I love designing symmetrical crochet projects that begin in the center of the piece. What I don’t love: the fact that my projects always used to have a join in the center. I’d begin crocheting at the center, then work to the end; then I’d have to join another ball of yarn in the center, work back across the starting chain, and crochet to the other end. I’d be left with two un-necessary loose ends in the center of the piece – plus a piece that is not as durable as it would be if it were made using one continuous length of yarn.
It dawned on me awhile back that it’s possible to solve these issues by dividing the yarn into unbroken halves prior to crocheting; I would then begin crocheting in the middle of the yarn.
This concept is easy once you wrap your head around it but confusing to explain in a pattern, so I thought I’d create a separate tutorial elaborating on the concept.
The best tutorials have examples, so let’s take a couple of examples to show how this is done.
This headband is a symmetrical design that you begin crocheting in the center front. The pattern only requires about 25 grams / 55 yards of yarn, which is about a quarter of a skein of Cascade 220 (the suggested yarn for the pattern.)
I happen to have a partial ball of this yarn left over from another project. My partial ball weighs about 36 grams, which gives me more than enough yarn for crocheting this headband. I’ll use the partial ball to demonstrate.
Since the headband is made up of two matching, symmetrical halves, each half requires approximately half of the yarn: I need to allot about 12.5 grams for the first half of the headband, and about 12.5 grams for the second half.
So, I could take my little ball of Cascade 220 and wind one end into a ball that weighs approximately 12.5 grams. But, a better idea would be to allow a little extra, just in case something unexpected happens; there is no need to cut it too close. I wouldn’t want to run out of yarn. In this case, I have enough yarn that I could allow plenty of extra. I decided to wind about 14 grams worth of yarn.
Pictured at left, you can see how my yarn is divided before I started crocheting. My 14 gram ball is on the left, and the rest of the yarn is on the right. Notice that I did not cut the yarn.
You can click on any of the photos in this tutorial to see enlargements.
To make the headband, you would begin by making your slip knot at any point right in between the two mini-balls of yarn.
Here's a work-in-progress photo of the headband; at this point I'm working on completing the front forehead portion.
At this point, I am crocheting with one of the mini-balls and not doing anything with the other one quite yet. Basically, the second ball is attached where you'd ordinarily have a loose end hanging.
Here's another work-in-progress picture of the headband. In this shot, I'm much further along with the project; I'm pretty much finished up with the first half of the headband. When I'm completely finished with it, the next step would be to go back to the "beginning" of the project (which is really the middle of the headband.) From there I can just pick up my other mini-ball of yarn and begin working with it.
Here's another work-in-progress picture showing the headband nearly completed.
If you want to see more pictures of this headband, they are available in the men's headband photo gallery.
This dishcloth is another symmetrical crochet project that begins in the center. This type of design is the perfect way to use shell stitches to their best advantage; it shows off their beautiful scalloped shapes easily.
This particular design is made using the lacy treble shell stitch.
For this project, you would need 21 grams total of Simply Cotton yarn by Knitpicks. You would divide your yarn into two balls that each weigh approximately 10.5 grams (or, ideally, a bit more, just to make sure you don't run out.) You'd then begin crocheting at a point in the center of the two balls, as pictured above in the headband example.
This technique works when you are using the same yarn in the same general color range as specified in the pattern, and when you know the exact amount of yarn that you need to make the project.
If you are substituting yarns, it's risky to use this technique without first completing a sample in the substitute yarn, then weighing it to see how much yarn you need by weight to complete the entire project. You can then determine if you have enough to make another of the same project using any smaller partial balls of the yarn you might have on hand.
Even your color choice is important here. Why? Because darker / brighter yarns tend to weigh more than lighter / paler yarns do. So, if you are using a dark or bright yarn to make your project, it is possible that you could need more of the yarn than you'd need if you were using a light-colored yarn.