A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to make her up a crochet shawl that she could wear to her brother’s wedding. It was taking place in northern Michigan, where temperatures could get chilly, and the dress she was planning to wear was sleeveless. She selected the yarn color, and sent me a pattern, so I sat down to get to work.
It wasn’t until after I started that I realized she had sent me a knit pattern instead of a crochet one. That was a big problem, because while I can do some basic knitting, it’s definitely a project that would take me months, rather than mere weeks to make. So I took the pattern and used it as a sort of inspiration piece (which I strayed drastically from) and made up a crochet shawl all my own!
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever made a crochet shawl before, especially not without a pattern. But it was so much fun to do. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of rows that I had to rip out that didn’t work for one reason or another, and I made extensive use of triple crochets in order to get the length done by the deadline she needed it for before the wedding. To my surprise, the airy triples gave it a drape that is more common to knitting, without sacrificing warmth.
I took notes as I went along on the back of scrap paper and envelopes that I had sitting around in case it turned out nice and I wanted to make it again. I think that I wouldn’t mind at all having a version for myself. So as I gather these messy notes together, I think I’ll make it into a pattern that will be free for all, in case anyone else wants to make one too. So stay tuned in the next few weeks while I get that together!
Even though the wedding weekend turned out to be a warm one for her after all, my friend loves the shawl and got many compliments on it. I can’t wait to make up another one for myself!
Hello, June, and hello new monthly crochet squares.
The patterns selected for this month were fantastic, and I had a ton of fun making them. The best part about them is that I made them all while outside sitting in the sunshine – such a nice break from the cold doldrums of winter! I’m still unpacking from my move last fall (yes, it takes me that long to get myself together!), and the patio has taken a backseat to getting all the rooms together indoors. But I have pulled out my patio table and some chairs and got an outdoor rug to put them all on. My yard is teeming with ticks and poison ivy, and I’m still laying down grass seed to get to the bare spots growing. It’s not exactly the lush garden of paradise that I was hoping it would be by now. But I also have wild blackberries and grapes growing all over, and the mint and parsley that I planted last month are already thriving, so if nothing else, I’ll have some wonderfully scented fruit salad! Anyway, I have plenty of time left this summer to get things together, and just being able to sit outside my door is a pleasure.
I feel like the squares I made up for this month’s crochet along reflect the warm weather as well, with the warm floral colors I selected almost taking on a watermelon-like feel. The Fountain of Roses crochet square (follow the link for the free Raverly download) is such a beautiful square. I made it once before for the crochet-along last year, but I ended up liking this version so much better. But it reminds me of a watermelons every time I look at it – the pink insides, the green skin, even the dark seeds! Well, it’s fitting for the summer, isn’t it?
The Rachel Block was the main square for June, and it was supposed to be a full 12″ square. But the big center bloom looked so pretty that by the time I got to the square around it and found that it equaled 6″ exactly, I decided that I would leave it at that size and use it that way instead. So many 6-inch blocks have a small motif in the center and rounds and rounds that outline it, but this great big blossom extends all the way to the lengths of the square instead, and I thought that was a nice change. I was so happy with it that I ended up making a few mores too!
And finally, the six inch block for the month is this lovely little Wrap Square. It’s a little hard to tell from the picture, but the petals aren’t in rounds; instead they wrap around in a spiral. I used three different colors and even though I attached them properly, it still looks a bit like three separate rounds. But it’s not. I usually make a couple of the 6-inch squares each month, but with the three Rachel blocks, this singleton rounded out the bunch, and so I left it that way. It certainly is lovely enough to stand on its own!
We’re halfway through the year with the 2015 Block-a-Month Crochet Along, but for those of you who have asked me about it, it’s never too late to join in. The 18 squares that are left before the end of the year are plenty to have a decent-sized blanket ready for someone you love (or yourself!) by the holidays, so if you’ve been wanting to join in, by all means, jump right in!
Over the past month, I’ve been working to reduce and repurpose when I can. One thing I’ve been making a lot of over the past few weeks are dishcloths. I’ve been doing my best to do my small part for the environment; reducing trash and reusing items when I can. I have a huge stack of dish towels that I keep in my kitchen that I’ve been collecting for the past 20 years. I use them like crazy instead of paper towels, but I have to admit that even though they’re very functional, they are very, very ugly! Most of them are stained, faded and several are ripped. So I thought that it was time to make up a set of dishtowels that had a bit more of aesthetic appeal. This was a great project to work on all throughout last month, because tossing a cotton skein in my bag with a hook was really easy to tote around to everywhere that we I needed to go, and I would just pick them up and work on them whenever I had some extra time – even sitting in the car during traffic standstills!
But I am so happy with the results! I love the bright splash of colors that they lend to my otherwise neutral kitchen. I used my favorite dishcloth pattern (which is free here) and made up a couple of dozen. I tried to be mindful of the scraps as well. What I’ve been doing with these cotton scraps are making jar covers. I had written last month about how a friend had paid me to make a couple of them up for her mason jars, and they turned out so pretty that I decided a few for myself would be a great way to use up those scraps. But instead of covering up my mason jars, I’ve been hanging onto glass jars that I buy in the store – jars that hold spaghetti sauce, salsa, olives, and pickles. After we use them, I clean them out and get as much of the label off as possible. But a lot of the times, there’s always a little bit of paper label stuck to the jar. I had previously thrown those jars away, because they didn’t look nice at all (yet I kept my dingy old towels, go figure!). But I decided that crochet covers were the perfect option for hanging onto them and covering up the ripped labels. And so I have a pretty shelf full of jars that are being reused for teabags, wine corks, and other kitchen items.
And finally, since I was on a roll with reusing food containers, I have also been keeping my old metal cans from canned food as well and scrubbing them off when I have used their contents. I was just using them for storage, and thought that I might crochet around them as well, but when I was visiting my local craft store, I came upon these pretty duct tape patterns, and found that duct tape was an easy and lovely way of making metal cans both look nice and be a practical storage solution.
The crochet jar covers are easy enough to make. I’ve previously used this pattern here, but lately, I’ve taken to just making them on a whim. I basically just make a chain that’s just big enough to fit around the bottom of whatever I’m covering (usually around 34-40 chains depending on the size), and then go round by round up in whatever color or stitch you want to use. In the rainbow one above, those are all bpsc all the way up. I added a drawstring of a long chain and then for the final round did an (sc, ch1) repeat, then I wove the drawstring through the holes and tightened it up. The lid is scrapbook paper with modpodge. The jar below is a spike stitch pattern with a couple of sc in between. I don’t know if I like it as much as the others, but it’s functional and in use, and I’m too lazy to change it any time soon!
As I go through the jars, I keep them on the floor next to my crochet table, and then whenever I have extra time or need some extra storage room, I’ll just make one and use it as I go along. Extra jars are saved for birthdays and holidays where cookies and candies can be placed inside. That’s crochet in a nutshell, right? Functional and decorative! And it makes me happy to do my little part in reducing trash as well.
Oh, thank goodness May is over! I do love May, but with all the birthdays, parties, graduations, with the end of the year homeschooling duties, with finals and out of town guests, and with trying to get the garden in early enough for a good harvest, May just slips away from me, year after year. So finally, here I’ve arrived at June – and woke up this morning to a chilly 50-degree day. Go figure!
I have received all the comments and emails, and I’ll be doing my best to get back to every one over the next day or two, so please be patient with me! If you sent me a comment or question and you haven’t heard back from me by the end of the week, please send it again. I’m hoping I haven’t overlooked anything.
Even though I’ve been busy throughout May, I definitely found some time to get some crochet and crafting in, and I’ll have plenty to share this week, so stay tuned! To ring in a happy June, though, here are these cheerful crochet Daisy Coasters (free pattern in link). The leaves are courtesy of the slippery elm tree that hangs over my backyard.