Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Get back...to crochet!

'Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged...' 

Do you remember that song? I remember it because it was the first time I really noticed the Beatles; the girl next door asked me if I'd heard it. I said no and she replied, 'Well don't you watch Top of the Pops?' 'Why would I do that-Thunderbirds is on the other side' I replied, shocked really. I mean why would anyone want to listen to a song when they could follow Lady Penelope?? Anyway, I digress but the song links my memory with where I once belonged...  back in the 70s, teaching my Mum to crochet.

My Mum was an accomplished knitter -my elder sister and I grew up symmetrical in matching Fair Isle jumpers.  How she did those intricate designs I'll never know as I have never managed to be much of a knitter. I think she tried to teach me to knit but I did not have a lot of patience with it, it simply did not grow quickly enough and seemed to require a great deal of concentration.
However, Mum had never mastered crochet and criticised herself for this, since her own mother had been adept at it. Mary-Ann Evans, known as 'Polly' was born in 1876- she was a true Victorian.  Mary Ann made beautiful pieces of delicate lacy crochet.
I have some of Mary- Ann's crochet edging-the original tablecloths to which the edging was attached had deteriorated so some years ago my Mum embroidered a new piece and added the lace to it. For this Mary-Ann must have used the smallest of hooks-I can't believe how she worked such an intricate design. Aren't those roses exquisite?

Craft  crazes-they're nothing new!

 One day when I was at school in the '70s a new craft craze began- crochet!  The recent 'loom band' craze amongst the young reminded me of this - one girl teaches another and it escalates into the biggest thing since, well... '70s crochet!  I remember going off home and telling my mother I had learned how to crochet. She asked me to show her and although she had shied away from it before, she took to it like a duck to water. She unearthed Mary- Ann's old two-ended bone hook and we set to work.Scraps from her knitting bag came out, jumpers were unravelled as we made granny squares and made them up into garish blankets!  In those days colours were not planned or combined, a blanket would just be made from what you had lying around. Having been a wartime girl Mum always believed in Make Do and Mend! It was rare that we had brand new pristine balls of wool-I remember most what we used for crochet being crinkly from having already had a life as something else. She did have a weakness though for new Arran wool, which came in hanks and I can still feel my aching arms from holding them out while she wound ball after ball!
 With renewed confidence in crochet Mum went from granny squares to making wonderful lacy shawls which I wore with my maxi dresses-I alternated between a black one and a red one-they were my staple cover ups for many years and I still have them.

Shawl of memories.

Since then over the many years since, I've done various crochet projects from time to time. However,  the last real project I did was a wrap shawl which this time I made for my mother. She had been very cold and wanted something to wrap around her shoulders. When she saw a design in a new crochet book I had she remarked how lovely it looked and reminded her of the Arran wool she used to love.  We chatted about how we started crochet and the shawls she used to make.
I crocheted the shawl up for her and she loved it, keeping it on her chair and using it every day. She showed it to all her carers and visitors and it never moved from her side. When she passed away at the end of 2011 the shawl was returned to me. It lay there in the wardrobe amongst her many treasures and vintage collections.
 The months following making the shawl my Mum's health had deteriorated and I had not picked up the hook since 2011. However,  seeing so many lovely projects on crochet blogs recently got me excited about crochet again-it was time to get back!

I browsed for a new book and after ordering it looked on my craft shelf....oops I already have quite a few!
Loved the look of this one 'Hip Crochet' though -have you seen it? 

Lots of fun projects with so much colour injected. I settled on the lively 'Carnival bunting' which looked simple enough to get me back into the swing and I was entranced by the colours featured. I ordered the desired materials from Love Knitting -what a fabulous website this is-if you enjoy yarn and don't know it do take a look, I am so impressed by their fast shipping and gorgeous packaging:

Look at those yummy colours! It is Stylecraft Special DK-just acrylic but such a lovely soft yarn which works up beautifully. The colour names are wonderful- like 'Meadow green', 'Lipstick red' , 'Sunshine yellow' and 'Shrimp'! I love the way Natalie combines the colours for each pennant:

All made up...!
My Mum would probably have said 'Well I had a few left over bits you could have done that from' ! 
Now all I need to do is put it together....but I'm already on my next crochet project!

I think Mum would be so pleased I've got back to crochet. Last Winter I took out the shawl I made for her, that last project that she loved. I put it around my shoulders and was enveloped by her unique scent, that which a mother always has. I wore it down to the beach in the biting wind and whenever I felt chilly snuggled up in it. I shall not be washing it -because whenever I want to feel that Mum is still there, all I have to do is breathe in that scent and there I am-back in the 70s, teaching my Mum to crochet. 

Hope you're having a lovely week, still enjoying holidays and sunshine! We are heading off to beautiful  Wales for a family holiday, with two of the dogs.No internet so I will have to give the blogging a little rest awhile. Plenty of crochet, crafting and books to take along though!
Best wishes
Alison xx