Now that the turkey has been eaten – roast turkey, turkey à la king, turkey curry and, finally, turkey soup – I’ve been reflecting on my pre-Christmas crafting. This is always the busiest time of year creatively speaking, with presents to be made for family members and other “knitworthy” people. (I use knitworthy here to mean craftingworthy in general.)
I made and gave:
four bags for washing/storing lingerie, hosiery and the like – stocking fillers for adult females;
two knitted hats, including this bright yellow one for a sister-in-law, the other for a brother-in-law;
a fun bookmark to go in a brother’s gift book;
a warm jacket for the youngest family member;
two zipped pouches for teenage girls to use for make-up, pencils, jewellery or whatever;
and two mobile phone / sunglasses cases like these, for twenty-something females.
Fortunately, there aren’t many teenage or twenty-something males in the family, they’re much harder to make for in my experience. In fact, men in general are tricky, unless they say something obvious like, “I’d really like a pair of thick socks for my wellies”, or “I could do with a balaclava to wear on my motorbike.” But mostly, men are as bad at dropping hints as they are at picking up on hints dropped by others. However, one of my nephews has taken up leatherwork this year and has given his father, brothers and uncles beautifully made watch straps and wallets which were well received. His creations put my modest leatherworking efforts to shame. Must try harder in 2019.
Long car journeys to visit relatives up and down the country have given me plenty of crocheting time and I’ve finished the first tray cloth. It’s still pinned to the blocking mat and I have yet to finish off all the ends.
The granny squares seem a bit skew, which may be a result of their sizes varying while I was recovering my crochet mojo and establishing a tension I could maintain. I’m currently working on the second one and hoping that it will be more even.
I originally thought that I’d have to sew all the squares together, but I don’t remember my grandma ever sewing individual motifs to each other, she didn’t much like sewing at all. A few minutes’ searching online revealed numerous ways of joining granny squares by crocheting, and I settled on this flat braid join-as-you-go method because I don’t want any bulky ridges in my tray cloth. In fact, Bella Coco’s YouTube channel has lots of excellent crocheting videos for anyone who uses the UK terminology.
More by luck than design, using the flat braid to join the six individual squares produced a rectangle that was too short for the tray by the same amount in each direction – ie 3” too narrow and 3” too tall. Which was perfect, because that meant that all I had to do was work the granny square stitch around the edge until I had a tray cloth of the right size. But it did look a little unfinished, so I added a simple border of chains and double crochets (US: single crochets).
When the crocheting bug next bites, I fancy making myself a summer handbag, maybe in a shell stitch. It will need to be in a hardwearing yarn and, ideally, washable. I’ll look out for synthetic raffia or perhaps an inexpensive nylon cord.