I love these African Flower pincushions. They are very handy around the home and they make an excellent little gift which you can whip up quickly.
What you'll need...
Some left over yarn (I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino)
Appropriate hook for your yarn (I used 3.5mm - E USA)
Some stuffing to fill the pincushion
Yarn needle to sew in your ends
The African Flower motif is not my own pattern. It is by Lounette Fourie & Anita Rossouw and the Ravelry page including links to the pattern and other translations and tutorials can be found here.
If you wish to download just the written directions for this pincushion you will need:
African Flower Motif pattern, which is listed on this Flickr page (scroll down for pattern). Be aware that this pattern is written in US crochet terms.
My pattern download to turn the motif into a pincushion, which can be found here. My pattern is written in UK crochet terms.
If you'd like a photo tutorial to explain all this for you, then read on!
All crochet terms refer to UK crochet stitches. (See end of post for US terms)*
Start by making a slip knot and 4 chains.
Make a slip stitch into the first chain to form a circle.
Make a treble stitch into the center of the circle and then chain 1.
Continuing to work into the center of the circle, make 2 more treble stitches and then chain 1.
Continue making sets of 2 treble stitches and then 1 chain around the circle, until you have 6 sets of treble stitches (12tr's in total) and 5 chain spaces, then make a slip stitch into the top of the first chain of three to complete the circle. You'll now have 6 chain spaces.
Cut the first colour yarn and attach the new colour into one of the chain spaces, then chain 3.
Make a treble (tr) stitch into the same chain space and chain 1.
Make a further 2 trebles into the same chain space.
Next we're going to work into the next chain space. You need to make 2 trebles, chain 1 and then make another 2 trebles into the space.
Carry on around the circle, making 2 trebles, chaining 1 and then 2 more trebles into each space around the circle, then make a slip stitch into the top of the first chain of 3 that you made at the beginning of the round.
If you'd like to, break off the yarn and attach a new colour into a chain space at this point. (Some people prefer to keep the same colour for this round to make more of a petal shape.) Then chain 3.
The chain of 3 stitches you've made will count as one treble. Now make 6 more treble stitches into the same chain space. This is called a cluster.
Then make 7 treble stitches (cluster) into the next chain space.
Carry on around the circle, make 7 treble stitches into each of the chain spaces of the row below, then make a slip stitch into the top of your starting chain of 3.
Break off the yarn and attach a new colour.
Chain 1 and then make a double crochet into the same stitch.
Then make a double crochet into each treble of the row below, until you have reached the end of the first cluster of trebles.
Now we're going to make another double crochet, but instead of going into the stitch of the row below like normal, we're going to put the hook into the chain space of Round Three. I've put my hook into the space to show you where to go.
So, put your hook into that space and pull the yarn through and up to your row of stitches. Then grab more your yarn to pull through the two loops on your hook (to finish the stitch off like normal).
Here's the completed double crochet, see how crocheting into Round Three has made a long 'stem' to the stitch. This makes the nice petal shape that looks so good on the African Flower motif.
Continue around the circle in the same way, making a double crochet into each treble and a double crochet into Round Three, between each cluster.
Once you get around to the beginning, make a slip stitch into the first double crochet of the round and break off the yarn.
Now we finished the African Flower pattern as linked above and are going to start to turn it into a pincushion.
Attach a new colour. (I like to start the colour I'm going to use for the sides and the base here, but there's no rule that they all have to be the same.)
Chain 1 and then make a double crochet (dc) into each dc of the round below, until you get the the long stemmed dc.
Into this stitch we're going to make 2 double crochet stitches.
Continue around the circle like this, making 1 dc into each dc of the row below and making 2 dc's into the long stemmed stitch (between clusters). Then make a slip stitch into the first dc of the round to complete the circle.
In order to make the sides of the pincushion, we're now going to make a round of dc stitches into the back loops only of the round before. Have a look closely at the picture above. See how my hook is only under one loop of the stitch, as not two as normal? You want your hook to be going under the back part of the stitch only, not the front part.
So chain 1 and then start making 1 dc into each dc of the round below. If you're crocheting into the back loops of the stitch only, you should see a little ridge forming between the rounds, like in this picture.
Continue around the circle, just making 1 dc into each dc of the round below and then making a slip stitch into the first dc to complete the round.
Making stitches into the back loop like that should help the sides start to form.
If you're happy with what you've got so far, now is a very good time to sew in all your ends, before the sides get higher and it gets a bit awkward.
Now we're ready to start the next round, and we're back to crocheting into the stitch as normal again. So chain 1 and make a dc into each dc of the round below.
Do this all the way around the circle and make a slip stitch (ss) into the first dc to complete the round.
Repeat this last round four more times. This should give you 6 rows of crochet to complete the sides.
Now we're going to repeat exactly what we did to start the sides. Crochet into the back loop only.
Chain 1 and make a dc into each dc of the round below, using the back loop fo the stitch only. Again, you should get that little ridge between the rows.
Carry on around the circle, making 1 dc into each dc of the round below and finish with a ss into the first dc.
Now we're going to start to decrease the number of stitches, to create the underneath of the pincushion.
Chain 1 and make 1 dc into each dc of the round below, until you have 8 dc's.
Next we're going to skip one of the stitches in the row below. Our next stitch will be in the dc after that, where I have my hook in the picture. Make a dc into the the stitch indicated, then carry on making dc stitches until you have made 8 again, then skip a stitch again.
Carry on around the circle, making 8 dc's then skiping a stitch, until you are round to the beginning. You should be left with 1 stitch, which we will skip and make a slip stitch into the first dc of the round.
For the next round we do exactly the same thing, except this time we'll make 7 dc's and then skip one stitch. Repeat this around the circle as you did before and then make a ss to finish the round.
See how our decreases and starting to bring the bottom inwards now?
Complete the next round as we have done before, this time making 6 dc's then skipping a stitch. Then another round, making just 5 dc's then skipping a stitch.
Once we get to this stage, it's a good idea to stuff the cushion. Get your toy stuffing or what ever you're using and pop it into the cushion.
You want to get it stuffed pretty much how you want it to be when finished at this stage so take your time and have a squash to see if it feels right. I like to have it reasonably firm to keep a nice shape, but still with a nice amount of squishy.
Once you're happy with the stuffing, continue making decreasing rounds:
Next round - 4dc's then skip a stitch
Next round - 3dc's then skip a stitch
Next round - 2dc's then skip a stitch
Next round - 1 dc, then skip a stitch
This last round if kind of fiddly, but you don't need to worry about making the last slip stitch to finish it, which helps a bit.
Cut your yarn and leave a tail to sew up and then, using a yarn needle, thread through one loop of each of the stitches of that last fiddly round.
Pull the thread up tightly to close the little hole and weave the yarn in a bit to secure it.
To finish off and hide the end, push the needle from the underside of the cushion, through to the top.
Pull the thread tight and snip it off nice and close the the cushion. The end should then disappear back to into the body of the cushion.
Remember if you just want the written instructions for easy reference next time, the links are at the top of the page.
I hope you enjoyed making your little pincushion and if you have any questions or spot any boo-boo's, do let me know.
*For reference, the British terms that I have used are below in black and the American terms are given in green in brackets:
Slip Stitch (Slip Stitch)
Double Treble (Triple/Treble)