BY HAND

Switching to crochet for the summer months

Posted May 21, 2013, at 11 a.m.

I’m on a crocheting kick. This has been going on for a few weeks. It came about as the weather began to get warmer and I found myself staring with something akin to loathing at the Harris tweed sweater I have been working on all winter — with very little progress to report.

It was that not-really-winter-not-truly-spring time of year when I was pretty sure I didn’t have another pair of knit socks or mittens in me, let alone a sweater.

That’s when I reached for balls of cotton yarn and started pawing through my crochet hooks. I knew I was yearning for projects I could finish in several evenings, instead of things that would consume months of what little leisure time I have each week.

What pushed me over the edge was when a copy of “Crochet One Skein Wonders” found its way to my desk, and I discovered it contained 101 projects. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with a few. Next thing I knew, I was contemplating the joy of crocheting hair scrunchies by the dozen — though, I have to say, I put the kibosh on that impulse in a hurry. And because of the book, reverted to lightweight wool yarn — long enough to crochet a Mobius scarf edged with lacy scallops.

The other thing that shoved me toward crochet was when a colleague shared with me a big bag of needlework patterns — mostly embroidery, but some for crochet — that an elderly member of her family had collected for years. Many of the patterns had been ordered through the Bangor Daily News in years past. She said if I found anything I liked, to help myself.

Well, yeah, I found plenty I liked, but once again, I let sanity reign, so I selected only one and returned the rest.

I selected a design for pillowslip lace I remember my grandmother Hamlin crocheting in the 50s. It looks like tiny fans strung together. My grandmother used white No. 20 or 30 crochet cotton and a No. 10 crochet hook to make the lace, resulting in a delicate strip. I used bedspread cotton in ombre shades of blue and a No. 7 hook, which resulted in a more robust kind of lace.

What I like about the pattern, besides its classic beauty, is that it can be memorized easily. I worked on it one evening when I was watching a program about a traditional hula competition in Hilo, Hawaii. Now I will forever associate the beauty of that dance and the music that supports it with the pillowslip edging I made.

I also have a yen to crochet stars — I have no idea why. Fortunately I have a few patterns for crocheted stars stashed away. It might be fun to sew those stars — done in bright colors and of various sizes — onto satin cord, or add a metal jump loop to one star and thread it on a chain to wear as a necklace. I’ve also thought of hand stitching stars to towels as a shower gift for a bride. Or how about a scatter of stars sewn randomly to a table runner?

For now, the wool yarn and knitting is going to take a backseat while cotton thread and crocheting take center stage.

I’d be happy to share the crocheted pillowslip lace pattern with readers. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Ardeana Hamlin, By Hand, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor ME 04402, and I’ll send you the pattern.

Snippets

Bangor Patawa Club members report they have spent many hours knitting hats and blankets for preemies and newborns. Recently, members donated 261 hats and four blankets to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com. Don’t forget to visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.

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