Friday, 15 January 2010

Crochet is so now

Everyone seems to be learning crochet these days. There's even a new magazine, I see, that apparently teaches you how to make a not-very-nice blanket. That aside, I'm glad that so many crafters are picking it up. I've long been a crochet fan, and I much prefer it to knitting, as I find it faster and easier.

I learnt crochet when I was 10 years old in junior school, when we were shown how to make granny squares, which our teacher sewed up into blankets 'for poor people'. I have no recollection of who these 'poor people' were - I think they were 'abroad', probably in India or Africa. Whilst I can't remember the cause, I vividly remember making those crochet squares. It was the seventies and the colour combinations reflected the times. My favourites included brown and orange, turquoise and brown, and royal blue and turquoise. This model from one of my vintage craft books appears to have used some of my designs!

In those days, we had a local haberdashery near where I lived (goodness, that sounds like a different, magical age, doesn't it?). The two old ladies who ran it had obviously decided to get 'with it', and amongst all the pastel baby yarn, there was a basket of yarn in incredibly bright colours. It loudly proclaimed its man-made, acrylic status in neon shades of orange, pink, turquoise and yellow. You could get a static electric shock just by looking at it. However, it was catnip to 10 year olds, and once I took some to school, I ended up having to buy countless balls of the stuff for my classmates. When the blanket-making ended, I carried on crocheting and made myself a long scarf of granny squares. There might have been a long waistcoat too...

I had learnt to knit as well, of course, but it always seemed so slow. I think this was probably the effect of one of my mum's projects. My poor mum never got enough time to sit and do the crafts she loved, so her own projects (as opposed to making toys or clothes for her children) always seemed to carry on for years. At some point she decided to knit an Aran cardigan. This cardigan, and the accompanying large carrier bag of cream wool, was a work-in-progress for many years. I think she'd just about completed the left front when I joined in. She showed me how to do cabling, which was fun (and there was only one that went the wrong way), but the back and sleeves were in a fairly plain stitch that just went on and on.

Over the years, my mum, my sister and I all knitted bits of that damn cardigan. I can't even remember how it got finished, but I think by then I'd done most of the knitting, and so I claimed it as mine. God knows what size it was meant to be - it was far too big for any of us, but by then it was nearly the 1980s, and ridiculously oversized knitwear was acceptable dress for a would-be art student. When I was a student, I remember it being the warmest thing I owned, which was useful in draughty, under-heated student accommodation.So that's probably why I prefer crochet, and probably why I generally avoid making clothes, and prefer to stick to scarves, throws, blankets, baskets, lampshades, etc,

I've just got to end of a crochet project that threatened to become endless, as I just couldn't stop. This throw/blanket (above and below) has been an on and off project for a couple of years, as I just kept making it bigger and bigger. But I finally decided it was time to stop. (Although I'm tempted to add another round of edging...) It's very heavy, as it's all cotton. It wasn't until I threw it on the sofa for a quick photo, that I realised how well the colours match the framed fabric on the wall. An unconscious match, as I originally intended putting it on the bed.

It's made me keen to do more colourful crochet, so I'm going to work on some small items. It would be nice to make some items to sell, but we'll have to see...

13 comments:

TK said...

Ooh.

I think I need a crochet lesson next time I visit.

Country Cottage Chic said...

The blanket looks lovely.
I remember knitting squares at school, also to be made into blankets for "poor people" & nowadays those sorts of blankets sell for many pounds!

Jayne

Menopausal musing said...

Breathtaking colours and blanket...... your sitting room looks sooooo sophisticated, like something from a magazine.

ElsaFindlay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kitsch and Curious Elaine said...

Thanks all!
Cathy - the photo has been carefully edited so you can't see all the rubbish in the rest of the room!

Kcrystina said...

That is just a beautiful blanket! Kudos to you for sticking with it and finally finishing! :)

Like you, I can knit (basic stuff) and crochet, though prefer crocheting for the same reasons as you. I didn't learn from way back when though. Would have loved if we were taught that in school! We were lucky enough to have a basic home-ec class. I taught myself both knitting and crochet, and though I turn to knitting for a change, crochet will always be my preference.

jaboopee said...

wow! your blanket and home look really beautiful....i love the colour tones , really gorgeous..
i do'nt know why we never learnt crochet and its a source of real annoyance to me but 'meet me at mikes' is doing a brillant tutorial that i'm saving ...

aran jumpers were impossibly difficult to knit ...my mother used to do baby sized ones..one of our neighbours made one for her husband , extra large cos he was a really big man , it was still too small for him when she;d finished it and i am still amazed by the fact that she ripped it all out and started again...

Jackie said...

I thought that was a magazine pic of an interior.
I love the cushions on top of the blanket too.

Ticking stripes said...

Gorgeous blanket - don't you just love the serendipity thing when something just works or happens completely unintentionally? Just found you and am now going ot have to go back through all your old posts!

MelMel said...

Oh I so wish I could crochet, I'm so pants at it!
I love the blanket..x

het lieveheersbeestje said...

Oh Elaine! This looks so lovely!!! You realy have a good taste in collors. (here speaks a child from the sixties and seventies too; I had my bedroom decorated in purple and orange!)
I received your LOVELY present that I won at your give away, and I am so happy with all the goodies..thank you so very much...!!! You realy made my day, thanks. I mention you on my blog and showed some pictures of the supprise too.
Have a nice weekend, greetings from mama lieveheersbeestje.

Kitschen Pink said...

WOW! and unconscious mega stylish sofa! t.x

Kaylovesvintage said...

I love the crochet look

nice vintage blog you got