Saturday, March 11, 2017

Foldable Flying Disc – A Crochet Pattern

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is putting together a couple of boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a project by Samaritan’s Purse. It’s pretty simple: fill a shoebox with objects for a kid in need, deliver to a drop-off point (in my case, my church), and Samaritan’s Purse teams up with local groups around the world to deliver shoeboxes to excited kids. You choose boy or girl and an age group: 2 to 4 years, 5 to 9 years, or 10 to 14 years. (We originally did two boxes for 5 to 9, one each for a boy and a girl. Now, we do boxes for 10 to 14-year-old boys; I noticed they were always underrepresented at both of the churches where I participated. I’ve since learned this is universally the case!)

I love putting Frisbees in my boxes! They are great for boys or girls; a group of kids can use it to play together; it doesn't require much besides some open space. But real Frisbees are expensive, and I don’t like putting low-quality items in boxes (which describes every generic flying disc I've seen). I figure if a kid doesn’t get very many gifts, I should send them something that will last! Besides, even if I can find a maximum size shoebox, it’s really hard to fit a Frisbee in there. (And it makes it harder to pack it really full.)

A year or two ago, I came across the Pocket Disc, a crocheted foldable flying disc (the generic name for a Frisbee). They are great—well made, sturdy, and available in a plethora of patterns and colors. But they’re about $15 each, and that could buy a lot of items for a box.

I finally got around to figuring out a pattern for a similar folding disc. It’s not exactly the same; mine has just two strands of worsted-weight yarn, instead of several strands of thin yarn in different colors, limiting the pattern options. But my disc flies well, it’s easy to crochet, and you can make it with whatever yarn you have on hand. Best of all, gauge isn’t critical; just make sure it’s nice and tight!

On to the pattern…

Foldable Flying Disc

Materials

  • Worsted weight yarn, cotton or acrylic, about 100 yds*
  • G or H hook (choose the size needed to make a very firm fabric)
  • Split stitch marker or safety pin
  • Yarn needle

Abbreviations

Written using American crochet terms.
  • sc single crochet
  • sc2tog single crochet two together
  • pm place marker
  • ( )* repeat stitches in parentheses
  • sl st slip stitch
  • st stitch(es)

Instructions

Worked in a spiral, using two strands of yarn held together.
  1. Begin with 12 sc stitches, using a magic loop. (You will need a much bigger loop than usual.) Tighten the tails to get a firm base. If in doubt, make it a bit looser; you can tighten it more later, but it’s nearly impossible to loosen it.
  2. sc, pm in first stitch, 2 sc in next stitch; (sc, 2 sc in next stitch)* to end of round. (18 st)
Starting with the third round, remove the marker when you reach the end of the round, then start the next round by working into the first stitch of the previous round; place marker in the first stitch.
  1. sc, pm, 2 sc in next stitch, sc; (sc, 2 sc in next stitch, sc)* to end of round. (24 st)
  2. sc, pm, 2 sc, 2 sc in next stitch; (3 sc, 2 sc in next stitch)* to end of round. (30 st)
  3. sc, pm, sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 2 sc; (2 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 2 sc)* to end of round. (36 st)
  4. sc, pm, 4 sc, 2 sc in next stitch; (5 sc, 2 sc in next stitch)* to end of round. (42 st)
  5. sc, pm, 2 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 3 sc; (3 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 3 sc)* to end of round. (48 st)
  6. sc, pm, 6 sc, 2 sc in next stitch; (7 sc, 2 sc in next stitch)* to end of round. (54 st)
  7. sc, pm, 3 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 4 sc; (4 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 4 sc)* to end of round. (60 st)
  8. sc, pm, 8 sc, 2 sc in next stitch; (9 sc, 2 sc in next stitch)* to end of round. (66 st)
  9. sc, pm, 4 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 5 sc; (5 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 5 sc)* to end of round. (72 st)
  10. sc, pm, 10 sc, 2 sc in next stitch; (11 sc, 2 sc in next stitch)* to end of round. (78 st)
  11. sc, pm, 5 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 6 sc; (6 sc, 2 sc in next stitch, 6 sc)* to end of round. (84 st)
At this point, begin decreasing for the folded-under rim.
  1. sc, pm, 4 sc, sc2tog; (5 sc, sc2tog)* to end of round. (72 st)
  2. sc, pm, sc, sc2tog, 2 sc; (2 sc, sc2tog, 2 sc)* to end of round; sl st to join round. (60 st).
If you haven’t already, tighten up the center of the magic loop to make it lay flat and feel firm. Weave in ends, making them very secure. Hopefully, this is going to gets lots of use!

Notes

  • This is more of a template than a pattern. You’re increasing six stitches per round to create a flat disc, then decreasing twelve stitches per round to create the rim.
  • If your disc begins to ripple, spread out your next set of increases over two rounds. In other words, add three stitches each for two rounds. You will end up with fourteen rounds before the decreases (instead of thirteen) to get 84 stitches.
  • It’s easy to vary the size by crocheting more or fewer rounds. However, the math is easiest if you end with a multiple of twelve stitches before beginning the decreases.

Regarding Yarn

I have made this with cotton yarn and acrylic. For the cotton yarn, my best results came with an H hook. My acrylic yarn, Caron Simply Soft, turned out best with a G hook; an H hook worked, but the tighter gauge looked and felt better. I also tried one with one strand of Vanna's Choice and one strand of Simply Soft. The G hook still produced the best fabric, but the resulting disc felt a bit springier and more cushiony. My guess is that, if you used two strands of Vanna's Choice or a similar yarn, you would need an H hook.

After the third round or so, check your fabric. If it feels too floppy, frog it and start over with a smaller hook; it's best to fix it early on, instead of plodding on and ending up with an unsatisfactory product. After all, three rounds isn't that much of a time investment.


I can't stop anyone from using my pattern to make and sell their own discs, but I would prefer you didn't, unless it's for charity. And if you like my pattern, I encourage you to make a few to donate to the charity of your choice. Make it in wool (maybe adding a few rows) and felt it, for a really sturdy dog toy. Or donate a few to a kid's charity, like a hospital or shelter. Share the love. :) If you do, I would love to know about it!