Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Fancy Pen and a Pencil Grip
I have made a lot of fancy pens in my day. I have made dozens of polymer clay covered pens for myself and my family. I have made my fair share of floral-tape-covered-flower-topped pens for shower gifts. I was passing a Dollar Tree the other day and the big bunches of fake flowers made me think about fancy pens, and then my brain got going on the idea of a fancy crochet pen...
I grabbed my hook and started experimenting. What I discovered is that making pen covers is really, really fun!
They are a little bit tricky, and I found that I had to count the stitches in each row to keep them from narrowing on me. There's not much leeway with the diameter of the small hollow tube, too big and it slides off, too small and you can't wedge the pen inside. There's also a lot of flexibility in the pattern, since there isn't a set number of rows to cover a pen. Some colors look good stretched along the length of the pen, some you have to smoosh the rows together to keep the pen barrel from showing and so they require more rows to get to the end. I found that I needed 35-40 rows to cover each pen.
If you want to start crocheting your own Fancy Pens, I would highly recommend leaving a long tail when you make your magic loop to start, and a long tail when you fasten off at the end. I ended up using the long strands to help snug the case around the pen at the tip, and to finish stitching the top together, and then tighten it into place at the top. It was really helpful to have long pieces of yarn to work with, since it's such a small area to try to connect a new piece of yarn.
The Fancy Pen
I used size 3 super-fine crochet cotton and a size D hook and covered a Bic Stic pen. I also used a sharp tapestry needle with a large eye to weave the ends in, and a large eyed yarn needle for weaving ribbons.
R1: 7 sc in a magic loop, sl st to first st to join round. Do not pull loop closed. (7 st)
R2: ch 1, sc in each st, sl st to first st to join round. (7 st)
R3- 40+ : Repeat row 2 as necessary to cover pen (between 35 and 40 rows, check by sliding work onto pen occasionally as you work) (7 st)
Final Row: Put pen inside cover before your start the last row. (Sc 2 st tog) 3 times, finish off. That seventh stitch is tiny and there's no need to connect it to the last row. Leave a long tail and stitch across the last row together, covering the top end of the pen.
The Fancy Pencil Grip
Make it just the same as the Fancy Pen, but finish at Row 10, without using the final row. Finish off and weave in ends. Your hollow tube is now perfect for making boring pencils fancy and keeping your fingers from cramping.