise flower was made according to the basic pattern, but the orange and yellow flowers were made with my modification. I figured out that the second round has to contain stitches in a multiple of three in order to properly create the next round, which is the base for the petal round. The original Maybelle flower, with eight petals, has 24 (US) double-crochet stitches worked into the center ring (23dc+ch3). By changing the number of stitches worked into the center ring, but keeping it in multiples of three, it's easy to alter the number of petals in the finished flower. The orange flower has 27 stitches worked into the center ring (26dc+ch3). The yellow one has 18 stitches worked into the center (17dc+ch3). The shape of the flower changes slightly when you add or subtract petals from the original pattern, but I think it creates an interesting, sort of organic effect if you're going to use them together in a garland, like I did.
The flowers are such a breeze to make that I soon had a nice little pile of them. I made three of the large nine-petaled size, five of the original eight-petaled size and three of the smaller six-petaled size. I have to admit that cotton yarn is not my favorite kind to work with; I find it makes me sneeze a lot! The fluffy fibers come off the yarn as I work and I end up breathing them right up my nose. I try to keep the work low in my lap while I crochet, away from my face, but those pesky fibers have a mind of their own. I will also say that I have a distinct preference for I Love This Cotton over Sugar N Cream. The ILTY cotton is soft and pliable, almost silky to crochet with, while the Sugar N Cream is stiff and kind of rope-like. But both crochet up nicely and the colors are clear and fresh. I went with a mixture of brights and pastels, to make the garland visually interesting and not too girly or babyish for the GB's room. I love that foxy shade of golden-brown up there; I made that flower half-expecting the GB to complain about it, but to my surprise it was the first one she commented on when she saw the stack sitting on my desk. "Oooh, I like that brownish one," she said. I was relieved, because I like it too.
I knew the flowers needed some sort of help to flatten and spread their petals nicely, but blocking still kind of spooks me, so I did my own modified method of neatening them up. I laid them out on an old towel and spritzed them lightly with water, then used my fingers to gently stretch the petals out at the tips. I shaped the center ring too, some of them were looking a little oblong. Then I left them on the towel to air-dry overnight. I think it made a big difference, actually. I considered stiffening them with fabric starch or PVA glue, but in the end, I don't think it was necessary. I wanted them to be be neat-looking, but also to dangle kind of casually from the garland string once hung. I decided that stiffened flowers might look a bit...stiff for a whimsical wall display.
I created my garland string from white cotton yarn. It's really simple, just a loooong chain. I didn't need to fill the wall space from edge to edge, but I wanted the garland long enough to fill most of the central portion of the wall and allow for it to be swagged a couple of times as it went across. I decided to make the garland about five feet long, which is the general width of the wall space too. The string was easy, as was attaching the flowers. I figured out that it took about twenty stitches (using a size I/5.5mm hook) to create four inches of chain-stitching. I just counted chains as I went, to space the flowers evenly. I did 25 chains to start (about five inches of length), then attached the first flower by slip-stitching through the stitches along the top of a petal. This made a neat little join. Then I did 20 chains and attached the next flower, and so on. After the final flower, I did 25 chains to match the other end and tied off both ends, sewing the tails into the chain for a few stitches to bury them.
I attached the flowers sort of randomly, in terms of color and size. I didn't want it to look too studied. Whimsy, people.
I don't think I've ever shown you my toolbox before! I keep it in our home office. The Bear put this together for me a long time ago, when we bought our first house. That house was two stories and I was forever asking him to get me tools and wall-hanging paraphernalia from the garage because I hated going down there, due to a crippling combination of arachnophobia and laziness. He finally got tired of all the demands and gave me my own toolbox to keep upstairs, in easy reach whenever the urge to hang something came over me (which it did, often). He unearthed an old wooden toolbox and filled it with basic tools for me. I even have an
Here's the garland hung on the wall. I had a nail in the center of the space already, from a metal "wall pocket" I'd had hanging there before she got her big-girl bed a couple of years ago; it had sharp corners and I took it down to prevent head injuries. I added nails on either side, evenly spaced. I hung the garland unevenly, to make it look swagg-y and casual. I like how it looks, though this picture is a bit shadowy. It fills the wall nicely, especially because she already has painted wooden letters spelling out her name just above the garland. After taking away the wall pocket, there was too much space below the letters and I think the garland fills in the space.
She loves her garland. She told me it was "happy" when she saw it hanging for the first time. I'm glad. Her bedroom is my favorite one in our house; from her window, she has views of a mimosa tree and our beloved old apple tree. The room is bright and open and she helps me choose decorations. She has pretty good taste for a five-year-old. Like her mother, she has a knack for organization and has started keeping her space very tidy. I don't know how long that will last, but for now, she's proud to show off her neat little room. She's sitting next to me as I write this post and she told me to say that she doesn't have a favorite flower, she likes them all the same and she likes to see the flowers when she wakes up in the morning "because they're pretty and I like flowers." Also, she says that she knew I would want to hang something "in all that empty space." We're on a wavelength, me and my Girl Bear.