Suffragette Chains – Crochet pattern

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It being the centenary when some women in the UK finally got the vote, I have got involved with planning some events in Gedling Borough. In particular, the Borough is organising a family picnic in July in one of the local parks.  I coordinate a local crafting group called Notts Yarnarchists (search for us on Facebook)  and agreed to coordinate yarn bombing the park.  This will be in suffragette colours naturally. So green white and violet (give women the vote) for the more radical suffragettes or green white and red for the more law-abiding groups.  The colours should be in those orders.

As these lovely ladies tended to do things like chain themselves to railings I decided to crochet some chains. (Balls optional.) Looking round however surprisingly (!) They do knot and seem to be crochet patterns for suffragette chains. I did find a pattern for a chunky yarn chain Scarf on Ravelry by Lorna Watts: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chain-link-scarf-11, which was a helpful start.  So, with due acknowledgement to Lorna, here is my own. I make this pattern free to all fellow Yarnarchists but it would be nice if you could acknowledge my authorship.  Please do not sell on the pattern, thanks.

This pattern is worked in double knitting yarn. For yarn bombing it is better to use a good cheap acrylic. Wool tends to sag in the rain. You will want either green white and violet colours or green white and red colours. By all means if you have something suitable in your yarn stash use that, so long as it is close to these colours I’m sure it will be fine, the suffragettes themselves chose a range of these colours.

To make a good solid fabric choose a crochet hook about one size smaller than the recommended crochet hook for your yarn. You will also need scissors and a tapestry or darning needle.

You will need to be able to do chain stitch, slip stitch, double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA). Optional, chainless foundation double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA). You can start this pattern in one of two ways.

If you choose option 1
use a larger size crochet hook just to make the chain, then swap to your chosen smaller hook. This will make it easier to work the first row into the chain.  I am using a 3.5 mm hook for the work so I will make my chain with a 4.5 mm hook.

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Start with a slip knot and make 30 chains, then join the chain into a loop using a slip stitch.  Take great care not to twist the chains you need to see the bump side of your chain running all the way around the outside of the loop.  Swap to your smaller hook.

Attention point – for all subsequent ‘links’ in your suffragette chain you will need to close the loop in the previous ‘link’.  Don’t forget – it’s quite annoying having to undo everything later on.

First row

Either: option 1
make one chain and then work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into the very first bomb that you see.  Check again that you haven’t twisted your chain. Work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into the bumps at the back of the chain. At the front of the chain you will see rows of Vs marching their way along the chain. The back of the chain you will see bumps in a line working their way along the chain.  When you have done the last bump join the end of the first row to the beginning with a slip stitch through the top V and pull that quite firmly.

 

Or: option 2
Make 30 stitches using a chainless double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) foundation row.  Use the smaller crochet hook throughout.  When you get to the end make your loop by joining the first stitch to the last stitch using a slip stitch. If you don’t know how to do a chainless foundation row there are some very good tutorials on YouTube.

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The advantage of doing it this way is that it is actually a lot quicker than the previous option of working the first row into the back bumps of the chain  And you are far less likely to twist it inadvertently.   The disadvantage is possibly that you will see a little gap underneath the first row but this is easily rectified by threading up tail on a tapestry needle at the very end and just stitching the gap together.

Second and subsequent rows:
make nine rows. Don’t forget that if you are using the chainless foundation row that that counts as your first row.  You can make more or less – I just found 9 made a pleasing size link.

Start each row by making a single chain and then work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into the same stitch. Then work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into each stitch.
Attention point
when you get to the very end of the row take care that you don’t make an additional stitch as the gap may look quite wide until you join the row using a slip stitch.  You may like to put a stitch holder into the first stitch as you make it to help you identify it as it can get pulled quite flat and the single chain you worked can look like another stitch in the first row.

 

Roll up and join the link edges:

At this point I suggest if you have used the chainless foundation row method you thread up the tail end in your darning needle and neatly stitch the bottom edge together.

Roll the bottom edge of your work up towards the top edge all around the link. Hold the two edges together so you can see the V stitch edges side-by-side. I like to join my edges by using the zipper stitch on the inside loops only. Again, there are some very good tutorials on YouTube. However any flat joining method will work and you will be rolling the edge on the inside of the link in any event.

Finish:
Weave in your ends and ease the join to the inside of the link.  Then start the next link of your suffragette chain remembering to join that link through the last link.

This is a work in progress and I will add more photos when it is finished. 😊