Irish Crochet Motif – Navajo Bow and Arrow

Irish Crochet Motif Pattern – Bow & Arrow by Ann Reillet, c. 2014

_MG_3943NAVAJO BOW and ARROW
Inspired by a Curtis Bitsui Design

Monument Valley Navajo NationNavajo Nation is by far the largest and most populous of all Native American Indian Tribes. Historically, their dinetah stretched from San Francisco, California to the Great Rocky Mountains, Colorado into area once inhabited by ancient Anasazi. Today, their land encompasses only parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. They are a great and peaceful nation whose contributions and patriotism to the United States helped to win WWII with the famous Navajo Code Talkers.

In artistry, woven Navajo rugs, blankets and baskets are among the finest worldwide. Their jewelry and decorative house wares are also highly collectible. Curtis Bitsui (1964-) is a native Navajo Indian artist born and raised on the reservation. For years, he’s been designing and crafting Native American artifacts including traditional bows and arrows. These intricately crafted items are made of wood, leather, suede and often decorated with feathers, fur, silver, or turquoise beads. His work sells online at various retailers such as:  http://www.kachinahouse.com/c-31-curtis-bitsui.aspx   and    http://www.missiondelrey.com/bow-arrow-38.html

The crossed arrows and bow is a traditional Native American design. Once a weapon of necessity, it’s used ceremonially in traditional hunting as well as Southwestern interior design. In an effort to create cross cultural motifs for use in modern Irish Crochet, I was inspired by this Curtis Bitsui design.

Material Used
Aunt Lydia’s Extra Fine Crochet Thread, US Size 30
#10 & #12 Steel crochet hooks
Scissors, needle (for sewing and weaving in tails)
Sketch of pattern on paper
Blocking board (foam pad) (to serve as work station)
Sewing pins

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BOW
Using #10 hook, ch 65,
sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each remaining ch,
2 extra sc in last ch (to rotate for oval)
working over the sc and into the two threads now located on the opposite side, sc in each sc (to thicken, but not widen)
End. Break thread.

BOW HANDLE (Center)
Pin on work station, identify center, count 5 sp on each side, mark.
Join thread and sc over existing sc for 11 sps. End. Break thread.
Join thread on opposite side and sc over existing sc for 11 sps. End. Break thread. Weave in tails.

BOW HANDLE FRINGE (Make 2)
Using #12 hook, make a tight chain, as tight as you can crochet, 30 chains. End. Break Thread.
Identify the sc next to each side of the bow handle, insert #12 hook in top sc and place the fringe on the hook to draw it through the space. Pull one side of fringe through, make sure the ends are even, then hand tie a knot at the top having both ends of the fringe drape down over the front of the bow. Weave tails up through the chain and snip.

BOW STRING
Using #12 hook, join to either end of bow, make a tight chain, as tight as you can crochet of just enough chains to fall short of the distance between the bow’s ends. Pull and stretch this tightly crocheted chain, removing any excess chains or adding more, if needed to allow full stretch between the lower bow edges. When you are satisfied with the chain’s length, slip stitch in the opposite end of bow and break thread. Weave tails into the bow.

FEATHERS (Make 2 large and 2 small)
Using #10 hook, Ch 16
sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next two chains, hdc in next ch, dc in next eleven chains,
2 extra dc in last ch to rotate for oval.
working in the back loop on opposite side now, dc in next two loops, sc in next, *hdc in next, dc in next, sc, *repeat to form a jagged side ending with sc or sl st point at end. End. Break thread long.
Repeat entire process one time.
Then make two more feathers of smaller size by starting with a ch 12, instead of ch 16. End. Break thread long.

Line up 1 lg and 1 sm feather, arrange them so one is slightly behind the other and, using the tail from the smaller feather, hand sew the feathers together. Then, using the tail from the larger feather, secure to end of bow and weave up through the bow. Snip remaining thread. Do this for each side of bow to match image shown herein.

ARROWS (Make 2)
Using #10 hook, Ch 38,
sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each remaining chain to end,
form arrow head/tip with ch 4 and a tc (yo 2x)-cluster of 4 total (including beginning ch4), yo, draw through all 5 loops. End. Break thread long. Use tail to weave in down and sew to bow, and continue weaving down to the “X” and sew the cross section of the two arrows, then snip any remaining tail (or use sewing thread and sewing needle)

ARROW FEATHERS
Identify the last 6 sts at the bottom of the arrow. Join thread to the 6th st and work 1 sc, 3 hdc followed by a sl st in next. Leave last st unworked. End. Break thread long. Repeat for opposite side. Use tail to sew to bow string, weave in and snip any remaining tail.

DYE (Optional)
Using small paint brushes and tea stain or fabric dye to paint the handle grip or fringe like a watercolor painting technique, then add a darker shade, perhaps, black, in a “V” shape pattern at the tips of the feathers.

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Use the feather pattern to create a Native American Dream Catcher

_MG_5323

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