The Extended Unseen Mandala: Captivating the Eye

Toward the end of 2023, I received an invitation from Dedri Uys of LookAtWhatIMade to test her latest crochet design: the Extended Unseen Mandala (while there, read up on Dedri’s journey and the story behind the original Unseen Mandala). Though unexpected, the opportunity to crochet the extension of her original design was hard to resist. Scratch that. The hesitation lasted less than a handful of minutes. I had loved the Unseen Mandala from the first time I had seen it (no pun intended). The only reservation I felt was once again tied to my hands, reminding me daily of their pain and taxing recovery from broken fingers throughout the year. I decided to look at the project as a challenge to see through. And I did!

The Extended Unseen Mandala is striking — a sublime evolution of its petite, older sister, which has its place on our deck’s wooden wall. The extended pineapple design lends the mandala a unique, elegant refinement. So, I went through a possible color choice of Scheepjes Whirl, and the Blueberry Bambam colorway stood out to me because of how it would develop in this design. It reminded me of a bright moon in the midnight sky (reminiscent of the Lily Brooks-Dalton novel, but I digress). I had wanted to use the fingering weight gradient yarn for its older sister for a long time but never did. As I crocheted along, I could not help but appreciate the mind-bending math (cleverly made easy) and admire the reaching-for-the-sky movement of the pineapples with each round.

I wanted to pace myself while crocheting, mindful of the effort, but I found it impossible to take breaks consistently. Be forewarned! It is addictive. Just one more round, I mumbled. And another. Oh, I can do the next too. Twinge. Time to stop. Appropriate interruption to retrieve the vintage rustic wire wreath frame I had acquired through antique collector, seller, and good friend Gina Tomelleri of Country Garden Antiques in the Dallas Design District a few years ago, which had been hanging from the ceiling in my garage for far too long. The 3-foot frame was in excellent condition but needed good cleaning, wire scrubbing, and a fitting coat of paint. A beautiful, sunny, late autumn day provided the perfect setting for completing that framework. I chose a deep midnight black to make the finished mandala stand out. A few hours later, the frame was dry and ready.

I completed the testing faster than I thought I could (and should have). I realized that, though reasonably on gauge (slightly smaller diameter than indicated), I decided to extend the Extended Unseen a little so that I would not risk overstretching it when mounting it on the frame. I added three rounds for that purpose, with Dedri’s mathematical blessing.

Round 52 – Standing bphdc in any stitch of the previous round. *bphdc around next dc until end. Join to beginning bphdc with a sl st (648 bphdc)
Round 53 –  Ch4 (counts as dc + ch1). *Skip next stitch, 1 dc*, repeat until one stitch left, ch1 and join to 3rd chain of the beg ch-4. (324 dc, 324 ch-1 spaces)
Round 54 – Ch3 (counts as dc). *1 dc in ch-1 space, 1 dc in next dc*, repeat to the end, sl st to top of beginning ch-3 (648 dc)

The extra rounds give the Extended Unseen airy room when attaching the mandala to the frame. After temporarily fastening the mandala every 20 stitches or so with stitch markers to the frame, I used 324 10-mm 18-gauge black jump rings (skipping one stitch between jump rings throughout). It may seem daunting, but it is relatively quick and easy (I find it less cumbersome than attaching it with a crochet hook; sewing is a great alternative).

The result is lovely. The last dark rounds of the Extended Unseen Mandala, combined with the added rounds and the jump rings attached to the inner wireframe, make it look like it is suspended in the air gap between the mandala itself and the inner and outer wireframes! Give this design a go; you will not regret it! (ok, perhaps an occasional mumbled expletive may cross your lips as you get distracted – minor inconvenience) Do not forget to follow Dedri Uys on Instagram and stay updated on her latest designs at LookAtWhatIMade.

May this be your first crochet adventure of 2024. Happy New Year!

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