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Make Afghans...Not War!

Updated on March 27, 2013

There are Patchwork Quilts... and then there are Granny Square Rugs

And these crochet and knit creations are my version of patchwork creations.

The first of my patchworking problems is that I just cannot visualise patterns or even several materials together.

And then I can't imagine a pattern with these several materials.

And then I hate measuring all the miserable little bits and pieces - and I hate all those bits and pieces, anyway - cut them up, sew them back together again - huh?

And then I can't cut a straight line to save my soul.

And then I hate what feels like restrictions on my creativity. I know, I know, patchwork quilters are incredibly creative - but it's just not me, or my type creativity.

And then I hate sewing on my sewing machine - I can even go crooked and dog-leggish there as well!

AND the end result of all of this? Sewing makes me feel such a drip and a geek and a useless failure - and I mean, who needs that?

WHEREAS - when I knit or crochet or bead - my fingers fly and have quite a task to keep up with my imagination, which now is FREE and knows no bounds! Experimentation becomes my middle name, as I explore crochet books, (in this case, particularly afghan crochet patterns), click those needles and unwind those balls of yarn.

I find endless benefits to using afghan patterns - learning sizes for knee rugs, or throws, or bedspread sizes is handy. Another was learning basic stitches and patterns, and then playing with them to create a patchwork appearance. And then the satisfaction of getting to use up all those little leftover bits and pieces of yarn (not to mention the justification for having kept them in the first place).

And boredom is not an option because every square is different in pattern or material or colour. For me it's all such fun - and creating the squares that make up the rug or afghan or throw, move along at a cracking pace. That's probably because they're small enough to take and do anywhere, and then the challenge of laying them all out on the floor at home and playing with combinations until a satisfactory and pleasing combination is found.

Next step is to crochet around the outside of every square - I usually like two rows of 'V' crochets. Then the squares are pinned together in long single strips (using large safety pins, just like a regular patchwork quilter) and pin a number on each strip to keep them in the order I liked as they lay on the floor. Then all the squares of a single strip are joined together, all strips pinned together and joined as well. All that's left then is to crochet right around the outside in my choice of edging. I'm weary just thinking about it all. Only joking... you can see by the number of my creations how much I love making these crochet rugs.

One of the top benefits is that I have a growing rug draped over me as I work - just luverly in Winter.

The only thing better is writing - and see, I'm doing that as well - as we speak, or read, or whatever.

So I finally Win a Raffle

...and guess what?

It's a crocheted knee rug.

I couldn't win the first prize of groceries for a year, or the second prize of a trailer-load of wood for our fire. No, I won the third prize of a crocheted rug.

Mind you, it is beautiful - look, it's the one in the next pictures. And I have the greatest respect for the lady who made it - and her prowess behind a crochet hook. I think her crochet rug patterns, like many of mine, come from many years ago - and often, from the dark recesses of our minds, wherein many oddities lurk. (well, they do in mine, anyway)

But I needed another rug or afghan or throw like a knot in my knitting.

Despite all this, it hangs on the back of the chair nearest the fire, and is a perfect match to the two wall colours and the wallpaper frieze that runs along the wall just above this lovely crochet rug. Did I mention it's so welcome there when you get up in the middle of the night and find you need to put another log on the fire, and then you have to wait a little for it to fire up again, and it's cold in your bare feet and your PJs or nightie? Put simply, it's supercalifragilisticexpialadocious. Now, that, my dears (as Mary Poppins may well have said) is the proper spelling (and this granny wrote it from memory, and only had one letter wrong...owzat?)

So, next time you win or inherit a handmade rug - just bite the bullet (or chew on a corner) - and consider that some dear old thing, possibly crippled with arthritis and near blind with her failing vision, probably gave her all for you to have a little warmth and comfort. But don't give it a second thought! I'm serious (...ly chuckling!)

The Knee Rug I won

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Isn't it a lovely piece of crocheting?SO even.
Isn't it a lovely piece of crocheting?
Isn't it a lovely piece of crocheting?
SO even.
SO even.

Then there's the rug much-beloved by two loveable ladies

....Mum and me! (Modest, too)

I knitted this mohair rug for my Mum for her warmth and comfort in her later years. She loved to put it over her knees when watching TV - or over the end of her bed to keep her toes toasty warm. Easy to pull up right over the bed if the night proved more chilly than expected.

It was so amazingly light - such a blessing when she was in pain and hated the heavy bedclothes they put over her in hospital - often piling on more and more to warm her, when such a light rug could do the same job.

My Mum died in my arms with this rug laying over her. Maybe some would see it as morbid that it is always on the back of my Lounge chair. I don't. I just love to be able to turn my head and lean my face against it...and remember....and dream of days we shared.

Mum's rug - ...inherited some years ago

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My Mum's rug, on my chair - nice to snuggle with...and remember.Look at the stitches up close - ahh - it was such a labour of love.So warm and comfy cosy to pull around you if you should nod off.
My Mum's rug, on my chair - nice to snuggle with...and remember.
My Mum's rug, on my chair - nice to snuggle with...and remember.
Look at the stitches up close - ahh - it was such a labour of love.
Look at the stitches up close - ahh - it was such a labour of love.
So warm and comfy cosy to pull around you if you should nod off.
So warm and comfy cosy to pull around you if you should nod off.

INSOMNIACS

need daytime sleep.

How lovely when your hair is the right colour to officially indulge in a Nana-nap in the afternoon.

Otherwise you need to be Mexican (maybe Spanish or Italian, also) - to be entitled to a Siesta after lunch.

Purple for a Nana-Nap? - ...well, it works for Purple Stars, doesn't it?

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Ready for a Nana-nap.  Where is she?Why I need a nana-nap.In the Sun, the N-n rug looks entirely different
Ready for a Nana-nap.  Where is she?
Ready for a Nana-nap. Where is she?
Why I need a nana-nap.
Why I need a nana-nap.
In the Sun, the N-n rug looks entirely different
In the Sun, the N-n rug looks entirely different

And Somewhere along Life's Path

....I thought -

Wouldn't I have loved to have inherited a rug that one of my Grandmothers had made? And what if that would have been a baby rug?

And my thoughts progressed to my grand-daughter, who had only just become a school girl at the time.

And I thought, why not make such a rug for her, for her baby one day far in the future? And hubby said, "Don't be ridiculous, she's just a little girl". But as usual, I took no notice and went checking out my trusty rug patterns once again - this time looking for something appropriate for a baby afghan. And as happens more often than not, I thought about doing yet another variation on my crocheted patchwork quilt look-alike.

It made a beautiful baby rug, don't you agree? I figure it this way - I would be highly unlikely to be here when she is a mother - and if I were, who knows what I would be capable of making then?

So, once again I couldn't resist taking up the challenge that accompanies my 'Wolf-Eyes' picture -

"IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?".

Luckily, it was a moment in time when I had a little space to undertake this project - and you can see, it is a 'baby' version of those crocheted rugs I have found I particularly love to make.

My Grand-daughter knows nothing of this creation, but I hope one day she will love it - a true birthright, this particular creation.

If she doesn't, I'll sneak back and haunt her!

The Baby Rug - ...for my great 'grandie'...someday.

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The Baby rug just hanging aroundThe Baby rug just laying downClose up and Personal...oneClose up and Personal...two
The Baby rug just hanging around
The Baby rug just hanging around
The Baby rug just laying down
The Baby rug just laying down
Close up and Personal...one
Close up and Personal...one
Close up and Personal...two
Close up and Personal...two

I looked at another Pattern Book

....and amazingly, got 'hooked'

I love messing with patterns, especially using them in different and unusual ways, so when I found one book with a myriad of knitting patterns, and another with crochet - I just had to have them - and play with these inspirations. Both books also have clear instructions on how to knit and how to crochet, detailing all the different stitches used.

I was thrilled out of my tiny brain when I found these two pattern books because, once upon a time, I borrowed an extremely old pattern book from my local Library so many times I really think they should have taken pity on me and graciously donated it to me. But oh no, the Library is run by the Council, so of course it was sold one day when they were getting rid of a heap of unwanted books. They do this quite regularly...but did they have to sell this on a day I didn't go to the Library? Well yes, apparently. Can you imagine my devastation and grief when I learned it was lost to me forever? It took some years to find these two 'new kids on the block', but it mattered not - I have the patience of Job when it comes to crucial issues like this. (Job?? Go read your Bible)

This crochet rug and many others that followed can be blamed almost equally on these two books. I personally absolve myself of all blame, claiming intolerable temptation above and beyond human endurance. I think I'd better go check if Amazon have them in stock, and I'll give you your own chance to be enlightened, educated and entertained...simultaneously. Otherwise, you could look at my lens My Crafty Journey...One Stitch at a Time wherein I photographed my pair so you can see what's been missing from your life.

Well-ll-ll, that's yet another of my stories...and I'm sticking to all of them!

Beautiful - framed in Blue - and a rainbow of other colours and patterns, too.

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Blue-framed Knitted Patchwork RugLots of woolly left-overs used up here....and it was fun to see familiar yarns, here, there and everywhere.
Blue-framed Knitted Patchwork Rug
Blue-framed Knitted Patchwork Rug
Lots of woolly left-overs used up here
Lots of woolly left-overs used up here
....and it was fun to see familiar yarns, here, there and everywhere.
....and it was fun to see familiar yarns, here, there and everywhere.

Pretty in Pink framing, too.

I love the variations of tones of this variegated pastel blue, pink, lavender and lemon yarn.

This yarn lent itself to so many pattern variations as well. Once again, delving into my book of countless knitting patterns, I pored over photos of a knitted square, and then how many stitches it required to repeat the pattern. Then it was just a matter of finding a number of patterns that were divisible by the number I chose. I don't think any of the Afghan pattern books I've seen utilise knitting in quite this way. Hmm-m...maybe rich and famous ARE still just around the corner!

I just loved the Dusty Pink yarn I used for the framing - in this case three rows of crocheting around each square, then a major sew up of all the squares, and finally, another row of crochet around the entire outside of the rug.

In the Pink....photos

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It's Hard to Believe

...but there have been more rugs

Sorry - no photos. I can't tell you how many rugs/Afghans/lap rugs/comforters/etc. (whatever you call them in your neck of the woods), that I have made. How lucky I have been to be able to knit rugs, and crochet rugs, and combine both to make truly unique items.

A few have gone overseas as presents to family far away. A heap of baby-type afghans went to some of our family when we chose to adopt older kids. Quite a few rugs or throws have been donated to flood and fire victims from Australia in latter years, some to a newly arrived African family in our district, and some to overseas children's charities in Cambodia and Africa.

I see it this way...my grand-daughter will never go hungry or be cold or homeless - so, my Karma says "Just do it - you'll be glad" (or something similar) - and I'm a believer - what can I tell you? And who knows, any one of my creations just might become yet another heirloom for someone, somewhere. Maybe.

The Norwood Rug

...means what?

Well, here in South Australia, one of the original Aussie Rules football teams was the Norwood Football Club - started in 1878, and still alive and kicking after all these years.

When my husband, Kanute, arrived in South Australia from Denmark with his family, as an immigrant, the family were given an opportunity to purchase a home in the Norwood area. Consequently, this became his 'footy team' - a traditional approach to the complex business of becoming a 'True Blue Aussie' in the 1950/s.

The traditional colours of the Norwood Cub are Red and Dark Blue - but if all the other teams today can mess with tradition - I decided I could too. And so I had some black wool I needed to use up - and weakened finances of the time dictated that I make hubby his birthday present, and the 'almost' Norwood lap rug was created.

As you can see, it's a little blacker than dark blue, but that's the breaks!

He has loved his crochet afghan - especially when arthritic days dominate, and the cold winds blow.

It was a good present.

The Norwood Rug...in Living Colour

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The nearly Norwood rug...but isn't it bright and beautiful?...and up close and personal
The nearly Norwood rug...but isn't it bright and beautiful?
The nearly Norwood rug...but isn't it bright and beautiful?
...and up close and personal
...and up close and personal

Ahh-hh-h...Look at this one - ...one of my proudest moments!

Blue and Cream Bedspread
Blue and Cream Bedspread

I can't say I saw the 'BIG picture', or even the 'bottom line' as I began this one.

BUT...I do remember a sense of excitement and anticipation; a stirring or the creative crochet mindset that turns the mundane into a masterpiece.

And then I checked out this gorgeous sort of 'star-burst' pattern.

I must give credit where it's due - actually far above us, in the Great Unknown. A good friend, an older neighbour, had done a 'learn to crochet' course some years before I knew her, and had a collection of actual crocheted examples, each pinned with typed patterns. This is one of them. Thank you, Mary.

Isn't it effective in the varying tones? This is a double bedspread size - and I was thrilled by the frill I learnt to crochet all around the edges - another adaptation along my stitch by stitch Life experience.

Some People Call Crocheters

HAPPY HOOKERS

...well-ll-ll...

Can't Believe your Eyes? - ...feel free to look again!

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Can't help showing this Blue and Cream Beauty once again...and closer...and closer...and here's the beautiful crochet edging
Can't help showing this Blue and Cream Beauty once again
Can't help showing this Blue and Cream Beauty once again
...and closer
...and closer
...and closer
...and closer
...and here's the beautiful crochet edging
...and here's the beautiful crochet edging

Autumn comes

...and then it goes.

And such is the story of another bedspread beauty. I have no photo because I've tucked the rug safely away, all sealed up in heavy plastic to stop the murderous moth marauders, and I think it's up on the very top shelf of my floor to ceiling linen press cupboard.

This requires a ladder or standing on a chair to reach it, and I can't go there. I broke a shoulder badly a few years ago, and the legacy is an arm that can't lift higher than below shoulder level. And then there's the bit that I am an Aries (the ram), and you know they have 4 legs and I only have two, so I'm already an officially disadvantaged person. (eyes tear up and sniffles are heard)

And so, why not utilise hubby, I hear you ask? Well, mainly because when he has his trusty ladder indoors, it's to change the smoke alarm batteries; or light globe or three; or bring down a light shade for me to wash; or vacuum on top of my corner pantry cupboard where an elusive and evil spider spins its thick and intricate web which gathers dust on the sticky Kitchen-type steam and fumes that cling to the strands.

The point is, the search for my 'lost' crocheted bedspread never actually happens, after all this activity. We two are either exhausted, or have forgotten this other reason for bringing the ladder indoors in the first place. So, this all means you'll have to settle for a description of said rug, in lieu....YAWN!

It's made of large 'granny squares' in white, orange, mottled brown and white, and the squares are joined in Dark Brown crochet, and a wonderful scallopy edge in alternating Dark Brown and White around the entire outside edge, just like the blue and cream one above.

Whew! A photo would have been SO much easier!

SABLE-

A common knitting acronym that stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy."

- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,

At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

I, Personally,

Have NO Idea

What this Lady is Talking About.

Hmm-mm-m!

Mohair Squares this time - ...light and fluffy as a cloud.

BEHIND EVERY GREAT KNITTER

...is a pile of yarn!

- Someone said.

Want a pattern? - ...or just some ideas to get you enthused?

Check these out

So What do you reckon? - ....Handmade? - or save the effort and just go buy a rug?

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    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from London UK

      I love this hub because it's so sensitive. I do have a shawl my mum made and I love it. The idea that she sat and made it is a comfort to me.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I love the blue-framed knitted patchwork afghan most of all. You obviously enjoy yourself!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Handmade, of course. Wondering what ever happened to the neighborhood get-togethers. Mum used to have them all winter long at our home. We had a huge kitchen with a wood stove that kept everyone cozy-warm while they stitched on a community quilt, knit or crocheted. Those days I remember with fondness! Now it seems we are more housebound even though we have more conveniences.

      I love the way you write. I'll be back for more this lens is angel blessed, for sure!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Definitely Handmade! If one doesn't knit or crochet oneself.... there are many, many crafts people about who would be glad to 'do' one for you... LOL. Don't we crafters love creating?

      This is a super craft story, as always from you Christine, and I have added it to the Senior Squids Crafting Directory! :-).

      NOW -- go get that ladder, borrow a young person to climb for you, take down that Autumn Afghan and 'give us a picture'... ! :-)

    • Stickypony LM profile image

      Stickypony LM 5 years ago

      handmade all the way! :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I can't crochet to save my life. I feel about it like you do and sewing. Oy!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Handmade is best, for sure! Love the colours in that "almost" Norwood Rug, very cosy.

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      These are lovely! Yes, let's stop war with warmups.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Hand made. Love your lens, great crochet afghans.Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very crafty and creative indeed. Love the Afghans... Stop the War! :)

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 5 years ago

      This is a lovely piece -- SquidAngel blessings. It's funny how we're completely the opposite on this. There is both crocheting and quilting in my family history. I've dabbled in quilting: basic, but neat, little running stitches. When I was 8 - 9, a cousin tried to teach me to crochet a blanket. She did hand over hand for multiple sessions. Once I went back home and no longer had her hands guiding mine, I couldn't make a stitch, just irregular knots, each different from the one before. (It had been hard enough for me to learn to tie my shoelaces!)