Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lifelike Crochet Plumeria Flowers

I love giving flowers on Mother's Day. The only problem with this gift is that live flowers don't last very long. Well, I've found the solution to this: crochet flowers! This year, I made each of my grandmothers a crochet flower for Mother's Day. My favorite flower is the plumeria. I love its simple perfection, rounded edges, and silky white petals. Plumeria are fun to wear behind the ear and the crochet version would look beautiful behind the ear or as a hat or hair adornment. I found two amazingly lifelike crochet plumeria flower patterns. I could not pick just one, so I made one of each. 

two crochet plumeria flowers
Left: Happy Patty Crochet's pattern; Right: Planet June's pattern






Pattern Comparison


overview of plumeria crochet patterns

Happy Patty Crochet Plumeria Pattern

crochet plumeria flower in handThis flower is so pretty and delicate. I absolutely love how it turned out. Happy Patty has appropriately labeled the pattern as being best suited for an intermediate skill level. This is based partly on the use of a special stitch, and perhaps partly on the fact that she suggests using crochet thread size 20. If you have never worked with this size, let me tell you it is the same thickness as sewing thread! When I attempted the flower using this thread and a 1 mm hook, my eyes crossed and my  hand cramped. I simply could not physically handle working with such tiny thread. I switched to crochet thread #3 and was very happy with the resulting flower, which was approximately 3 inches in diameter. I must note that my hands still cramped a bit using the #3 thread and 2 mm hook. Part of this is due to my tendency to grasp everything too tightly, especially when working on physically small projects. 

The special stitch is a modified version of Tunisian crochet stitch. It is fun to do and pretty easy once you get the gist of it. Happy Patty includes a link to a video tutorial with her pattern, but it's a bit difficult to see what she's doing on account of the very tiny thread and hook she uses. I would suggest finding a Tunisian crochet stitch tutorial if you are unfamiliar with this stitch. The tutorial should help you get the gist of it. Just remember, Happy Patty modified the stitch, so it is not exactly like the standard Tunisian crochet stitch. 

The pattern was relatively easy to follow, although I had to complete a few petals before I felt confident that I was doing it correctly. I think that if Happy Patty had included a few more details on the pattern, then it could be followed by an adventurous beginner. For example, I find checkpoints such as "you should now have 7 loops on the hook" or photos showing exactly where the hook needs to go to be very helpful from a beginner's perspective. The great thing about the pattern is that it includes a written description, detailed close-up photos, and a stitch diagram. This helped for parts in the written pattern that I wasn't sure about because I was able to refer to the photos and diagram to make sure I was following the pattern correctly.
crochet plumeria flower reinforcement stitch

My completed flower was beautiful, but a bit floppy. Although the pattern is written so that the petals overlap, mine did not stay in place, so I added a tiny stitch between the petals (using size 20 thread to minimize visibility) to secure them in place. I simply tied a square knot in the spot shown in this photo and cut the ends very close to the knot.

I also thought that the holes in the pattern center provided a great opportunity to add some color. I did not have yellow thread in the same size, but I did have some Lion Brand bonbons (100% cotton in the "beach" package), which is only slightly thicker than the #3 crochet thread. I used the Lion Brand yarn to crochet a slightly conical backing to place behind the flower center. 

Backing pattern for adding a second color in the spaces:
  • Magic circle, ch1
  • Row 1: 5sc in magic circle
  • Row 2: 2sc in each st around (10 st)
  • Row 3: (2sc, 1sc)x5 (15 st)
  • Row 4: 3sc, (2sc, 3sc)x3 (18st)
  • Row 5: repeat row 4 (18 st), sl st, fasten off and leave a long tail
crochet plumeria flower backing with wire stem 
I sewed the yellow disc to the back of the flower using the yellow yarn tail. Next, I threaded 10 inches of florist wire through the disc (making sure to place it so that the wire did not show through in the front). I left two equal ends that I twisted together to make the stem, then wrapped it in florist tape to make it pretty and cover the sharp ends of the wire. Finally, I added a second yellow disc to cover the unsightly wire. In hindsight, it would have made more sense to make the second disc white.

Summary of Tips for Happy Patty Crochet's Plumeria Pattern

    completed crochet plumeria flower
  • Use crochet thread size 3 rather than size 20. If this still feels too small, practice first using worsted weight yarn and a larger hook
  • Find a YouTube tutorial on Tunisian crochet to get the gist of the special stitch (special stitch differs only slightly from standard stitch)
  • Secure the petals together (at the back) to keep them overlapped and in place
  • Add a different color disc at the back that can also be used for attaching a stem
  • Wait until all petals are finished to completely tighten and secure the magic circle (this provides a bit more working room)


Planet June's Crochet Plumeria Pattern

simple crochet plomeria flower with stemThis pattern was very easy to follow and I got it right the very first try. The pattern includes complete instructions including a small backing. The only modifications I made were using crochet thread #3 instead of worsted weight yarn (giving a 3-inch diameter flower), and adding a stem using the same technique described above. I hid part of the stem with the backing. This flower turned out very cute and lifelike. I made an all-white flower, but I think it needs a yellow center. June provides instructions for doing this on her blog.

Here are photos showing how I added the wire to the back of the Planet June flower:

crochet plumeria flower showing wire stem

Here are the finished backs of both flowers. I secured the magic circle after threading the stem through the center of the backing.

backing and stem of crochet plumeria flowers

Overall, I prefer Happy Patty's plumeria flower for it's delicateness and the fact that it can be made in a single piece. However, there is a learning curve with the pattern and it requires reinforcement in order to be used as a stand-alone flower, such as one you would wear behind the ear. Planet June's plumeria is also very beautiful and the pattern is very easy to follow, but requires assembly. Planet June's flower is very robust and will hold up to a toddler's handling, which is a huge plus in my house. Once I figured out Happy Patty's pattern, it took me about the same amount of time to make each flower. I love both of these patterns and will be making many more of these crochet plumeria flowers to be enjoyed by moms of all ages for years to come!

Which plumeria flower pattern are you going to try first?

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