Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tutorial - Pretty Parasols


My crocheted parasols are conversation starters.  No matter where I go, if I have one with me someone asks how I made it and wonders in awe at the possibilities.

I know it's not that complicated to do if you are crafty minded - and now you will too!

First of all, the pattern you use depends on the umbrella frame you want to use, so decide that first. 

I went on ebay and bought a "lot" of old umbrellas from an estate sale.  They all had really interesting handles.  Some needed minor repair, and some were just used for spare parts.
Step 1: Patterns: Count how many ribs you have in  your umbrella frame.  Final assembly will be easier if you have the same number (or a multiple) of repeats in your crochet pattern.  You can find a pattern that already has the same number of repeats as your frame or you can wing it.  For example, the pattern I used for this parasol called for 12 repeats, but I only made 10.

You can use patterns specifically designed for parasols like these on  Ravelry, or any round doily pattern you like.  Try to choose one with enough open spaces to allow for some stretch. 

Step 2: Crochet: Follow your chosen patterns directions.  If you are using a doily pattern though, increase your hook size two or three sizes.  Too tight, and you're parasol will never open.

Start with a magic loop so you can adjust it during assembly.

Step 3: Measure.  Your crocheted piece should reach almost to the tips, but not quite.  You may have to get creative with your pattern to end on the row you like best.

 I had to add another repeat!
Step 4: Strip the fabric from your umbrella frame... you'll need a pair of scissors to cut the ties.  Noting where the original umbrella was tied will tell you how to tie your new fabric into place.

Start from the outer end of each rib, and move your way up to the center finial.  At the end of each rib is the tip used to tie it in to place.  Once you cut this string, the tip will probably fall off, so keep track of it.

Most umbrellas also have a loose tie halfway up the rib, which keeps the fabric from ballooning away from the frame.  Don't skip this step when attaching your new fabric.

Once the fabric is loose from the frame except for the very top, look very careful at the fabric tied under the finial.  Cutting the old fabric above that interfacing will help your frame maintain it's stability.  Leaving the interfacing there won't be visible once you tie your new fabric into place.

Step 5: Tie your new fabric to the frame, working from the top down this time.

Loosen your magic loop just enough to work the finial through and tighten into place over the existing interfacing.  Tighten and tie it off, weaving in any loose ends.

Gently lift the frame and line up each repeat of your pattern with it's associated rib.  Pay special attention in tying the same stitch of each repeat to a rib so your fabric is spread evenly across the frame.

Use a needle and thread to tie each repeat to a rib.  Wrapping it around the tip and back through the fabric and hole will make it more stable... just like sewing through a button several times.

Now it's time to carefully open up!  Rearrange your pattern repeats as necessary.  See how that interfacing works to keep the ribs in place?

Once everything is lined up, retie just below the part of the rib that opens and closes.   Use a needle and thread, tie off, and weave in any loose ends.

 A little glue in the tip of each rib helps if they seem loose!

Again, carefully open your frame, and make sure everything works without snagging or pinching. Making adjustments is easy enough, and happens to me on a regular basis so don't be shy about tweaking things.

If you like, add a tie and Victorian style tassel wrist band for carrying your parasol.  My tie is a simply one... chain the length needed to comfortable close the umbrella. Single crochet in each chain, rotate and single crochet in the opposite side of the starting chain.  Add a chain loop big enough to accommodate your button and fasten off.  Sew a button to the square end of tie.

I bought the tassel in the drapery department at my local craft store, and painted the plain wooden handle to go with the ashy gray thread.

Here's an example of a larger tie... I made a basic tie as above in pink, and then worked a row in black to match the button.

All that's left now is to make a cool drink, and find a nice spot in the park to fashionably sit in the shade!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into how to assemble a crocheted parasol, and I hope you make one soon.  If you do, let me know so I can include you in our weekly project update!

Til next time...


  1. That pink one looks awfully familiar.. hehehe. I used it the other day to sit on my front porch. It was perfection.

    1. YAY! I'm so glad. Pretty, yet useful!

      I apologize for my tardiness in reply. Moving house kicked my backside. Whew!