There are many sorts of orchid but when researching what I could make all those months ago when I wrote my first post about it, I decided to try to create the Moth Orchid – Phalaenopsis.I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in how I made the spray of orchids but since someone has asked I have decided to share what I did. I am not sure whether to call it a ‘pattern’ as my patterns are normally things I feel anyone could make and I am unable in this case to tie down a rigid method, more just a description of what I did.
This is aimed at confident crafters who can make sense of what I write. (On this occasion I have written only in UK terms)
I used Ricos Essentials Cotton, DK weight, in white. The cotton has a sheen which gives the flowers a bit of a glow. You will also need a small amount of red and also green yarn for the stems.
I used a 3.5mm hook, though I crochet fairly tightly, so you may prefer a 3mm hook. Anyway since the size of the flower is not critical, use whatever size you feel most comfortable with and that gives the best result.
Did you know that when you make a slip stitch, you can either make it so that pulling the tail tightens the loop or that you have to pull the main yarn to tighten it? Surprisingly, I didn’t realise this till recently. For this pattern you need to make your slip stitch so that pulling the tail tightens the loop. I achieve this by holding the end in my right hand. (But I wouldn’t want you to think I am trying to “teach my grandmother to suck eggs” if all this is second nature to you.)
[I have added some charts at the bottom. They have been made relatively quickly and I have used my normal trick of mirroring the stitches so the diagonals on the trebles won’t all go the right way but I thought they might be of some use to some people.]
White Orchid (make 4)
Central circle and column.
Column appears to be the most common term for the nobby bit in the centre above the two side petals.
I found that making a circle of twelve htrs worked best. I used a magic loop but any other way of starting would work as well as this part should not be seen in the final flower.
At the end of the 12 htrs, slip stitch into the first st then work 4ch, and dc into second ch from hook and the two after that, then ss into start. Pull firmly and sew in ends.
This excrescence will naturally curl up
Side Petals (make 2)
Start: 2 ch
Row 1: 3dcs into second chain from hook.
Row 2: 1 ch, 2dcs into first dc, dc into dc, 2dcs into last dc.
Row 3: 3 ch, 2trs into first dc, 2trs into next dc, then tr into next, 2trs into next and 3tr into last.
Row 4: 1ch, (dc, htr, tr) into first tr of row below. The 2trs into each of next two stitches. Now you work what I call a half double treble (hdtr) into the next stitch. (See below for explanation). Then a dtr into eah of the two central stitches, a hdtr into the next, 2trs into each of the next two stitches and (tr, htr,dc) into the last stitch.
Now continue down the side of the petal working a slip stitch into the side of the end of the three rows below. Then a final ss into the starting chain.
Followed by: 2ch, tr into starting chain, 2ch, ss into starting chain.
Now work up the other side of the petal making a ss into the side of each of the three rows.
The way I finish off is how I often finish off these day which is to extend the remaining loop on the hook until it is long enough to give a good length of yarn and cut in the middle. I then thread it on a needle and pass the needle under, in this case, the first dc of row 4. I then thread the yarn back where it came from and sew it securely into the back of the petal.
This gives the appearance of an unbroken row of stitches round the edge of the petal.
I leave the starting yarn to sew the petal on to the centre of the flower later but pull it to tighten the starting chain.
[Hdtr: I make a dtr in the normal way except that when there are three loops left on the hook. I pull the yarn through all three.]
Rounded Sepal at the top
(I discovered that this part is a sepal and not a petal as I originally thought of it.)
Just two rounds this time.
Start: 7ch. (Remember to make the slip knot so you can tighten it.)
You will be working into the back loops, then back up the other side into what have now become back loops if that makes sense.
Round 1: dc into second ch from hook, then dc into each of the next four chains. When you get to the starting chain, I work 2dcs before the knot then one after it, making three in all. You are now working down the other side. Work five more dcs, one into the one loop of each chain. Then a ss into the turning ch.
Round 2: ch1, then dc into first dc, htr into next, tr into each of next four dcs. Then 5trs into next dc, tr into each of next 4 dcs, htr into next, dc into last. Ss into start. Tighten starting chain and sew in end securely. Leaving a good length of the yarn at the other end to sew this sepal onto the centre later.
Pointy Sepals at the side (make 2)
Just two rounds again.
Start: 6ch. (Remember to make the slip knot so you can tighten it.)
Round 1:dc into second ch from hook, then dc into each of the next three chains. When you get to the starting chain, I work 2dcs before the knot then one after it, making three in all. You are now working down the other side. Work four more dcs, one into the one loop of each chain. Then a ss into the turning ch.
Round 2: 2ch, tr into first four dcs, (tr, dtr, tr) into next dc, then tr into each of last four dcs. 2ch, ss into turning ch of first round.
Finish off as sepal above.
Red Petal or Lip
Now using red yarn ch4, ss into third ch from hook, ch2, ss into starting ch, 3ch, tr into starting chain, 3ch, ss into starting chain, 4ch, ss into third ch from hook, 2ch, ss into starting chain.
This should give a wide central piece with two thin side pieces that should arch upwards either side.
The petals and sepals have a natural tendency to curl and I felt that when arranged they did so in an appropriate way so I did not try to stiffen them at all just adjusted them with my fingers at the end since they will not be being touched in use. However if you want to experiment with stiffening feel free.
The first thing I did was to attach the rounded sepal to the central circle behind the column. I then attached the two pointed sepals symmetrically at either side. They should stick out at an appropriate angle for an orchid which meant that there was an angle of about 90deg between them and one or two stitches of the edge of the circle. The sepals need to be secure.
I then took the two petals and attached them to near the centre of the circle so the narrow part was just below the column. These I sewed on with reference to pictures of orchids so they overlap both upper and lower sepals.
Finally, I threaded both ends of the red yarn of the lip into a needle, threaded the needle through the centre of the circle secured the ends either side at the back so it wouldn’t swivel then for speed and simplicity just tied the ends together in a double knot and cut off short.
I do not consider sewing things together to be one of my strong points so if you have a better method of getting the same result that is to be recommended.
Stems and attaching Orchids
When I made some knitted roses (from a book) I made a knitted I-cord for the stems and had thought to crochet something for the orchids but couldn’t quite see how. In the end the fact that I had very little green cotton yarn decided me on a simpler choice.
I had bought these flower wires when I made the roses and thought I could also use them for the orchids.
Part 1 (make three)
I took my jewellery pliers and bent over the ends to make a small loop. I left it open and made a slip knot in the green yarn leaving a very long tail. I then wound the tail yarn tightly round the wire working upwards towards the loop. When I had enough I slid it round so it filled the loop closed the loop with the pliers and tied the end to the main part of the yarn the other side of the slip knot. I used what was left to sew the loop on the back of the flower. But first I continued down the wire with the main ball of yarn, winding it so the wire didn’t show, until I had enough for the curving stem behind the flower. I then cut the yarn and took a small piece of sellotape which I wrapped round yarn and wire (50/50) to hold the yarn in place.
For the fourth orchid I did as above plus working extra to cover the gap between the stem of the end and adjacent orchid. When I came to the end I didn’t cut the yarn and used a paperclip to hold it in place.
Attaching the flowers.
I laid each wire to the back of a flower with the loop behind the centre circle and the rest of the wire pointing upwards behind the rounded sepal. I sewed the loop in place at the back of the circle (using an extra bit of white thread when I found I didn’t have enough green!)
I then bent the wires in a curve for the individual flowers stems followed by a 90deg bend for the part between the individual stems. If that makes sense. Obviously I let the yarn covered section extend just beyond the bend.
The fourth orchid was the front one (so in a sense the first!) and I took one of the other three and laid the wires against each other, so that the stems were spaced correctly and started to wind the yarn round both wires, covering the last of the green and the sellotape for the second flower. I added a third flower and then a fourth at suitable intervals then continued winding the yarn round the wires until there was no more wire left. I was not too bothered about the appearance of the stem, though I tried to make it neat, as it would be inside the vase. I think that I bent the last of the wire up and tied the yarn to stop it slipping. I am sure you can make a better job of it!
I arranged the flowers so that they overlapped each other with the end one in front as you can see in the picture. I straightened the petals and sepals and pulled the wide part of the lip so it was horizontal.
It is possible that the individual stems should have been a bit shorter and that I should bend the flowers forward more so they don’t show.
I leave that to your judgement. There are plenty of photographs of orchids online.
[As always do let me know of any mistakes. I have put this together fairly quickly.]