What about a Celtic Coaster style Placemat?

This does include a universal pattern at the bottom as long as you don’t mind a bit of Maths!

Having had a few people interested in the possibility of a placemat in similar style to my Celtic Coaster, being the person I am, I wasn’t able to stop considering it.

My first thought was that it would be a lot of work and very fiddly. However……….

Imagining a placemat made in a similar way to the coaster as being made of similar width strips. I wondered how many that would need to be and in the end decided that about sixteen would equal a foot. (Not sure I am right here but it was a good place to start.)

Now the number of separate strips needed for a piece of Celtic plaitwork depends on the whether, on counting the number of bumps on each side (including the corners), the two numbers have a common factor.

No common factor: one piece (as in my odd numbered Celtic bookmarks.)

If there is a common factor that determines how many separate strips there are.

Two examples of plaitwork
four and six have a common factor of two whereas three and five have no common factor except one.

For a square, both sides are the same so you need that number of strips. Hence the style of my coasters.

I tend to think of placemats as being rectangular so having decided on sixteen colours for one foot (30cm). I chose to draw out one that was 16 x 32 bumps.

Now to be similar to my coasters each colour must be different. Sixteen was about the number of colours I used for my spectrum blanket so I coloured each strip in similar colours and produced this. 32 x 16, 16 colour arrangementNow one of the things I wanted with my coasters was for no adjacent overlaps to be the same colour.

I think, if you look closely, you will see that this breaks this rule in a vertical strip down the centre.

Of course a square placemat would not. square 16 colour arrangement(Each strip of the 16 x 32 placemat would need about 360 chains and there would be sixteen of them to weave together. That is a similar number of chains to those needed for each of my bookmarks.)

Now one person had asked about a matching coaster and obviously this could not match with all those colours so I looked to see what would happen if you repeated the colours of my first (non rainbow) coaster original coaster(As represented in my drawing programme) computer version of coasterand got this. 32 x 16, 4 coloursEven more matching adjacent overlaps.

Even if it was square. 16 x 16 square 4 coloursSome people might like the patterns it gives rise to but it wasn’t really what I wanted.

So I decided to work out how to make a bigger version of my coaster with the same shape strips but just wider.

As it was just a trial effort, I used some of my acrylic yarn that I had no specific plans for, as the cotton yarn is more expensive and I wasn’t sure I had enough anyway. Acrylic is much stretchier though and so needs more TLC to get it into shape. However I hope it will give you the general idea of what is possible.

For symmetry I decided to just make the strips three times wider and see how large it ended up. This would mean nine trebles (US-dcs) for each cross-over and over one hundred chains for each strip.

The thing that surprised me was to find that when adding further rows it takes two added rows to equal the width of one row on its own. So I ended up with five rows and not three! (And 114 starting chains see formula below.) Placemat and coasterSince each strip is approximately the same size you should need something less than 25g of each colour. As the whole thing weighed just under 85g. More of course if it was cotton. I used a 4.5mm hook for the starting chain and then a 4mm hook for the stitches. I tend to crochet quite tightly.

Here it is with a plate. Placemat and coaster with plate

Although I was doing all this primarily for other people it has proved quite useful, as one of my first thoughts was to use plaitwork to make a cushion cover and now I have the tools to plan such a cover – watch this space!

Some Maths!

For a square coaster, placemat etc.

If N is the number of bumps down the side (including the corners), N is also the number of strips and so also the number of colours needed if each strip is a different colour.

As an aside: I think that N is best if it is even, as if it is odd you get a square shape in the middle which I think stands out too much.

3 colour coaster
This was the one that was too loose but I think you can get the idea

For an even number the first half of the shapes are the same as the second half and they blend together more. four colour coasterHowever the formula works for all values of N.

In all the following (US readers read ‘double crochet’ where I say ‘treble’)

Then for each strip if only one row wide:

The number of chains to start = 12(N-1) + 6. This includes the two extra chain needed for the first treble equivalent.

For thicker strips:

If m is the number of rows. I think m works best if it is odd from the point of view of symmetry. (If you chose an even numbered m you will have to adjust for any halves you get. I suggest rounding down as crochet is stretchy.)

The number of chains to start = 12[1 +(m-1)/2](N-1) + 6. This includes the two extra chain needed for the first treble equivalent.

Hope you remember your BODMAS!

I have even come up with a formula pattern for any size you might want to make.

For strips only one row wide:

Work the following, using values of ‘t’ from 1 to N.

(Following on from my remark about an even N, when N is even you can just make two each of the first N/2 shapes, which is what I did for the coaster.)

Treble into 4th chain from hook, 5tr into one chain,

Then one treble into each chain for 6(t-1) chains. (Yes this gives zero for the first ‘t’), 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(n-t) chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(t-1) chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(n-t)-2 chains. (This corrects for the first two trebles made at the beginning which will give a join that is underneath.)

A more general formula that will also work for thicker strips:

If N is the number of strips (colours) and m is the number of rows.

The first rows come from:-

Work the following, using values of ‘t’ from 1 to N-1. Then repeat t=1.

Treble into 4th chain from hook, Then one treble into each chain for [(m-1)/2] chains, 5tr into one chain,

Then one treble into each chain for 6(m+1)(t-1)/2 chains. (Yes this gives zero for the first ‘t’), 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(m+1)(n-t)/2 chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(m+1)(t-1)/2 chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one stitch into each chain for (6(m+1)(n-t)-(m+3))/2 chains. (This corrects for the extra trebles made at the beginning which will give a join that is underneath. If when you put the plait together the join is not underneath then you have the strip the wrong way up. I always presume that the right side is the front of the first row.)

For the rows after that work one tr into each tr except for the turns. (Remember to start with 3ch, miss the first stitch, and work the last tr into the top of the 3ch on the previous row.)

For 180deg turns, on the second row I worked into the 10 stitches of the turn as follows – (tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, tr) (16)

On the third row I worked into the central sixteen stitches of the above as follows – (tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr). (22)

Hopefully you can see a pattern here. I felt it was similar to working a circle, (or see below.)

For 90deg turns I simply worked 5trs into the central treble of the five of the previous row and one treble into all the others.

Pattern for 180deg turns continued

How the stitches increased for the fourth and fifth rows.

Over 22 stitches: (tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, tr.) (28)

Over 28 stitches: (tr, tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, tr, tr.) (34)

Caveat: Although I have checked and double checked my figures and formulae, I do make mistakes, and if anyone thinks they have found one, I am always grateful to be told so I can investigate.






Celtic Coasters pattern update.

When I first published this pattern someone asked for my guidance on fitting the parts together.

At the time I was a bit busy having just returned from my holiday but I have now done some more diagrams to show how to fit each of the parts together progressively. Fitting parts together diagramI have used the colours as in one of my coasters.

The stars represent the joins. The black ones show when they are visible and the arrows show where they are when hidden under other layers.

As the original diagram showed the two thinner shapes are the ones to interleave first. They must go under and over exactly as shown. Join the ends.

Then you add one of the other two going under or over as shown. This will hide one of the joins.

When you add the last shape all the joins will be hidden. This time every under will be followed by an over.

I have updated the pattern in the original post.

Celtic Coasters & pattern

If you enjoy this pattern, you might also be interested in this post – https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/what-about-a-celtic-coaster-style-placemat/

You may remember my “I have a new obsession” post. Well since then I have been working on more celtic designs, in particular I have continued thinking about how to make a coaster.

I had given up the crochet cotton coaster because my hands were hurting but it occured to me that it might be possible to make one in DK weight yarn if I gave up the idea of combining five pieces, so I tried with three and my standard method of working out how many chains were needed.3 part coasterI realised that although this worked well for my celtic bookmark that the gaps in the resulting coaster would be better eliminated, so I reduced the number of trebles (US-dcs) for a crossing point from four to three and tried again.

I had realised that using less trebles per crossing, I could increase the number of pieces from three to four.

So this is what I did and here is the result.4 part coasterI then got out the oddments of my Rico essentials cotton yarn and made another one.Coaster from cotton oddmentsI thought it worked it even better in cotton.

Now, I had shown you how I messed around with a drawing program to see how different colours could be used. I had a play and chose to make a couple more coasters like this from my regular stash.Red to green coasterandGreen to purple coasterI then thought it might be fun to use just two colours arranged so as to get a chequer pattern in the centre.

This is what you get.Black and cream coasterThis four piece coaster is the one for which I have written out the pattern but of course using the basic idea of three stitches for a crossing point and five into one for a corner you could design any number of pieces plaitwork coaster you chose.

I thought that starting each piece with the three chain and then just one stitch before the first corner worked well.

I would love to make some more but my coffee table is getting Coffee tablea bit crowded.

Now the pattern – UK terms – if you are in the US just replace treble (tr) with double crochet (dc).

Celtic Coaster pattern

These are very easy to make. The trickiest bit is fitting the four parts together.

You make two each of two different shapes. There is a long thin shape and a rectangular shape.

I used DK (US light worsted weight) yarn and a 4mm hook. You need to have a fairly firm strip, so use a different hook if necessary depending on the way you crochet. I crochet fairly tightly.

Mine came out about 3.5 inches square (9 cm).

Long thin shape

Start with 42 chain. (It is quite a good idea, if you are not too much of a perfectionist, to chain a few extra and then remove them at the end, just in case you miss the odd one.)

Ideally you want to work into the loop at the back of the chain (my method four in this post – https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/four-ways-to-crochet-into-a-chain/ )
This gives an identical edge to both sides of the strip.

Treble into fourth chain from hook, then 5 trs into each of the next two stitches, tr into each of the next 18 stitches, then 5 trs into each of the next two stitches, tr into each of the next 16 stitches.

This ensures that the join can be behind another of the pieces.

Rectangular shape

Starting with 42 chain and working into the back loop again.

Treble into fourth chain from hook, then 5 trs into next stitch, tr into each of the next 6 stitches, 5 trs into next stitch, tr into each of the next 12 stitches, 5 trs into next stitch, tr into each of the next 6 stitches, 5 trs into next stitch, tr into each of the next 10 stitches.

Join the ends of one of the long thin shapes.

I find that it is better not to join the other ends until you are sure you have got them interleaved correctly.

The best way I find is to position the long thin joined shape and then interleave the similar shape as shown below.DiagramYou then add one of the rectangular shapes going over and under as shown in the photograph.Coaster to copy fromor use this diagram.Fitting parts together diagramThe stars represent the joins. The black ones show when they are visible and the arrows show where they are when hidden under other layers.

As the original diagram showed the two thinner shapes are the ones to interleave first. They must go under and over exactly as shown. Join the ends.

Then you add one of the other two going under or over as shown. This will hide one of the joins.

When you add the last shape all the joins will be hidden. This time every under will be followed by an over.

Check that each piece alternates between going over and going under and that all the joins will be on the underside.

When you are satisfied, join the remaining three pieces, press, and your coaster is finished.

(As always if you find any mistakes, please let me know!)


I have a new obsession!

Celtic knotwork or plaitwork. (And I haven’t forgotten about the orchids.)

I few weeks ago I showed you the bookmark I had made. Well since then I have been busy drawing and planning and thinking up ideas.

For further ideas I turned to my book on Celtic knotwork.BookHere are some of my early drawings. Early drawingsThe one with colour comes from in the book but done my way.

The ones lower left are just plaitwork squares and the one at the top is my idea for a celtic knot cross bookmark.

This is it done on the computer.Knot crossI have a silver celtic cross and I also wondered if that could be turned into a crochet pattern.

Silver cross designThe curves make this trickier to work out.

Having decided that the plaitwork was the simplest, I played around with a few colours

I decided that using my computer drawing program would make that easier.Complete plaitPutting each colour on a different layer e.g.First layer

made it easier to try different combinations.

Different colourwaysMaybe you might like to try on squared paper or the computer.

The only shapes you need are these.Needed shapesor the mirror equivalent. I have used both.

It’s best to start in the middle like this.Start

Turning this into a pattern is easy.

Draw round the curve to represent the chain you will start with, as in this pattern for my bookmark.Drawing for bookmarkYou will make a long chain the right length (or a little longer and undo any excess chains). Working into the back of the chains gives the best finish.

Each crossover point means 4 chains (ignore the squares between crossovers). Each 90 deg turn means either 1 chain or 5 chains if the chain is on the outside of the curve.

Each 180 deg curve is similarly either 3 chain or 11 chain.

You work 1 tr (US-dc) into each chain except for corners and turns.

A corner 90 deg turn is made by working 5tr (US-dc) into 1 chain or else doing 5trtog.

A 180 deg turn is made by working 5tr into first chain, then 1 tr into next, then 5 tr into next, or else 5trtog, 1 ch, 5trtog.

I liked to start in the middle of a crossover point.

This works for any design not just the bookmark.

I realised that if I made the smaller plaitwork design in DK (US-worsted weight) yarn it would be too big for a drink mat so I thought I would try with some #10 cotton.Halfway finishedUnfortunately I had to stop at this point.

I have had pains in my wrists for the past few months and although making my rainbow spiral cloth was fine, working into the back of the chain for these hurt too much.

I thought it was something that would get better if I just rested my hands and didn’t do things that hurt but now I have been told that it is osteoarthritis. The doctor didn’t seem to think I needed any more information as it was enough to know that it was “nothing scary”.

I am still hoping to finish this one day and try my bookmark ideas. Just need to find out a bit more about living with osteoarthritis and whether if it hurts it’s doing damage.

My hands work fine and the pain is not as bad as it was; just don’t want it to get worse.

It’s thicker than the others but I love using my celtic bookmark.

Celtic knot bookmark

Christmas Coasters

I hope you all had a Happy Christmas and are now looking forward to the New Year.

So while we wait here is something I couldn’t show you before.

These I days I give my children money for Christmas and birthdays with maybe a little something to open. Last year I made my daughters and their husbands crochet key rings. This year however I only made one Christmas present: a joint one for my eldest and her husband.

Some Christmas coasters.

Finished coasters

The gold shape in the centre was not part of the present I just put it there to add to the picture.

I took the patterns out of my 100 snowflake book.

Snowflake book

I started my making no. 100 in silver because it seemed a good size and shape for a coaster. I then made no. 98 in gold, didn’t like it very much because the holes were to big and made no. 97 instead. The snowflakes at the end of the book are larger than those at the beginning.

I chose no.97 because it looked as much like a star as a snowflake. So I saw the present as comprising six stars and six snowflakes.

Finished snowflakes

[Having experimented with stiffening this sort if thread with PVA glue and spray starch. I decided the glue made them just too stiff and used the starch.]

So now I had my coasters but I realised that as they were they were neither very heat proof or drip proof I had to do something to remedy this.

In the end my solution was to buy some felt and embroidery thread and make a hexagonal pad to attach them to.

Scraps from making hexagons

Here you can see the scraps that were left from two pieces of felt 9″ x 12″ in red and green plus the template I cut from an old birthday card.

I found some lovely shiny rayon embroidery thread in matching colours.

Red and green thread

I cut out two hexagons for each coaster, sewed the snowflake shape on one with invisible thread (Just to be sure it wouldn’t show) and then joined a second hexagon to the first with blanket stitch round the edge.

As you may have realised I am not very good at sewing but I was pleasantly surprised that the sewing wasn’t too bad.

Stitching on coaster

here is a closer view of the two designs.

A pair of coasters

My daughter was delighted with them.


The Giveaway Winner is………………………..

This time I really did put the names in a hat.

An old winter imitation fur hat that is actually too small for me.

Tossed them around with my fingers many times before drawing out…………………..

A winner who will receive this lovely cotton yarn in seven rainbow colours


and one of the following coasters


or one like this.

Had to keep you waiting! 🙂

And the Winner is


I have sent her an email to tell her that she has won and asking which coaster she would like.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Thank you to everyone who entered it was lovely to hear from you all.

At Last! The Giveaway

This Giveaway is for the 200+ email followers that I know about. I explained before that I was a little tired in July when I reached that magic number – 200 and now I am well on the way to 250!

When you see what I have decided for the giveaway you will understand why I had to wait this late into August.

The giveaway will have a yarn part and a created by me part.

The yarn is these seven balls of Rico Essentials cotton in standard rainbow colours. The ‘indigo’ in an actual rainbow is not really as dark as the name indigo would suggest so these are my take on suitable (and available) colours.


All to spread a little rainbow love. 🙂

But as well, as I have been busy with making coasters lately out of this same yarn, I will be giving away copies of the patterns I created for both sorts of coasters and will make one coaster of the winner’s choice.

Either a rainbow one like this

0173-redor a rainbow one like this


or a plain one like this in any of the rainbow colours.


To enter – Just post a comment below saying that you are an email follower and want to enter – I will chose a winner in a couple of weeks time on 7th September, all ready to be announced on the Monday.

Rainbow coasters

I couldn’t show you these before as I made them as a little something for part of my daughter’s birthday present.


People seemed to like the idea of rainbow coasters when I showed you the ones I made in June but they only had five rows.


So I decided to make some coasters about the same size but with exactly seven rows. I had intended to give my daughter rainbow coasters for her last birthday but hadn’t got round to it so this killed two birds with one stone as it were.

I decided it would be fun to do the colours in standard rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, both from edge to inside and from inside to edge.

Here is a close-up of the first one


and the other


I think they are really jolly and my daughter likes them so that is good.

Which colourway do you prefer?

July Montage

In July – I shared with you the rest of my holiday in Criccieth and my son’s new flat.

I showed you a recipe for a different sort of banana bread.

The only crochet I shared was the bunting and coasters I made while I was away. This is mainly because of helping my son cope with all that is involved in moving from one flat to another but I did manage to fit in a bunting tutorial.

I took some photographs of the recent rhino invasion of Southampton and a lot more photographs of our final? visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Mary Rose.


A special commision with extras

This wasn’t the sort of commision that those of you that sell stuff get, no this was my daughter asking me if I could make some bunting for their friend/lodger, James, whose birthday was early in July.

Since she asked me only a few days before I went to Criccieth, I decided that I would have to try and make it while I was away. I made a few sample bunting triangles, showed her the alternatives and ordered some Rico Essentials Cotton in the required colours, which were turquoise, grey, red and cream.

We decided that one colour triangles would be best and I said that granny triangles would be the best choice as time was short.

So here is the finished bunting.


I made the triangles on the train going to Criccieth and in the evenings watching TV in my room.

Back home I looked at the triangles and thought the the corners were a bit rounded and felt that I ought to do something about it.


However being a cautious sort of person, I first made a small triangle in grey pinned it out and sprayed the reverse with spray starch and ironed it.


I decided that it looked good and so I pinned the triangles (one colour set at a time) to a block of polystyrene under my ironing board cover and spray and ironed them.


I then took the grey and cream crochet cottons and crocheted a long chain slipstitching it to the triangles as I went along.


And here is the finished bunting in James’ room. I am told that the final position has not been decided on but you can see how it fits with the general colour scheme.


While on holiday, however I had finished the triangles in good time, and not being able to proceed any further I decided to try and make some coasters in the same colours to add to the present.

Now while I was making squares for the CAL, I had thought that the centre of this one might be useful for other things.


I couldn’t remember the pattern but I could remember the general look and so I made this.


As you can see it is not exactly the same but I was very pleased with it and thought it looked almost professional!

I made one in each colour.


When I was back home I made an almost rainbow one


But I was inclined to think that I preferred the single colour ones.

What do you think?

Here is another photograph of the coaster with two slate coasters that I bought in Blaenau Ffestiniog.