Hexagonal Patchwork

october-1-2016-patchwork-002

~

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.

~

october-1-2016-patchwork-006

~

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.

~

october-1-2016-patchwork-004

~

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.

~

october-1-2016-patchwork-011~

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!

~

october-1-2016-patchwork-008~

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.

~

october-1-2016-patchwork-005~

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Nostalgia

Woodland Gnome 2016

~

october-1-2016-patchwork-003~

 

Advertisements

Spring Wrap

February 4, 2015 scarf 004

~

This very soft, lightweight spring wrap is crocheted with my current favorite yarn.  This is Red Heart’s Boutique ‘Unforgettable‘ in Tidal.

These ‘Unforgettable’ yarns feel like a soft wool; almost a Mohair blend.  The yarn itself has the sort of loose and variable texture usually found in hand spun yarn.

~

February 4, 2015 scarf 003

~

The color palette comes directly from nature.  Tidal reminds me of the layers of color in sea and sky looking out towards the horizon from the beach.

I enjoy handling these soft and colorful yarns in winter, when so much color has drained away from the landscape.  This wrap was worked with a #5 hook, which gives an open and lacy texture.  The design evolves as the piece grows, with only a sketchy idea at the beginning of it.

~

February 4, 2015 scarf 001

~

It will go in tomorrow’s mail to a friend who could probably use an extra layer of warmth at the moment.  It is headed north, with a promise that spring isn’t that far behind it.

~

September 17, 2014 Oregon 252

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

~

September 17, 2014 Oregon 201

 

Color!

January 28, 2015 color 004

~

What to do when color drains away from the garden in winter?  Enjoy it indoors, of course!

On winter evenings I keep my hands busy with colorful yarns and a crochet hook.  So many visitors to Forest Garden share an interest in knitting and crochet, I decided to share a photo or two of this wrap completed with Red Heart Boutique “Unforgettable” yarn in  “Dragonfly.”

~

January 28, 2015 color 003

~

I love the names of these beautiful yarns!   I’ve been working with this ‘Unforgettable’ yarn for the last several weeks because it is incredibly soft and easy to work, and because it is drenched in the colors of nature.  Although it is 100% acrylic, it looks and feels like a very soft wool.   Other favorite color combinations include  “Tidal,” “Echo,” and “Stained Glass.”

Dragonfly” is my current favorite because it reminds me of so many of the herbs and perennials growing in our summer garden, and of course our beautiful living dragonflies.

~

January 28, 2015 color 001

~

This wrap ended up at a little more than 8′ long and nearly 2′ wide, and can be worn in a variety of ways.   It is light enough to fold and soft enough to drape.  It is a good weight to wear indoors on these cold winter nights to hold off the chill.

Although many of my finished pieces end up as gifts to friends and loved ones, this one is for me.  I’ll wrap up in the colors of the garden, page through those plant catalogs yet again, and make plans for spring.

~

January 28, 2015 color 002

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

 

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 671 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest