The summer spread

A work in progress for the past two years.

This large granny square afghan was always destined to be the perfect summer spread. 
The ever expanding size (covering a queen size here) quickly made it inconvenient to stuff into my crochet bag and lug around. And because you literally have to wear it as you crochet it the warmer months make it less that cool to work on for very long. So a lot of progress was made this winter due mainly to the fact that I was tired of trying to hide it in the crochet basket.

I like my bedtime covers to have a bit of weight to them. To feel that you are snuggled under something. But during the summer you run the risk of sweltering or forking over your life savings for the electric bill. Crocheted blankets this size tend to be rather heavy but the openness of a granny stitch allows for air to circulate through the sheet underneath.

And when you’re sick in bed with the plague (as Liz calls it) all weekend, you have time to finish the edges. All weekend I fought with horrible cold symptoms and a general stuffiness in my ears that I really haven’t been able the shake. (I’m blaming the strawberries) So I’m resorting the plans B & C.
Beer & Chocolate
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With sticks and string

You can make beautiful things.

Crocheting is one of my greatest joys in life.  It suffices the need to be creative.  To make something useful.  To keep me from being antsy.  To calm me down.  To connect me.  Crochet is my wonder drug.

I first started crocheting around the age of 6.  I say 6 because that is when my Aunt Mary came to live with us for a while after her divorce. And she crocheted. As well as did my grandmother and most of the other women on my dad’s side of the family. 

There were many stops and starts in my learning process.  Reteaching myself from those little how to pamphlets you could find next to the yarn section in Wal-mart.  Remember this was all back before the internet and YouTube. Even though my relationship with crochet has been an off again on again kind of thing, it always connected me with those women.

I remember the Easter shawls and capes my Grandma Bechdoldt crocheted for my sister, cousin and I (we were the 3 youngest grand-kids and all girls).  I still have my baby ripple afghan my Aunt Mary made as well as a few more she has gifted me and my own babies with.  I love the open spaces that allow me to weave my fingers through the stitches that they hooked and twisted to become the lovely cherished heirlooms in my linen closet and at the foot of our beds.

Lately crochet has connected me with great friends (even friends who knit ;).  Friends made with very  little that initially binds us together but the sticks and string we bring to the table. But great friends none the less. Crochet makes me think of the women who taught me and the women (and a couple of guys) I’ve taught in my time.  In my former art teacher days, I always relished in the moment when a student realized they could draw a three dimensional object with just some gentle instruction.  It’s the same when you can show someone how to crochet.  The passing on of knowledge and then who they may one day pass it on to.

Recently I’ve joined a small group from my church of ladies that get together and play with sticks and string.  Apart from Cyndi, who I dragged to the first meeting, I knew no one else but was thrilled to make these easy connections with new “comrades in yarn”.  We have fast become a great support group for each other and all agree that we find ourselves relishing our Wednesday nights.

So, all of that said, it’s true…. with sticks and strings, you can make beautiful things.  Like really awesome friends.

Dishcloth

I love a crocheted dishcloth. For someone like me who has trouble finishing projects, starting a new dishcloth means I’ll have the satisfaction of a beautiful as well as useful completed creation in my hands.

Flower Dishcloth Pattern

They also make wonderful spur of the moment gifts. Add them with a jar of jelly, loaf of homemade bread or a plate of tasty cookies and you have the perfect hostess gift or housewarming present.

Simple Granny Square from scraps of yarn.

Although sometimes I really have to convince the recipient that yes you do use these pretty little squares or circles of handmade loveliness to clean up your messes. EllynAnn Geisel wrote in The Linen Book about the beauty that was worked into the everyday housekeeping necessities. If you are spending your days working in the kitchen and cleaning the house why not have pretty tools to do the work with. And the cotton yarn washes up so nicely.

Pattern from the back of a skein of yarn that was actually meant to be squares pieces together for a blanket.  All individual square patterns tend to make great dishcloth patterns as well.  I like this pattern a lot because the stitches are all worked in the back loops with give the dishcloth a great ribbed texture just right for scrubbing. Here’s a link to a similar pattern.

Dishcloths are great for the beginner or when you want to tryout a new stitch. Just make your practice squares out of cotton and they are useful other than being just a first attempt.

This one taxed my crochet brain muscles a little but I love the little hidden hearts in the block.

Pinterest is one of my go to sources for new and fun patterns. Another great source is Ravely. And you will find a plethora of patterns on the Lily Cotton website.

This pattern is really fun and cute.