Yarn Mania

A Very Merry Granny-Square Afghan

This afghan isn’t explicitly Christmas-themed, but the color is so cheery that it certainly captures the spirit of the season.

It’s one of my rescue afghans, found long ago. I have no idea who made it, but it’s definitely handmade and the workmanship (womanship, more likely) is exquisite.

As you can see, it’s all one color–a gorgeous shade of red–rather than the patchwork multicolor effect that suggests the crocheter was using up odds and ends of yarn. But the fact that it’s all one color puts the focus on the lovely texture created by the granny-square pattern.

It’s not too large. Each square is 3″ by 3″ and the whole thing is 27″ by 51″–almost more the shape and size of a shawl than a lap rug or blanket.

Here it is on another chair, waiting for someone to cuddle up under it, cat pillow included.

Happy Holidays to all!

PeggyA Very Merry Granny-Square Afghan
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Not Edible, but . . .

It’s hard to imagine a holiday for which no one has devised a yarn-based craft project. I came across this wonderful Thanksgiving turkey while browsing at a recent estate sale.

The rendering of the turkey’s distinctive plumage is quite detailed. Here’s a closeup of the wing.

And here’s the head, complete with beak and wattle.

He even has feet.

Here’s another view.

And here’s a clue as to how he was made, possibly from a kit.

This is the bottom. You can see the underside of his feet. The technique seems basically like needlepoint, with a more rigid base, plastic, rather than fabric. The pieces–wings etc.–are probably cut to size, or come that way in the kit. Then after the needlepoint is done, they are assembled into the finished creature.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

PeggyNot Edible, but . . .
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Crocheted Halloween Door Wreath

It’s amazing what you can do with imagination, yarn, and a crochet hook!

Ready for his closeup.

Almost good enough to eat.

Welcome, trick-or-treaters!

Enjoy the season, everybody!

PeggyCrocheted Halloween Door Wreath
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Almost Good Enough To Eat

Knit and Nibble combined! How could I resist these?  Cupcakes? Or ice cream in paper cups? No matter–they looked very tasty.

The loops on top suggest they were created as Christmas tree decorations, but with their evocation of summery pleasures like picnics and trips to.the ice cream shop, they seemed perfect for an August Yarn Mania post.

They even came in various flavors. Here’s strawberry? Or perhaps cherry?

Pistachio? Mint? The bugle beads make convincing sprinkles and the sequins add a touch of glamour.

Lemon sherbet? With a cherry on top? But then what are the green things on top of the strawberry ones?

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

PeggyAlmost Good Enough To Eat
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So Sweet–Woven-Square Baby Blanket

This is a garage-sale find from long ago. You can see that, befitting a baby blanket, the colors are soft pastels: pink and blue accented with pale yellow. Since it surely dates from an era before parents could know before a baby’s birth whether they would be welcoming a girl or a boy, the creator of this blanket seemingly wanted to allow for either possibility.

Recently I looked at it more closely and realized that it uses the same woven-square technique as the interesting vintage find I posted about in February of 2018, a woven-square blanket with squares of salmon-pink and two shades of green. In response to that post I received a most informative email from Barbara Minerd, a retired professor of visual communication. She confirmed that, as I had suspected, the squares were made individually and then sewn together, and she said they likely were created using the ‘Weave-It’ loom made by Hero Manufacturing Co., Inc., in Middleboro, Massachusetts.

Modern versions of these weaving kits–plastic, of course–are available from craft and hobby shops like Michaels, but vintage versions, including the authentic ‘Weave-It,’ can be found on Etsy and eBay.

The squares in the baby blanket are exactly the same size as the ones in the salmon-pink and green blanket, 3″ by 3″, but the creator of the baby blanket has added a bit of complexity. Some of the squares have plaid effect, the result of varying the colors of the warp and weft strands.

And some introduce an interesting surface pattern of nubs created by passing the weft strand over more than one warp strand at once.

The edges of the blanket are plain yellow, alternating smooth squares with the nubby pattern. Here’s a smooth square.

And here’s a nubby square.

Just to make things interesting, the corner squares are plaid.

The seams that join the squares together are more conspicuous on the reverse side.

Here’s another view of the blanket.

PeggySo Sweet–Woven-Square Baby Blanket
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Ready for the Easter Parade

I found this charming crocheted Easter bonnet at an estate sale. There was much other evidence too that the house’s occupant had been a devoted crafter.

The crochet technique is used very cleverly on the brim.

It’s hard to tell the scale here, but it is sized as if to fit a doll. It would not fit very securely on the wearer’s head however. Here is the underside.

It makes a very handy pincushion though–perhaps even for hatpins.

PeggyReady for the Easter Parade
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Crocheted Elephant Hand Puppet

I found this crocheted elephant hand puppet at an estate sale a few months ago. The color is realistic (sort of) and he has so much personality!

Here he is at rest.

The back of the head was created using the basic “crochet a circle” technique.

The ear = crochet an oval.

A foot, with embroidered toenails.

And such a nice smile!

PeggyCrocheted Elephant Hand Puppet
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Hand-Knit Christmas Tree Ornaments

My sister Heidi made these knitted Christmas tree ornaments for my mother. My mother is gone now and the ornaments have come to me.


Each one is different, but they all use various Nordic designs–and some have a special holiday touch of sparkle.

Here’s a reindeer.

A stylized snowflake.

And a sweet little bird.

Heidi described the process of creating the balls as “like knitting a sock–four needles. You start with a very few stitches and increase, then decrease again.” The technique used to create the designs is often called Fair Isle knitting or stranded colorwork knitting. The key thing is that the color not in use is carried across the back. Heidi’s pattern for the yarn balls came from Arne & Carlos, Norwegian craftspeople and designers. Their website includes an online shop offering many, many wonderful patterns, for sweaters, toys–all sorts of things, most involving Nordic designs. They also post on YouTube and have a very entertaining blog.

Here’s a closeup of the bottom of one so you can see the increasing happening.

And here’s a closeup of the top.

They don’t have to go on a tree.

Or . . .

Happy Holidays to All!

PeggyHand-Knit Christmas Tree Ornaments
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Chihuahua-Sized Dog Sweater

I found this wonderful creation in a bin of miscellaneous objects at an estate sale. I love anything made with variegated yarn, so the eye-catching colors were what first attracted me.

When I picked it up and examined it, I realized it had to be some sort of garment, with arm-holes and a button-up front, and it had been lovingly crocheted–perhaps for cat. Naturally I had to buy it!

As I was settling up with the person running the sale, I commented on what a curious and fun treasure I had found and suggested it might be for a cat. No, he said. The woman who owned the house had been a chihuahua lover–“teacup chihuahuas,” the really tiny ones, and had owned two of them. I guess the rest of their wardrobes moved with them. Perhaps this garment was too gaudy for their tastes.

PeggyChihuahua-Sized Dog Sweater
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A Blast from the Past: 1970s Granny-Square Afghan

It seems odd to be writing about something as cozy as an afghan with temperatures here in northern New Jersey hovering in the 80s and 90s, but anyway . . .

My mother found this afghan in a thrift shop and gave it to me because of my fondness for granny squares. I don’t know if it’s really from the 1970s, but the color scheme certainly brings that era to mind. The browns and greens so popular then were a holdover from the 1960s back-to-nature vibe–or a reaction against some of the psychedelic color schemes of the previous decade? And since it had been 20 years since the 1950s, turquoise and peach had cycled back into favor.

I lived through the 1970s and I recall being drawn to homey arts and crafts, and music like bluegrass, which seemed comforting perhaps–given what was going on in the world at large (not that things are any calmer at the moment). I also recall making several granny-square projects, but nothing as ambitious as an afghan.

When my husband and I bought our house in 1979, the living room was painted avocado green and the dining room was harvest gold. We were horrified and reacted by painting everything white–never mind that several decades later our living room walls are peach!

Here are close-ups of some of the squares, which are much larger than the ones that make up the afghans I’ve featured in other blog posts. Granny squares can actually go on and on. You could make a whole afghan that was one giant granny square since they’re constructed from the center outward.

Here we have orange and rust and two shades of green–plus harvest gold.

Here’s another one . . . green and more harvest gold, and peach in the center.

And another one . . . a different shade of brown, and tan, and peach and turquoise!

Not sure what happened here–multicolored ombre yarn perhaps? No other squares are like this.

I like the design of this afghan too. The stripe livens things up.

Here’s a fun website that shows lots of typical 1970s color schemes.

PeggyA Blast from the Past: 1970s Granny-Square Afghan
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