Stitch School: Catherine Wheels by Anna Nikipirowicz

Welcome to Stitch School! In this step-by-step tutorial you’ll learn how to crochet a two-color Catherine wheel stitch, a pretty and elegant design which produces mini pinwheels that are particularly glorious when you use two shades of yarn (or if you are feeling adventurous try more than two). For a subtle effect opt for one color, which will delight the eye on close inspection!


I’m using Paintbox Cotton DK in Lime Green (A) and Daffodil Yellow (B) and 4mm (US G/6) crochet hook.


Cluster – work [yrh, insert hook in st, draw up a loop, yrh, draw through 2 loops] over designated number of sts, yrh, draw through all loops on hook.

ch – chain

US sc (UK Dc) – US single crochet (UK double crochet)

skip (UK miss)– omit st(es)

rep – repeat

rs – right side

st(s) – stitch(es)

US dc (UK Tr) – Double crochet (UK treble)

ws – wrong side

yrh – yarn around hook

The stitch is worked in single crochet, double crochet and it uses the cluster technique. This involves working yarns around hook, inserting into stitches and pulling through two loops at the time over a directed number of stitches, then pulling through all loops on hook, this creates half of the wheel.

The Catherine wheel starts on the WS row and unfortunately you cannot carry the different color yarns with you up the side of work to use when needed as the color change happens every two rows - it is therefore necessary to the break yarn, so I recommend weaving the ends at regular intervals to save the huge task at the end of the project.

Changing color

Before we look at the pattern I would like to show you how to change color in the neatest way.

1:  When you are working your final stitch at the end of the row, stop at the last 2 loops on hook.

2:  Grab the new yarn and finish the stitch with the new color.

3:  Take the tail of the new yarn and the old yarn and twist it once over the new yarn, ch 1 to lock.

4:  Now you can continue working with your new color.

This technique also works well if the last stitch at the end is a slip stitch - just work the slip stitch in the new yarn.

Catherine wheel

This stitch is worked over multiples of 10 + 6 (plus 1 for foundation chain).

For my sample I made 27 chains in color A.

Row 1 (WS): 1 sc in second ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, * miss 3 ch, 7 dc in next ch, miss 3 ch, 1 sc in next 3 ch, rep from * to last 4 ch, miss 3 ch, 4 dc in last ch, turn.

Change to color B

Row 2: Ch 1, 1 sc in first 2 dc, *ch 3, work 1 cluster over next 7 sts, ch 3, 1 sc in next 3 sts, rep from *to last 4 sts, ch 3, 1 cluster over last 4 sts, turn.

Half of the wheels are now complete.

Cluster worked over 7 sts, at the end you will pull through 8 loops on the hook.

Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 3 dc in first st, * miss 3 ch, 1 sc in next 3 sc, miss 3 ch, 7 dc in loop that closed next cluster, rep from * and end by missing 3 ch and working 1 sc in the last 2 sc, turn.

The wheels are now complete:

Change to color A

Row 4: ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), miss first st, 1 cluster over next 3 sts, *ch 3, 1 sc in next 3 sts, ch 3, 1 cluster over next 7 sts, rep from * and end with ch 3, 1 sc in next dc, 1 sc in top of 3 ch, turn.

Row 5: Ch 1, 1 sc in next 2 sc, * miss ch 3, 7 dc in loop that closed next cluster, miss 3 ch, 1 sc in next 3 sc, rep from * and end with miss 3 ch, 4 dc in top of 3 ch, turn.

Steps 2 to 5 form the pattern, just keep repeating until you have the desired length.

Here's my sample, ending on row 4 of the pattern repeat:

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