Christmas crackers came into being about 175 years ago. I wanted to create an updated crochet version that could be used: to hold a small gift (choccies, crochet hook keyring, fold away scissors); as a tree or table decoration; or, grouped together to make a crochet cracker garland.
Using a Scandi inspired palette, these crackers have a purposefully modern, geometric look to them.
They are crocheted in rows, using the intarsia crochet technique. Don't worry if you haven't tried intarsia before, all is explained below with a photo tutorial.
Yarn: Lang Jawoll Sock Yarn 50g (190m/207yds) - used because it comes in 50g hanks in great Christmas colours. If you get gauge and swap around which colours are Yarns A-C, you should be able to crochet about 8 crackers from 3 x 50g hanks of Lang Jawoll.
Yarn A - 262 Cherry approx 7g
Yarn B - 94 Natural Cream approx 6g
Yarn C - 23 Light Grey approx 4g
Plus a little extra for the ties
Tension/gauge: unblocked tension of 13.5 sts and 16 rows over 5cm/2"
Other materials required: toilet roll tube (preferably 10.cm long with 12cm circumference)
dc - double crochet (single crochet US)
starting dc - starting double crochet (starting single crochet US) - at the end of a row, extend the loop a little, remove your hook and replace it from the other side. Keep the loop extended and dc into the first st.
Before you start, look through the photo tutorials below so that you know when to change yarn colours, how to read the intarsia chart and manage your yarns etc.
Using Yarn A, ch56 (55 sts and 1 turning ch)
Row 1: 1dc in second ch from hook, 1dc in ea st, turn. (55 sts)
Row 2: Either ch1 or use starting dc (my preferred method because it gives a neater edge, 1dc in ea st, turn. (55 sts)
Row 3-38: Rep Row 2, working to the 'Intarsia Chart for Christmas Cracker' and ensuring that you make colour changes on teh final yrh of the st before the new colour is required.
Finish: Using Yarn C, slip stitch the two edges together. This should be done with the RS on the outside, slip stitching each of the sts of Row 38 to its corresponding starting ch on the other edge. Cut yarn and fasten off.
Weave in ends and pop your crocheted cylinder over your toilet roll tube, making sure that you have centred the tube inside the crocheted cylinder. If you have a toilet roll tube with different dimensions, increase or decrease your number of rows so that it fits snuggly around the tube when slip stitched together without stretching and showing the brown/white toilet roll tube.
Using your preferred yarn colour, ch70 and fasten off. Repeat once more. Use these starting chains as the ties for your crackers.
Your crackers can hold lovely little gifts or be used as decorations around the home during the festive season.
Reading an intarsia chart
This is very similar to reading a crochet chart, but rather than changing stitches, you are changing colours instead. Intarsia generally sticks to one stitch (usually dc (sc US)) which makes the chart very easy to read. You are working in rows, so you read the chart right to left and then left to right for the next row and keep on alternating. What is slightly different with intarsia is that the colour change happens on the stitch before it is shown on the chart.
Changing colours on a Right Side (RS)
Changing colours on a Wrong Side (WS)
At some point, you will get your yarn tangled up. When this happens, pop the project on the table and untangle it all before you continue.
If you want to combat yarn management from the beginning, here is what works best for me:
1 – When you have finished your first row, turn your work anti-clockwise. Move all your yarns slightly to the left, move the first colour of the new row to the right of the other yarns and start crocheting. When you move onto the next colour, make sure it isn’t tangled and place it to the left of the colour just used. Continue until you have finished the row.
2 – Turn your work anti-clockwise, move the yarn tot eh left and start the process again. By sticking to this system, your colours will end up in the same order as your work and are far less likely to get tangled up.
Hopefully, this has given you a little taster of intrasia crochet. I think it's a great technique to have under you belt and I particulalry love designing bold colour block bags and purses using intarsia.
If you are now looking for another intarsia project to sink your teeth into, here are some suggestions from my vaults:
Hove Beach Bag
I would love to see how you get on withyour intarsia projects, so please share them with me @FayDHDesigns on Instagram.