It's October already! Wow! For so many reasons this is my favorite time of year. New England foliage and the brisk, refreshing weather rank at the top of the list, but so do the bounty of holidays: Halloween, Day of the Dead, I Love Yarn Day, and my birthday! I try to come up with an October project that embraces all of these favorite things. Last year I filled our house with little pumpkins. (Check out the post, and the link to the super easy pattern!)
This year's inspiration comes with a story. Last year I signed up for an account with Stumble Upon. As instructed, I selected several categories I was interested in (crochet, knitting, photography, nature etc.). Like Pinterest, these were the topics that I would see when visiting their website. I did a bit of stumbling (that's what they call it), and promptly forgot about it. Because really, how many social networks can I be a member of ? Anyway, I must have signed up for emailed "highlights" because about once a month I'll get a message with links to what's hot in my categories. Usually I just glance, but recently something caught my eye. It was a skull scarf and a series of pictures showing how to make the skull. Cool. This is something I'm willing to stumble over to!
After 15 frustrating minutes of trying to remember which version of my username and password I used I finally made it to the page. As it turns out, it was just a jpeg - with no link to the website or person who contributed it. But that's okay, because I just wanted to print the picture and try making the skull. Printing proved another challenge and required saving the image to my desktop and printing from there. I'm not so thrilled with my stumbling experience, but I am glad they delivered the skull picture to my inbox.
I made the skull according to the pattern. It came out okay, but as I was making it I was thinking of all the things that I would do differently next time. After a few hours of trial and error I came up with my version of the skull - and this is what I am sharing with you today. Because next to pumpkins, what can be better in October than skulls!?! However, I realize that if it hadn't been for the creative person who posted their skull scarf on the internet, I wouldn't be sharing my version with you today.
The original picture has a watermark on it for a face book group: ClubeDasCrochedeiras. After much searching, I was able to locate them and the original picture! It appears that the group is Portuguese. While I wasn't able to figure out exactly who posted the pattern, I was able to reach out to the group and say thank you. I know that there are only so many ways that you can make a skull motif, and that nobody would have ever known if I just posted my version without this story. But I know, and even though I could have come up with the pattern on my own by looking a pictures on the internet, someone in Portugal gave me a good foundation and made it a whole lot easier, and for that I am thankful!
And so my dear friends, here in my version of the skull motif. I've been having a great time making them. Once you've done a few they're super quick. Like all motifs there are lots of ways you can use them. Link them together like our Portuguese friends to make a scarf, use them as coasters, hang them in your window as spooky decorations or just make them because they're fun. No matter what you do with them - Enjoy!!
I used worsted weight cotton and an f/5 - 3.75mm hook for the white skull. I've made several and prefer this combination. The finished size is about 3 3/4" x 5". The cotton has nice structure for this kind of motif. However, use whatever you have on hand. Skulls are a great stash buster!! The first one I made was a little messy, by the fourth one I had the pattern memorized and they came out neat and even!
Step 1: Ch 14, sl st in beg ch to form loop.
Step 2: Ch 14 (again), sl st in 14th ch from hook to form another loop. Now you should have 2 loops that look like the number 8 or a pair of glasses.
Step 3: Work 18 sc evenly around the first loop, then work 18 sc evenly around the second loop.
Step 4: Using the yarn tail left at the end of the starting chain, wrap it snugly around the space between the eyes 3 or 4 times. Secure the end by pulling it through the loop you make while wrapping. This gives your skull a nice finished look.
Now you’ll be working in rows to create the Top of the Skull above the eyes (the forehead!)
Set Up Row: Sl st in the next 7 sts. This will get you from between the eyes to the top edge so you can start working in rows.
Row 1: Ch 1, turn. 14 sc across top of eyes.
Row 2: Turn (don’t ch 1), skip 1st sc, 12 sc across, leave last sc unworked.
Row 3: Turn (don’t ch 1), skip 1st sc, 10 sc across, leave last sc unworked.
Row 4: Turn (don’t ch 1), skip 1st sc, 8 sc across, leave last sc unworked.
Row 5: Turn (don’t ch 1), sc in each sc across. (8 sc)
Stop here and use stitch marker to hold your place. Cut yarn leaving about 36 – 48 inches. After finishing the lower portion of the skull you’re going to come back to the marker and use the extra long yarn tail to create the border around the skull. You can fasten off after Row 5 and the reattach the yarn for the border, but if you do it this way there are fewer knots and tails to weave in.
Bottom of the Skull (the nose and teeth)
Turn the skull upside down. Find the center under the eyes, count 7 stitches right and join the yarn in that stitch.
Row 1: Sc in same st as join and in next 3 sc, ch 4, skip 6 stitches, sc in next 4 sc. (8sc, ch4 sp)
Row 2: Ch 1, turn. 4sc, 4sc in ch 4 sp, 4 sc. (12 sc)
Row 3: Turn (don’t ch 1), skip 1st sc, sl st in next 2 sc, ch 4 (counts as 1 tr ch), tr ch in next 5 sc, leave last 3 sc unworked. (1 unworked, 2 sl st, 6 tr ch, 3 unworked = 12 sts)
Row 4: Ch 1, turn, sc in each tr ch across , sc in top of ch 4. (6 sc)
Border around the Skull
Go back to the top of the skull where you left off (at the stitch marker). Ch 1, then evenly sc all the way around the skull. Work 2 sc into the corners at the cheeks and bottom of the jaw for smoother transitions. (52 sc)
Finish off with the invisible join or with a sl st into the starting ch.
Weave in the ends, and lightly block to the correct shape. Enjoy!!
But first I decided that I should probably know just a little bit more about the tradition. I'm happy to report that the skulls are used as a way to recognize and remember loved ones who have passed on. Day of the Dead is celebrated in central and southern Mexico on November 1 & 2. The indigenous people believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. The sugar skulls, which are often adorned with the name of the deceased, are part of the alters that families prepare in anticipation of their loved ones visit. If you'd liked to read more about this interesting tradition visit MexicanSugarSkulls.com.
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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