Red Currant Afghan Square Pattern

Snowy finished square
Red currant plant

I’ve chosen to depict the Ribes rubrum currants I grow, one branch ‘Red Lake’ and one branch ‘Pink Champagne’; you could do the square all in one color, or substitute a champagne-cream color to represent the white varieties. Black currants, Ribes nigrum, have a different growth structure and so will most likely have a square of their own.

This square features intarsia branches, with the currant strigs worked in front post stitches. The berries are then added (either beads or embroidery), and finally leaves are worked separately and attached. If you really dislike intarsia, you could crochet or i-cord two tubes in the wood color, and attach them to the green background before placing the berries (but skip the lowest berry motif, as it overlaps the branches). ** This square is a bit stiff in gauge, to support the beads – it would be an ideal candidate for repurposing as a panel of a bag, or pillow.

Currants look like small translucent jewels, so pick a nice shiny novelty, silk or mercerized cotton yarn for the fruit (embroidery floss would also be suitable if you don’t have proper scraps). If you prefer beads, look for something clear with a shiny foil core; in the example square I’ve used something called “miracle beads” with a really nice internal reflection.

Tools: Size G hook (4.0 mm), tapestry needle

Gauge: 8 sc, 10 rows = 2 inches. My sample shrank a bit with time, so don’t be worried if you’re a bit bigger than suggested gauge.

Suggested Yarn:

  • Cascade 220 wool, green, one skein
  • Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, kettledyed Oak, much less than one skein
  • scrap shiny red or pink or champagne-color silk, mercerized cotton or novelty yarn for berries

If using beads for berries:

  • 36 6mm, 96 8mm, and 12 10mm beads total; if you choose to make a two-color square, purchase half in each color

Notes and Abbreviations:

  • This square is worked bottom to top.
  • When changing colors, remember to change color as the last loop of the previous stitch.
  • Sl = slip stitch. Please slip stitch in the back of your chains (or if you’ve read Debbie Stoller, their butts) as it’s more even. Sc = single crochet, dc = double crochet, tc = triple crochet.
  • Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc): Yo, insert hook around post of stitch indicated in chart to pull up a loop, (yo and pull through two loops on hook) 2x. Leave the sc behind the front post stitch unworked.
  • Front Post Treble Crochet (fptc): Yo twice, insert hook around post of stitch indicated in chart, (yo and through two loops on hook) 3x. Leave the sc behind the front post stitch unworked.
  • Use the chart as a guide when to start your front post stitches. I’ve found that if I eyeball their placement I’ve invariably gone past the proper spot.
Chart, as worked through step 3

Instructions:

  1. Chain 48.
  2. Work chart in green, changing to oak where instructed. All front post stitches begin on even-numbered rows, so all odd-numbered rows are plain sc’s straight across. All front post stitches are worked in green.
  3. Weave in ends.
  4. Add a berry at the end of each front-post stitch, including the ones connecting to the next tier of front posts. Embroidered berriers should be about 2 st by 2 st round, or you could stagger them smaller at the top to largest at the bottom. If using beads, add them in this pattern:

                  6mm   6     6
                      8      8     8
                      8      8     8
                      8     10    8

5. Work three leaves (below),  and attach to your liking in the open spaces in your square.

Leaf

Five-Lobed Leaf:

Row 1 is your starting chain. This will form the five veins of the leaf.

  • Chain 3, sl in the back of the second chain from hook, sl.
  • Without breaking your yarn, chain 6 more, sl in 3rd chain from hook, 3sl.
  • Chain 8 more, sl in 3rd chain from hook, 5sl.
  • Chain 6, sl in 3rd chain from hook, 3sl.
  • Chain 3, sl in second chain from hook, sl.
  • If you stretch the base of this structure gently, you’ll see one stitch at the base of each chained section; sc in the middle stitch (below the longest vein), then sl to first chained stitch to close off row 1.

Row 2 forms the body of the leaf:

  • Ch 1, sc in same space. Ch1 and sl in the back of that ch, to form something of a picot. Sc in the stitch at the end of the vein, ch 2, sc in same space.
  • Sc in the 3rd space in the next vein upwards. Ch 1 and sl in it. In the space formed at the end of the vein, sc, ch1, sc, ch1, sc. Ch1 and sl in it, sc. There should be two ch stitches left in this vein before you reach the intersection of the next vein.
  • Tc in the first stitch in the next vein, above the intersection, but keep the last loop on the hook instead of drawing it through. Tc in next space, keeping last loop on hook; then dc in next space, drawing through all loops on hook. Ch1 and sl in it, sc. In the space formed at the end of the vein, sc, ch 2, sc.
  • Ch 1 and sl in it, sc, ch1 and sl in it. Dc, keeping last loop on hook; tc, keeping last loop on hook; then tc, drawing through all loops on hook.
  • Sc in the 3rd stitch from the base of the next vein (mirroring what you’ve done on the right side of the leaf). Ch 1 and sl in it. In the end of the vein, sc, ch 1, sc, ch1, sc. There should be two sc left in this part of the vein before the  intersection.
  • In the end space of the last vein, sc, ch 2, sc in same space. Ch1 and sl in it, sc.
  • Sl in the space at the bottom of the central vein, then cut yarn and fasten off.
Berries added

Chart Key:

  • Each green O is the top of a front post stitch. Each Z is the bottom of a front post stitch. Arrows point the direction of the stitch.
  • Arrow one square long? Work fpdc.
  • Arrow three squares long? Work fptc.
  • When stacking front post stitches vertically to make the central stem of the strig, work front post stitch around the post of the fpdc below it to create a continuous line.
  • When working multiple front post stitches in the same space, as with the tiny branching parts of the strigs: work rightmost fpdc, but leave last loop on hook. Work center fpdc, but leave last loop on hook. Work left fpdc, drawing through all loops on hook. As usual, leave stitch behind junction unworked.
  • Link to chart as full-page PDF: red-currant-chart

    currant-chart

    Final square, with leaves added
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