Once upon a time, when I had a lot more leisure time on my hands, I took a crash course in craft – fuelled by one too many cupcakes, I took back-to-back lessons in sewing, quilting, knitting and crochet – determined to master them all in two weeks.
I had visions of quilting family heirlooms (I blame repeat viewings of How to Make an American Quilt throughout my teens), sewing embarrassing costumes for future children, knitting scarves for bespoke birthday presents and crocheting a massive granny-style blanket, because you can never have enough family heirlooms.
My sewing machine is still new in its box, in a garage on the other side of the world. The heirloom quilt still consists of the four patchwork pieces I sewed (rather poorly) on the day of my class. But, I’m proud to say, some friends have been the polite recipients of handknitted scarves, and there’s a crochet blanket in the works.
It’s been cold and wet – the kind of weather that makes it tempting to spend an entire day inside drinking steaming mugs of tea. Ironically, I live in London, and it’s currently summertime, but the
So I’ve rediscovered my love for the crocheted granny square. Yes, I developed temporary Tourette’s the first time I attempted to make one, but once you get the hang of it, crochet is pretty darned satisfying. A granny square takes about 30 minutes to complete – and afterwards, you can spend much longer than that basking in your cleverness.
Granny squares regularly pop up on the pop culture radar – from the vest Paul McCartney rocked during his Magical Mystery Tour days, to more recently, the granny-square print maxi dress that made headlines for fashion label House of Holland. Knitting is nice and all, but crochet is cool.
There are patterns for granny squares all over the web, but you’ll find one that’s particularly easy to follow on the Little Tin Bird blog, complete with step-by-step pics. I also watched a ton of Youtube videos to get my head around crochet’s dreaded treble stitch, which I can now execute without taking my eyes off The Apprentice (don’t judge me).
I’m now on my 97th granny square. I want that heirloom blanket, darnit!
It’s a slow burn. Full disclosure: I started my red, white and blue blanket for a bit of fun during the Royal Wedding frenzy. At this rate, I’d be lucky if turned out to be a Royal Baby commemorative blanket.
Of course, there is an instant gratification option. There are tons of handmade blankets on eBay or Etsy looking for a good home. One of my girlfriends has a fabulous pink and green crocheted number, snapped up online, which she snuggles up with when she goes camping in her bright orange VW Kombi. She looks like a veritable crafting queen. And it cost her $15.
Have you handmade anything for your home? Or do you prefer handmade when someone else has done the work?