Patricia, a crocheter who contacted me through Ravelry, asked for clarification of the instructions for the Gambel Oak Leaves on pages 21-23 of Crochet Garden. Thank you for asking, Patricia!
We’ll start with the Small Leaf (page 23). You will need the book for complete stitching instructions:
Both Gambel Oak leaves are made with long rows that comprise the lobes (always odd-numbered rows) and short rows which are the spacers between the lobes.
Here are the first two rows of the Small Leaf. Row 2 has a long turning chain, because Row 3 is a long row. Some of the sts of Row 3 are on the chain, and some are made into the sts of Row 2, as you can see from the marks on the photo.
Row 3 is finished, and includes a turning ch for Row 4.
These are the rows through Row 5.
Think about a ripple afghan. To make the bottom of the “V” in a ripple afghan, we decrease stitches to pull up the stitches on each side of the bottom point, to make the V. By decreasing at the center of the leaf, we’re pulling the lobes up from the bottom point of the leaf. We’re making half of a V.
Also, in Rows 1-4, the stitches toward the center of the leaf are long. Rows 5-9 have sc or sl st as the last st toward the center of the leaf. The short stitches curve the lobes around the top of the leaf to start down the other side.
After the last st of Row 9, we join to the first half of the leaf with a sl st in the base of Row 5. The base of Row 5 is the stitch in which the last st of Row 5 was made.
Then ch 1, sl st into the base of Row 4. The base of Row 4 is as close as you can get to the first ch of the turning chain at the end of Row 3 (which leads up to Row 4). The marks show the base of each row you need to stitch into.
This is what the leaf should look like at the end of Row 9, just before you turn.
For Row 10, skip the sl sts that join to the center of the leaf, and work sts as shown.
Row 11 is done, and this shows where to join in the base of Rows 3 and 2.
Back to the idea of a ripple afghan. To form the peak of a chevron in a ripple afghan, we increase stitches at the top. This pushes down the stitches on either side of the peak to make an upside-down V or arrow point ?.
Hold the leaf, with the top lobe pointing down. The lobes join at the top of the peak. That is why, on this side of the leaf, working from tip to base, we increase sts close to the center of the leaf. We do it to push the lobes down toward the tip of the leaf.
Think about it this way: an increase is an upside down decrease; a decrease is an upside down increase. This is a good thing to know when you’re designing your own patterns.
Row 13 is finished and joined to the base of Row 1. Now we’re ready to make the stem.
After crocheting the stem, take the yarn to the wrong side of the leaf. Read the full instructions for making the central vein, page 22.
Working up the middle of the leaf, insert the hook from front to back, yo at the back, make ch sts where the space is long, if you’re close to a joining stitch, sl st in that st. Work these ch and sl sts until you are at the base of the top lobe. Cut yarn and pull to front.
Insert the hook from wrong side to right side at the point where the yarn comes out of the leaf, but do not insert the hook in the last ch st. Yo with the cut end and pull it to the back. The last ch st will prevent the stitches from unraveling. Weave in ends.
Here’s the Large Leaf (instructions begin on page 21), worked through Row 11. The marks show the bases of the rows where the lobes are joined with sl sts.
Row 11 is joined with a sl st in the base of Row 7.
This shows where to place the sts of Row 8.
When you finish crocheting the leaves, the lobes curl into themselves, so as you block, be sure to stretch the end of each lobe to pull them out to their proper shape.
To block small pieces like this, I hold them under the water tap for a few seconds, squeeze out excess water, stretch each lobe, and finally hold a hot iron over them, barely touching the crochet. Sometimes I use a damp press cloth to protect the stitching as well as add more steam.