September 12, 2013

Happy International Crochet Day!

I really had no idea that an International Crochet Day existed until yesterday. Only when I went on Instagram, did I noticed that numerous fiber junkies started hashtagging the daylights out of a bunch of granny squares. 

Not one to miss out on the fun, I submitted my own little square for a worldwide virtual blanket. (Check out #virtualblanket if you're on Instagram and watch the blanket grow!)

This square is an extra one from a baby blanket I made for a friend in 2011. The pattern is available for free for a full-sized afghan -- I just scaled mine down to baby size.

I couldn't find out any other 'official' information or real history on International Crochet Day, but really, do we 'hookers' need a reason to crochet? 

I learned to crochet when I was about eight years old. My mother learned from her mother-in-law, and as I watched Mom make heavy acrylic blankets for the winter, I too wanted to learn. I watched her creating loop after loop, the bulge in each skein of yarn getting skinnier and skinnier the more the blanket grew.

My mom showed me the basics and I remember using a small hook and red yarn. I managed to make a chain and a few rows of single crochet. However, I hadn't learned the concept of making that extra stitch at the end before I would go onto the next row, so what started out as a red bookmark became a C-shaped something-or-other.

I didn't pick up a hook again for a long, long time.  

Then, the Sailor and I spent a year in Cape Town, South Africa for his navigation schooling. Armed with paper, glue sticks and craft scissors, I planned to make cards, collages and scrapbook pages galore in the evenings while he studied. 

After only a week in our cramped 'granny flat' near the sea, all of my paper began to wilt. The place was so damp and full of salty sea air that I couldn't create much at all. The cards curled, the glue stopped sticking, and I myself started to crack. 

I knew I'd need some sort of artistic venture to see me through the second semester. I loved sewing, but hauling my Singer all the way overseas was out of the question. When we arrived in the USA for the term break, I marched myself to a craft store and purchased hooks, yarn and the simplest crochet guide possible. I figured of all things, wool could stand up to getting damp. Plus crochet seemed portable -- much more so than that sewing machine. I remembered my mom's blankets and decided I too wanted to crochet something to keep me warm in the winter. 

First things first though -- I somehow, without a pattern -- made this hook carrying case. (Don't ask me how I did it, because I still don't have a clue. Think glorified roll-up pencil case made with cotton. VoilĂ .)

I don't really remember what else I made -- some dishcloths and a few potholders that I still use and lots of small projects that I'd create one day and then rip out the next just to learn a technique. Suffice it to say, even though I didn't complete a giant crocheted blanket at that point, the second semester was a lot less stressful for me (it helped that I wasn't the one actually studying, but I do give crocheting credit for it's zen-like properties.) 

In honor of International Crochet Day, I'd like to share a few crochet projects that never made it onto the blog. 

Hooded Baby Blanket (minus the hood, in my case): I have made this blanket too many times to count in all different colors. An excellent go-to crochet project. I like to keep a few extra in 'stock' for those surprise deliveries -- you know -- when you have a far-away friend announce the birth of their baby and you had no idea they were pregnant!

Apron strings:
I showed off the start of this before we moved, but I never gave you a glimpse of the finished apron.

Great Granny Afghan: This is not a 'recent' project, but it's been on our sofa ever since I made it, and much to my delight, the Sailor uses it whenever he's home. While the pattern is from an older Crochet Today magazine, if you know how to do a granny square, then just keep going! (There's a great granny square tutorial here, on the Purl Bee.)

Happy International Crochet Day, everyone! I'm going to spend my evening crocheting something that I'll share with you later. I'm also going to see if I can figure out what to do with a few more leftover granny squares. (I'm thinking soles for some new granny square slippers.)

Check out the 'crochet' label on the right for more crochet fun if you've missed any posts on Typing Sunflowers and happy hooking!

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