Wednesday, November 2, 2011


200 Crotchet Blocks for blankets, throws and afghans by Jan Eaton

On a beautiful spring day about 5 ½ years ago I walked into Stitch Therapy in Park Slope Brooklyn – the yarns in the window were beautiful and the store’s name called out to me. I have always appreciated handmade crafts and my home is filled with handblown glass and ceramic objects, art and textiles. Perhaps I was ready to try my hand. The store's owner, Maxcine encouraged me to begin.

In the store I was drawn to the Interweave Crochet magazine.  As I thumbed through the magazine I came upon a photo of a young girl wrapped in a fabulous afghan the Babette Blanket.  I bought the magazine and starting thinking. The afghan had an intricate pattern that required 17 different colors and 150 different sized squares. Since I don’t like to follow instructions I decided to choose my own colors. Little did I know that the pattern called for a sport/sock weight yarn and I chose bulky Manos de Uruguay yarns. I started crocheting and my afghan grew and became a bedspread for my daughter to take to college!!  After that I learned more about yarn – the different weights and textures.
Touching the yarn, choosing colors and textures, and watching them weave together to make beautiful afghans was so much fun that I made many more Babette Blankets and happily gave them as gifts. Before I started each blanket I determined the color wave and then shopped for yarn. During my visits to Stitch Therapy I chose yarn for their color and weight, and sought out yarns that would add texture to my life. Maxcine always carried great options.
I started weaving, and stopped crocheting for awhile.  Again, watching the colors and textures of yarn create patterns and fabrics was thrilling.

Six months ago I got itchy to crochet again.  I needed a new project and new direction. I sat with the book 200 Crotchet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans by Jan Eaton and decided to design my own afghan using 5-6 different square patterns and focusing of a color wave. My quest for yarns began. 

My first project would be colors that I adore - fuscia, chartreuse and purple. On my travels to Stitch Therapy I’d pick up both solid and variegated yarns within the basic colorwave. The variegated yarns that I chose turned out to be my favorites and I bought every color by a very special manufacturer that Stitch Therapy stocked.  I’d also look for unusual textures to add to the depth of the project. Many of the yarns were DK or sock weight.  I created a pattern starting from the middle and working rounds with a common theme – the centers and edges would all be the same color. What tied the rows together was that the same yarns were used (but in different orders) inside the square. As the afghan grew I was mesmerized by its beauty and very proud that I could make such a wonderful work of art.

I was then on a roll.  It was so much fun working with sock weight yarn, and the afghans felt so soft and light, that weight became my medium. Onward to my next project – pinks, oranges and purple.  Then blues, greens and purples. Always, I insert a few different colors that pop out to add interest and fun.

What these projects give me is a chance to play with colors - connect them and have them speak in different ways. They also enable me to have a quest – finding new and unusual yarn. Before I travel I look online for the local yarn stores and poke around because surely other communities have a fiber artist's treasure trove just like we have in Brooklyn.

I have now come full circle. Maxcine has asked me to facilitate a crocheting circle next year to work with crotchers to explore their creative side, by creating and designing projects using patterns and yarns of their choice.  What fun! 

Crochet Motif workshop led by Evy Leonard January 21th 1:30-4:30pm - call to reserve a space.