Hiding Behind Crochet- Crochet Together

Sometimes I feel like I am hiding behind my crochet, but crochet together with others can make a difference. Crochet can be an ice breaker, and open up discussions with new people. Yet crochet can be a shield to avoid difficult situations.

It might seems a bit odd to think that this simple hobby/craft/art can be used in emotional ways. I have secretly been doing it for years.

I feel a bit naked talking about it, showing more vulnerability and such. However I think crochet is an avenue for bringing people together, and in that train of thought honestly works best.

Found some crochet in Istanbul….my daughter pulls out some crochet while waiting in line to enter the Hagia Sophia

I seek out crochet when I travel to help build bridges and feel a connection to the places I visit. Fortunately crochet is everywhere, and even if we don’t speak the same language the language of crochet is the same. These are tricks I use as ice breakers. I find out that we have more in common then we have as differences.

I am always amazed by the art that I find. Everyone is quick to point out their mistakes and reluctant to take the compliment. This must be a universal trait. It is fun to see the different way they put their stitches together, and get inspired by their work.

On the other hand, I bring my crochet to events that I might feel uncomfortable in. Situations that might be awkward or difficult are perfect for crochet. In these cases I might still be trying to find a new friend by putting forth my flag to find others that share the craft. Almost like a little passcode to a fellow member of an underground organization.

Hopefully I can find someone that will help make the situation less anxious.  

I guess I am trying to say that crochet is my way of finding my people and adding feeling of belonging when I need it. I am sure that this works for others as well. Hopefully, they can see me crocheting at the table in the coffee shop and feel that their people are there too. Making them feel welcome. (If you need some new tips on different crochet techniques, check out some of these.)

I always advocate for crochet world dominance. Maybe it is because I want to feel like I can always belong.

National Crochet Month- Pawprints on our Hearts

I always look forward to March, otherwise known as National Crochet Month, and participating in the blog tour by Crochetville with this year’s theme “Pawprints on our Hearts”. Make sure and follow along on the tour here.

This theme was a bit difficult for me. I still have a heavy heart from the passing of a pet, the family house rabbit, Storm. He managed to capture my heart in a way that the other pets in the home just haven’t managed. Storm was always nearby as I was working on projects and designs. You might not believe it, he would share his opinion of my work. He was always a critic.

Storm, the house rabbit

Imagine a rabbit that managed to be the dominate pet in the house. Keeping the 80 pound dog and cat in line. Stealing the dog’s bed and chase the cat, and learned to scratch on the refrigerator door to get blueberries. He is missed.

I have always had a soft spot for rabbits, and I am not sure why. I have had a few different bunnies over the years, and their personalities are always so varied. It is so unplanned, how our hearts can just open up to our pets.

BBD (Baby Brown Dog)

As a way of celebrating this love we have for pets with you during National Crochet Month, I am offering my pattern for BBD (Baby Brown Dog) at half price (get it here). This is a toy puppy with weighted feet that hopefully will find a way into your heart.

It has been one week.

It has been one week. One week since I was awoke by the sound of traffic.

I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the road I live on is a major access for the community of Grizzly Flats. It was one week ago that from the traffic, being too heavy and commuting in the wrong direction, that I knew something was wrong.

I checked news sources and social media outlets, but it was at least 30 minutes until I found confirmation that Grizzly Flats was being evacuated due to fire. By morning I would learn that longtime friends had lost everything in the Caldor fire.

My turn- It has been one week

Only 24 hours later I would receive my own evacuation warning. My family loaded up the pets, packed the “important papers”, loaded up favorite mementos and left home. It is a surreal experience.

We have since returned home, as our notice is actually a “warning”, we are not under a “mandatory” evacuation. However we continue to live in a heightened state. Everything is still packed, and when things need to be used, they are re-packed immediately after. It is kind of like camping at home.

These are the times when you find out what is important. I am surprised at where crochet fit in this for me. Among my packings, I made sure my hooks found a vehicle. However only the yarns that I have current commitments had the same fate. The only completed projects that made the cut were ones that needed photography, as they are near a publication date. I didn’t pack any books, not any of my “specialty yarns”. I didn’t even pack my “specialty” or “collectable” hooks. Just the everyday hooks made the car, and that current projects made it there too.

Maybe it is because crochet is not a “thing” for me. Maybe the process is really what drives me. The movement of my hands, the twisting of the hook, the flow of the yarn between my fingers. Granted times like these make it difficult to be creative and design something new. Yet, crochet does keep my hands busy and my mind focused.

How you can help

As of today the fire has evacuated a physical area nearly half the size of the state of Rhode Island. If you want to assist those evacuated or how have lost everything, here is a site listing ways.

Crochet Quilt Blocks- the Half Square Triangle

Crochet quilt blocks lend themselves to unlimited creativity. These can be great for scrap projects or planned out artistic works.

Below I describe how to create your own simple geographic block, as well as some idea suggestions.

Ohio Star Crochet Quilt Block

In the world of quilting the half square triangle, even using just this block, the possibilities are endless. Essentially it is simply a square that is worked with two colors. It is divided on the diagonal, creating a look of two triangles with the long ends together.

Sizes for crochet quilt blocks

Create your own design, just ensure that these blocks are the same size, or equal fractions of each other. Meaning make big and little blocks. The big block might be 10” then the little squares should be 5” so that they can all be put together equally.

Getting started with your crochet quilt blocks

To begin, create a chain the desired length of the diagonal of the square. This chain should be an odd number. Work a single crochet decrease over the 2nd and 3rd chain (need to know how to work a single decrease, check it out here), single crochet in each chain across until 2 chains are left.   Single crochet decrease over the last 2 chains, then chain 1 and turn.

All subsequent rows of this half of the square are worked the same. Work a single crochet decrease over the first two stitches, single crochet in each stitch across until 2 stitches remain, then work a single crochet decrease over the last two stitches. Repeat this until only 2 stitches remain, and then single crochet decrease these tow stitches together.

Half Square Triangle Crochet Quilt Block

The next side

Using another color and the unused loops of the beginning chain. Work the same stitch technique of decreases on each side of the row.

The block is really just that simple. Now for some ideas. I have found plugging the term “half square triangle quilt” into a search engine, and then selecting the images option, that there is a great abundance of uses.

Ideas for Crochet Quit Block -Half Square Triangles

Some of my favorites are the Ohio Star block, Flock of Geese block, and Pinwheel blocks. The half square triangles that are created can be put together to form these larger blocks, then these blocks can be put together to create pillows, blankets, ponchos, the possibilities are only limited by imagination.

Embossing Crochet in the Kitchen

Playing in the kitchen can be fun and I have found ways to bring crochet into the mix. Crochet in the kitchen is not a new thing. I have crochet potholders and trivets, crochet dishtowels hanging from my stove door, some crochet dish cloths, and even crochet handle covers for cast iron pans. However, I have started embossing crochet in my baking.

I made a personal challenge to work my way through a Swedish book on baking this last year, and can say with tasty results. Starting my morning with a cup of hot tea or coffee and a couple of butter cookies have become part of the results.

Embossing Crochet Cookies

Embossing Crochet Butter Cookies

I have played with a couple of butter cookie recipes and found some quick, simple, short cuts that have made these my new go-to snacks. When I start rolling out my cookies, and they are ready to cut, I place a crochet doily over the top of the dough and work my rolling pin over it. This embosses the doily pattern into the fabric. I then take a pizza cutter and cut the dough in squares and bake.

I get to enjoy the doily design with my coffee in the morning. They look like I spent time and effort on them, and when really they are my simple pleasures.

Want to try them for yourself?

Emboss Crochet Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 ¾ cups flour

Preheat oven to 400°. Place all ingredients in food processor and turn on. Mix for about a minute, or until dough looks like sand, but when pressed sticks together. if it does not seem to come together well, add a little water about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until it forms a dough.

Pour dough into a bowl or onto plastic wrap and form dough into a flat ball. Place in the refrigerator to chill, at least 10 minutes up to overnight.

Time to roll

Roll dough out to desired thickness (usually between ¼- ½ inches). Place clean doily over dough (you can also place a piece of plastic wrap between dough and doily, but keep it loose). Roll impression of doily into dough. Note: often you kitchen lighting does not show the texture very well, so get down to eye level to get a better look.

Rolling out embossing crochet cookies

Chilling helps embossing crochet

Cut dough into 2 inch squares (or desired shapes), and place on baking sheet (since the cookies do not spear, you can place many on the tray, close together). I usually get a few dozen squares. For best embossing, place cookies in refrigerator for 10 minutes to re-chill. Bake for 8-10 minutes. It may appear that the embossing is not as detailed, but let the cookies cool and the impression will become more visible.

You can use the same technique with any crochet pattern, on any rolled dough. However a cold dough helps keep the embossed image best. Image your next pie with a lace embossed top…it is definitely on my list to try.