Come april, tons of photos and a link to my learn to crochet videos!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Free Crochet Pattern: Crochet Coral Tutorial

 Crochet Coral Pattern and Tutorial by Amanda Ward

For those who fancy a challenge, try making your very own little piece of the sea, with this coral and starfish pattern/tutorial. It combines simple patterns with some free-form crochet  to produce an eye dazzling decoration. This would make a super gift for a friend who loves sea creatures. There are plenty of amazing free patterns for squid, jellyfish, shells, and other underwater treasures. But now, onto the fun and laughter.....

This is the finished piece, and I will show you how to make it with instructions and photos. This project is best suited for intermediate/experienced crocheters.

Step 1: The Patterns. I will give you the pattern for the little starfish, and for the large piece of coral. Once you get the hang of the coral pieces, you will see how easy it is to make any size you like.


US size E and F crochet hooks
Worsted weight yarn (off white/cream, blue, or desired colour)
a size 3 yarn (I used DK sport in purple)
a size 1 (fingering weight) or 2 for the starfish (in red, or desired colour)
a fancy fur yarn (like Lion Brand Fun Fur) in desired colour (I used a raindow mix)
a sharp yarn sewing needle
stuffing (craft batting)

Starfish Pattern: (body: make 2)

1) Form magic ring. 5 sc in magic ring (5sc)
2) 2sc in each sc around (10sc)
3) sc in next sc, *ch5, sl st in 2nd chain from hook, sc in nect chain, hdc in nect ch, dc in nect chain, sl st in same sc, sl st in nect sc,* repeat from * to * 4 more times to make the 5 arms of the starfish. Make a second piece in the same way, but leave a long tail on one piece to sew the two pieces together.

Align the two pieces one on top of the other so that the right sides of both face up (rather than wrong sides facing). This makes the piece look more realistic because the bottom of your starfish will have the wrong side facing out (to look like the bottom of a real starfish). Sew the two pieces together by whip stitching around the edge.

Coral Pattern (Make an odd number, its easier to create a composition) I've given you the instructions for the big piece of coral, but you can change the height and diameter of the coral very easily....

1) ch 8, join to form a ring. Make 16sc into ring.

2) Ply purple (size 3 yarn) and furry yarn together, and join in the first sc. ch 1, sc1 in same. sc in each sc around (16sc)

3) Do not join to first sc with a sl st. Instead, sc into the next sc, and work in spirals without joining from now on. You will simply sc16 around for as many rounds as you need to get the height you want for your coral. I used 10 rounds for the one shown in the picture.

Smaller coral pieces:

for step 1, just put fewer sc stitches into the magic ring, work in each of those stitches around, and your pieces will shrink in diameter. Best to stick to even numbers for counting. You can switch from F to E hook or smaller to get smaller pieces too.  To change the height of the pieces, you crochet fewer rounds on some pieces. (ex: make 7 rounds instead of 10).


Step 1) This is tricky because it depends on how you want to arrange your coral. If you like my arrangement, I will give you the instructions for how to shape an appropriate base. Arrange your coral how you want, and create a colour center on the top piece using a colour to match your coral. I created a blue area large enough to accommodate all my pieces. The starfish will sit on the extended cream (sand) section at the narrow end of the piece. This is where free-form crochet comes in. Try to create a piece using stitches of varying heights (sc, hdc, dc) to extend and bring in the shape when needed.

Base Pattern:

1) 6sc in magic ring (6sc)
2) 2sc in each sc around (12sc)
3) 2dc in next ss, hdc in next sc, (sc2, inc) 3 times, sc in next sc, (2dc in next dc) twice, sc in next sc.
4) sc in next sc, 2hdc in next sc, 2dc in each of next 3 sc, dc in next sc, 2dc in each of next 3 sc, sc4, 2dc in each of next 2 sc, hdc in next 2 dc, 2 sc in next sc.

5) sc around, until base is large enough to accomodate all your coral pieces. Increase when necessary to keep the piece from bunching up and rounding off like a bowl. When the colour part is large enough to accommodate all coral pieces, switch to off white yarn, and begin to sc around, making dc at one end (the narrow end of the piece) so the starfish has a little place to sit. Each time you get back to those dc stitches when working around, dc into those dc stitches to extend the piece further.

If this sounds tricky for you, just remember you are making a basic circle (lie a coaster) and then entending some edges of it will stitches of different heights to make an irregular shape. You will notice the edges are not neat and round, but that's the point. It looks more realistic.

Step 2) Make a brown base that roughly matches the shape of your top piece, but make it slightly smaller. (This way, the top piece will move in and up, like a raised rock bed upon which coral grows).

Step 3) Join your coral pieces to the colour center on the top piece (on the wrong side of the work), and then join the top and bottom pieces together (with right sides facing), stuffing with fiberfill as you go and any scrap yarn to weigh the piece down. NOTE: The 'wrong side' (in the picture obove) is usually the side of the work you don't see on most crochet projects). I decided to keep it on the outside of my finished piece because I thought it looked more like sand than the 'right side.'

If you want a paperweight, add heavier materials to the base. To join the pieces, refer to the picture bellow. Hold the brown piece in front, and the white piece at the back. Using slip stitches, work through both loops of the brown piece, and the front loop of the white piece to join. Work through every brown stitch, and every other white stitch (since your white piece is bigger it will have more stitches, so you need to skip one every so often).

 Once the pieces are joined, faster off, weave in the ends, and you're all done! Enjoy!

I am sharing this pattern/tutorial out of the goodness of my heart, so please do respect my work and do not post these patterns and/or this tutorial anywhere without my permission. You may link back to this page if you wish to share this project on your blog or website. This pattern is designed and written by Amanda Ward, and is intended for personal use only. Respect artists and their work, and always give credit where it is due. Bad behavior has a way of catching up with you, so be kind.

1 comment:

Abbi said...

i absolutely love this (: my son's first birthday is an ocean theme and i'm seriously considering making some of these for center pieces. It's so hard to find coral crochet patterns (: awesome work!