Hexagonal Patchwork

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The women in our family learned to embroider as we learned to write.  Grandmother taught Mother, and Mother taught me.

There were beautiful pillowcases and dresser scarves, table linens and hand towels.  My favorite project was a pair of well-worn jeans, first repaired with embroidery floss and then embellished with free hand embroidery.  As the denim frayed and tore, my ‘repairs’ grew ever more colorful and inventive.

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We sewed, too; and we crocheted.  Grandmother seemed to always have an ‘Afghan’ in progress during her later years.  She claimed it kept her fingers moving properly as arthritis set into her joints.  She made them for each child and grandchild in her large family, often with pillow covers to match.  I cherish a beautifully crocheted lace bedspread she made for me from pure white cotton thread.

Mother learned to knit and made sweaters for us when we were little.  She tried to teach me several times, too, but it didn’t hold my interest as much as a crochet hook and a ball of thread could.   I used to crochet lace, like Grandmother did.  I made delicate snowflakes for the Christmas tree and little clutch hand bags for my friends.

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And I still keep a bag of yarn and thread beside my chair, and a collection of crochet hooks close at hand.

Lately, I decided to master hexagonal crocheted ‘motifs.’  I guess one shouldn’t call them ‘squares’ when they sport six sides, should we?  beyond-the-square

I’ve been using Edie Eckman’s Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs: 144 Circles, Hexagons, Triangles, Squares, and Other Unexpected Shapes for ideas and tutorials on style.  This is an easy to understand, beautifully illustrated guide to the finer points of crochet.  While a beginner could figure it out, there is enough challenge here to keep my interest for a long time to come!

Through a combination of reading this book and visiting craft blogs, I’ve figured out how to add 3D flowers to the motifs and have even explored the ‘Dragon Scale’ stitch, something I’d never seen before.  It turns out that these ‘dragon scales’ make great flower petals, too!

This is the first ‘granny square’ style Afghan I’ve attempted, and it remains a work in progress.  I like the geometry of it.  I’ll finish it off as a rectangle, which means figuring out how to crochet ‘half-hexagons’ to even out the edges.

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I also like that the ‘flower’ centers remind me of Daffodil trumpets.  These are fantasy flowers for sure, but I’ll have a knitted garden filled with them by the time this project is completed.

And once it is completed, then what?

That is usually the question, isn’t it?  My own daughter learned to crochet after my last visit to her in the spring.  Not that I didn’t try to teach her before, because I did.  But we worked on it together in April, and what I showed her finally ‘stuck.’

Someone is only interested in learning when they have a reason to want to learn.  With a little daughter of her own, and a nephew, and friends with new babies, there is a good reason for her to crochet.  She whips out baby blankets now and has gotten very good at the patterns she’s mastered.  She doesn’t need me to give her another crocheted anything at this point in her life!

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This design makes me happy and so I’ll probably keep this Afghan for myself.  It will be a fun on those cool winter nights ahead, to keep me cozy while reading garden books and sipping tea!

It’s not perfect by a long way.  But more will follow, now that my interest is piqued by crocheting these odd geometric pieces with raised embellishments.  Those can be planned to give away, perhaps.

Handmade things feed our sense of connection to one another.  Perhaps there is a note of nostalgia, too, as they bring to mind the loved ones who made them for us.  Even those things we craft and keep, like my old pair of embroidered blue jeans, remind us of other versions of ourselves; of people we knew and loved and far-off times and places.

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Nostalgia

Woodland Gnome 2016

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

7 responses to “Hexagonal Patchwork

  1. My grandma (Mama) made my sister and I blankets, which we called ‘Kings’ because they looked so regal. They used lots of different coloured wool and I know they were knitted with love. I still use mine now and again, though I’m scared of wearing it out – it’s seen so much use over the years. I can’t imagine a life without it!

  2. Pingback: Nostalgia: Train Platform | What's (in) the picture?

  3. My grandmother was like yours and had to keep her hands busy all the time. She made items for the hospital gift shop. Maybe you could make baby blankets for a local hospital? Your designs are lovely! I have a very special hand-crocheted scarf in the most gorgeous sea tones that someone special once made me. I treasure it! 😉

    • That’s very nice to know , Eliza 😊 I would like to make hats and scarves for young people who need them , and have talked with friends who volunteer with the local church based outreach to those in need . I’m still trying to find a connection with the right group . I’ve seen where crafters, in some areas, simply tie their products in trees in for those who need them to claim . The hospital is a good idea , but I avoid them as much as possible ! Did your grandmother crochet ?

      • Yes, she crocheted, but most often knit. I still have one of her baby sets that I used for my boys. Hopefully, some day I may have a grandchild to pass it on to. 🙂

        • Wouldn’t that be lovely? Knitting is something I’ve still not gotten the hang of. Not that it is so difficult, either. I tried knitting socks last year, which was a great laugh! Leave it to those who do it well. Don’t you think? An heirloom baby set is such a special gift for your grandbabies to come!

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