Crochet confession : I have made two blankets since Christmas and I have plans for (at least) one more, I follow several (ok, a lot) of crochet blogs and occasionally frequently most nights dream of crochet patterns. I am an addict, and frankly I don’t care. After spending many many hours making little squares, I have a few thoughts to share
1. I hate ends: I will sew them in carefully and dutifully, but if there is anything I can do to avoid them, I will. Hence the single coloured throws I have in mind and the amount of time I spend scrutinising blogs and YouTube videos for tricks to avoid them. None of them work, and one of these ‘tricks’ resulted in a square nearly becoming unravelled as I was sewing it to a cushion pad. That is no ‘trick’ or ‘timesaver’ – that, my friends, is a disaster waiting to happen.
2. I am not a great fan the brand of acrylic yarn that features in a well-known blog (or two) and makes a big deal of its range of colours: I have no arguments with good quality acrylic yarn and I can see its value for bringing crochet projects in at a sensible budget, and I stock some that is (in my humble opinion) a very good, reliable acrylic/wool mix. However I still maintain that if you have the cash, and love a project enough to spend a great deal of time on it, it’s worth investing in wool, a good wool mix or a good quality cotton yarn. The finished product will have the weight, warmth and a heirloom quality that anything made with a cheap but Famous Acrylic doesn’t have. Sorry to its fans but there you are.
3. Crochet blankets, cushions, coasters, bags – yes yes yes! Crochet clothes? Nope. Every time I look at a photo of a crochet cardigan I see the coral pink dress that my mum made for me when I was little and the various other fashion crimes in the 70’s. Knitting for clothes, crochet for blankies. Sorry Mum.
4. Mix it up: I don’t think I’m ever going to give up knitting in favour of crochet, but equally I recognize that my ‘crochet, no thanks’ stance wasn’t ‘cool’. My hands (which are being bent by arthritis) benefit from mixing a diet of crochet and knitting and, frankly, my (over-stuffed with knitted things) wardrobe is benefiting too.
There just remains one question – what do you do with all those blankets?
As mentioned on our Facebook page , the Village Wool Shop will be hosting a special one-off Knit and Natter Extravaganza on Friday 15th at 7.30pm.
If you’re a friend of our little shop, you’ll already know about our regular Tuesday sessions, but this one, organised by Emma Carey and her friends, is a bit different.
As everyone knows, it’s always lovely to get a hand-made gift when you’ve just had a baby, especially if things are a bit tough. Hopefully, with a bit of help from me, Emma and her friends will be able to knit or crochet some lovely things which they will then add to a ‘welcome’ bundle alongside a few other baby essentials. Donations will go to local organisations who are helping families in need.
If you fancy coming along, or you want to help out yourself, get in touch with Emma on 07425865504.
And if you just want to contribute some baby things – handmade or shop bought, new or barely used, I will pass them on. Phone the shop on 01706 222116, or call in for details.
I’ve been buying new buttons for the shop: pretty little carved coconut and shell, baby pastels, sparkly ones and sober wooden toggles. I love buttons and find the urge to buy irresistible, even though I have a tin of them at home.
It goes back I think, to my Aunty Myra, who had a substantial collection of buttons and the best sewing box ever. I used to visit when I was a wee bit younger and while the grown-ups talked, I would ‘tidy’ the box. Now my Aunty was a neat woman and her flat was always immaculate, so I now find it mysterious that her sewing equipment would require the ministrations of a 10 or 11 year old to keep it in good order. I tend to think that ‘tidying’ it largely meant opening boxes (sharp, lightly oiled pinking shears, tailors chalk, wooden spoils of thread) and poking around in the contents.
I seem to think that the box itself was wooden with one of those ingenious levering devices that lifted the top layer up and outwards to reveal the next layer: in any case all the interesting things were hidden in the darker recesses (tape measures that pinged back with a snap, assorted hooks and eyes, random zips) along with the button box. I keep my own stash of buttons in a whisky miniature tin, I don’t remember what Myra kept hers in, but it definitely made them rattle in a very satisfactory manner.
Inside it was the usual hotch-potch of random and largely indifferent buttons that most people hang on to, but stirring them with my fingers, an occasional jewel would rise to the surface and then plop back under the waves of grey suit and plain white shirt.
The odd thing about a button box, is that you very rarely find the buttons you need or in the quantity you require. I made a little baby cardigan recently and was overjoyed to find five matching pale green buttons: I usually have one less than I need or they’re far to small or much too big. I sewed them on, and found the next morning that they were not quite the right green. The button box had betrayed me again. Sadly I have always ensured that baby buttons are always sewed on especially safely. These not-quite-right buttons were staying. Whether I liked it or not.
A lovely little girl came into the shop a week or so ago and we looked at the buttons together – she loved the shiny ones, the coconut shell and the rainbow wood, the sparkly flowers too. I would like to think that one of these years she’ll be a knitter or a crocheter, with a button tin all of her own.