Thursday, January 7, 2016

Crochet Tail (Mermaid / Dinosaur / Etc) Blanket Pattern : Instructions for both adult and child sizes.

A while back, my sister came to me with a blanket project that she wanted me to make for her. Well, one thing happened and then another and the blanket just never got made. Fast forward about a year and she comes to me with it again as a Christmas project.

If you've come across any of my previous posts, you will know I NEVER purchase patterns when I can make one of my own or find a free one that is similar enough to what I need. So, when my sister brought up the mermaid tails for a second time, I began by searching the internet. 

There are TONS of patterns with TONS of different styles out there for free. There were things I liked about each and every pattern, however, none of them 100% fit what I was looking for. Instead, I printed off one that had a good general pattern and went from there. 

The pattern I started with was Adult Sized Mermaid Lapghan by Mad Hooker Crochet.

Over all, this is a great pattern and seasoned crocheters will have no problem following it. As for beginners, I think it may be a little difficult to follow. This is mainly due to the style in which the pattern is written out and edits were made to the post. I strongly urge you to check out their blog as there are several other patterns and fantastic project ideas.

This project is one that can be customized in an infinite number of ways. I have made three so far One was solid pink with solid green fins, one was solid pink with dark and light striped fins, and the other alternated colors with every row and has dinosaur spikes down the front of it. Change it up, experiment with color combos and different types of tails. The only thing I would discourage is attempting to make three in the two week span before Christmas. Speaking from experience, this can have some unfortunate consequences for your hooking arm.

The original pattern called for an H hook and I decided to use a K instead. When using the larger hook, the pattern works up much faster and the "scale" shapes become more prominent when only using one color instead of doing stripes. The larger hook size also meant that I had to adjust the numbers of stitches and rows for the pattern. This was something I was going to have to do from the start to make this pattern fit a child, but the numbers for the adult size would have changed as well.

What follows is the pattern/sizing instructions and pictures of my alterations to their original pattern.

Just as a fun bit of info and a glimpse into how I work, this is what often happens when I create or modify patterns. Unless I am planning on making a blog post about it, this is also what I usually have to work with if I ever decide to make more from the same pattern.


Most of this pattern is worked in a repeating pattern of shell clusters. This gives a nice "scale" look to the entire tail.

Tools and Materials:

K/6.50MM Crochet hook (Keep in mind, the way this pattern is written, you can change the size of the hook without any issue. Larger hook sizes will mean less stitches and a more prominate "scale" pattern when working with only one color)

Worsted Weight Yarn (This is also not set in stone with this pattern. You could easily use a different weight pattern and add/subtract stitches as you need.)

*Note on the amount of yarn: Because this pattern is written to fit your needs, I cannot really give an accurate estimate of how much you will need as this will depend on the size of tail you are making. I will say the three I have made so far have been child-sized and fit the average size 4-8 year old. With these three, I think I used about 1 1/2 skeins EACH total.

Yarn Needle For hiding ends and attaching the fins/scales/etc.

Ch: Chain
St: Stitch
Sl: Slip
Sk: Skip
Dc: Double Crochet
Sc: Single Crochet
sc2tog: Single Crochet 2 Together
Hdc: Half Double Crochet

Pattern: What follows will be the pattern for the child size tails I have made so far with suggestions for alterations in size and notes in Bold.

Start with a foundation chain of 92.

*IMPORTANT* When deciding how long your foundation chain needs to be, it should be at least long enough to easily tuck under both thighs when draped across the top of the legs. The only requirement is the number of chains MUST be a multiple of 6 (with 2 added to work as your first Dc) to accommodate the pattern in the following rows. 

Dc in the third ch from hook and in each ch across.

1: Ch 1 and turn. Sc in last st of previous row, [Sk 2, dc 5 in next st, Sk 2 Sc in next st] repeat from [ to ] across ending with a Sc in the first st of the previous row.

2: Ch 2 and turn. 2 Dc in last st of previous row  (this counts as 3 Dc or 1/2 a shell st), [Sc in the center (3rd) dc of next shell, 5 Dc in next Sc.] repeat from [ to ] across ending with 3 Dc in the first Sc from the previous row. 

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 30 rows (This number could be off by one. You want to make sure the last row you do is pattern row 2)

*For larger sizes or taller kids (or smaller if that is what you need) you will need to add (or remove) repeated rows here. You want to reach a length that fits from the hips to just below the knees when seated.

Join both ends (into a circle) with a Sl St into the first Dc of the row.

3: Ch 1, Sc into the St you joined into, 5 Dc into next Sc, [Sc in the center (3rd) dc of next shell, 5 Dc in next Sc.] repeat from [ to ] around and join with a Sl St into the first Sc of the round.

4: Ch 3, 4 Dc into the St you joined into, Sc in the center (3rd) Dc of next shell, [5 Dc in next Sc, Sc in the center (3rd) Dc of next shell] repeat from [ to ] around and join with a Sl St to the fist DC of the round.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 for 15 rows.

*For larger sizes or taller kids (or smaller) you will need to add (or remove) repeated rows here. You want to reach total length that fits from the hips to mid calf (or just below) when seated.

Now you will start to decrease and bring the tail to a point. To do this, you will work a series of different decrease rows. These decrease rows should work the same for any size of tail you are making. Simply follow the pattern as it is written from here on out.

Repeat rows 3 - 4 twice and SUBSTITUTE every other shell in the row with a 1/2 shell (3 Dc instead of 5). (i.e. full shell, Sc, half shell, Sc Full shell...)

Repeat row 3 once and SUBSTITUTE every shell for a half shell.

The next rows, you will repeat until the tail is closed on the end.

5: Ch 3, 2 Dc in the same st as join, Sk 1, sc2tog, Sk 1, [ 3 Dc in next St, Sk 1, sc2tog] repeat around and join with a Sl St into the first Dc of the round.

6: Ch 1, sc2tog, Sk 1, 3 Dc in next St, Sk 1, [ sc2tog, Sk 1, 3 Dc in next st] repeat around and join with a Sl St into the first sc2tog of the round.

When your tail is mostly closed at the end, fasten off, turn inside out,  weave through the stitches of your last row, pull tight to close, tie off and weave in the end.

Fins: Make 2
1: Ch 25, Sc in the 2nd Ch from the hook and next 4 (for a total of 5 Sc) Hdc in next 4, Dc in the next 6, Hdc in the next 4, Sc in the next 5, Ch 2 and turn to work down the opposite side of the chain. Sc in next 5, Hdc in next 4, Dc in next 6, Hdc in next 4, Sc in next 5.

2: Ch 1 and turn. [Sc in next 3, Hdc in next 4, Dc in next 10*, Hdc in next 4, Sc in next 3] (2 Sc, Ch 2, 2 Sc) in Ch 2 Sp. Repeat from [ to ] on the opposite side.

Repeat row 2 adding an additional 2 Dc to the Bold number until you reach the size you would like. I repeated this row 4 times. If you would like larger or smaller fins, repeat it more or less times.

Sc around and fasten off leaving enough of a tail to sew fins onto the bottom of tail.        

Dinosaur Spikes:
These were simple 1/2 granny squares that I made using 2 strands of yarn instead of 1 so that they stand up better.

Click here for a pattern on how to crochet 1/2 granny squares. This link includes both a written pattern and charts.

As always have fun with this pattern and feel free to comment with any questions/sugestions/etc.