The origins of the mandala are said to have begun around the 8th century BC, when a wandering guru brought mediation mandalas to Tibet, but nobody really knows where they began. The word mandala, means “circle’ in the ancient language Sanskrit, and the mandala itself is a spiritual symbol representing the universe and the circle of life. Although its origins are Buddhist and Hindu, there are mandala representations in Christianity, and throughout ancient history, even Jung had his own interpretation – that they expressed the “self’ and the wholeness of humanity. It’s no surprise that these beautiful circles full of intricate patterns bring us peace and contentment when we see them or draw them, or in our crafty case, crochet them!
It’s Mental Health Awareness week in the UK from the 8-14th May, and we’re looking at how crochet can help to support wellbeing and improve mental health. I’m sure that most of you would acknowledge readily how much crochet soothes the soul in times of stress, and so crocheting a mandala is a wonderful way to settle the nerves and calm the troubled spirit.
Apart from their spiritual healing goodness, crocheting a mandala is a fabulous way of learning new stitches! To work on a project like this in miniature is a fabulous way to extend your technique repertoire, just look at the mandalas below, for example, by Agrarian Artisan. There are all kinds of different stitches in there, long spikes, shells, trebles, all connected blissfully in different colours. This is another gift that the mandala brings us: the joy of changing colour! I know you probably don’t like sewing in those ends, but it’s worth it!
Agrarian Artisan, otherwise known as designer Valerie Bracegirdle, has a beautiful selection of mandala patterns. These glorious circles are inspired by different places and people – I also love Mary’s Mandala (named after Mary Queen of Scots), and the Sunshine Mandala, designed to bring light into a dark place.
Anna Nikipirowicz’s bright healing Energy Mandala was designed in memory of Anna’s mother and the wonderful care she received in hospital. All proceeds from the pattern go to support a special care unit in St Thomas’ Hospital, London. This beautiful mandala can be worked in any yarn and sized for wall decorations, brooches and coasters.
Beautiful stitch sequences form this stunning mandala from Carolyn Christmas! Look at that bright zesty overlay crochet – this is a mandala that will teach you levels of crochet you will love, with a photo tutorial in the pattern round by round.
Mandalas are as old as time, and these circles of life appear in so many cultures and countries around the world. LillaBjornCrochet brings us a Celtic Mandala that uses crochet cables to create classic Celtic knots. This is a challenge for a crocheter, but such a rewarding one!
If you’d like to wear your mandala, this beautiful pattern from talented designer Kraftling is for you. The hat and cowl both use the principles of mandala making, with stunning rounds of different colours. You’ll be able to take your newly crocheted zen everywhere you go …
Another beautiful mandala from clever crochet designer LillaBjornCrochet. This mandala has an embedded flower worked in the centre, and the pattern contains full instructions and photos to help you through the trickier techniques.
You can make your mandalas in any yarn that you like, and in any weight (with appropriate hook size). Take a dive into your stash and find yourself some home grown colour combinations, or choose your shades from a range that has a glorious rainbow to choose from! Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK and Cotton Aran both have a stunning array – or if you’d prefer a woollen yarn, take a look at the Cascade 220 range, with over 197 shades! Bear in mind you will only need small amounts of different colours, so choose wisely!
Make them as wall hangings, coasters, a rug, or appliqué motif for cushions or blankets. You can add a brooch pin and wear them with glorious calm, or make them as gifts for anyone you feel might be in need of some calming presence in their lives.
Most of all, remember, as you crochet your way around each round, that the mandala signifies a journey, and one to cherish. Choose your mandala pattern to match your ability – from the very simplest, where the stitches are a gentle meditation, to the very complex for those of you who love a crochet challenge!
Show us your mandalas in the Community! It’s so easy to upload a project!