August 24, 2017

Scandinavian Summer Trivet

You may have forgotten, but "The Craft Lizard" is not a knitting blog, or even a hat pattern blog. It's a craft blog. So I am happy to share something more unique from me -- a crocheted item!

I first learned to knit, teaching myself how to single and/or double crochet a couple years later. But crocheting never took -- with every attempt to whip up some crocheted fabric, I could never keep the number of stitches in each row constant. Following a few more sporadic attempts, I quit crocheting and focused on knitting. In middle school, when I organized a group of local retirement home folks to make hats for preemies at the local hospital, several of the ladies crocheted their baby hats (thank goodness they could figure it out themselves because there's no way I could help them). After the group disbanded, a couple ladies gave me their crochet hooks, figuring they were done with the project, and these hooks proceeded to collect dust in my knitting needle caddie for years.

Ever since my SITW hat project ended in January, I've been feeling fairly uninspired in the knitting realm. It's total first-world problem; I'm not fishing for any pity. Over the last few years, I've knitted a lot: seven sweaters, about 20 hats, a couple scarves, socks, and more. My personal stash of knitwear is at capacity--I literally can't store/regularly wear another sweater--and almost all of my close friends have something in their closet that I made them. I'd poured over Ravelry's selection of free patterns so many times that I could no longer find projects that were both challenging and aesthetically interesting. I needed to restructure my knitting by focusing on bigger and more challenging projects to reduce my overall output, or just continue making quick-ish projects for charity.

I thought learning to crochet could rejuvenate my excitement for the tactile productivity of crafting. So, one spring afternoon when I had plenty of other things to do, my fingers were itching for some needlework and I whipped out some scrap yarn, a hook, and pulled up the wonderful black hole that is the YouTube craft tutorial section. Only an hour into a stream of stitch tutorials, it took--ten years prior, I had struggled profoundly, this time around it was easy peasy. I made a few granny square swatches, but didn't start any formal projects.

This summer, I was lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. While generally engrossed in my urban sustainability coursework and travel, I didn't want to miss out on the inspiring and prolific knitting world of Scandinavia. I insisted on visiting a yarn store when in Bergen, Norway to see all of Drops' yarn in full glory, and finally visited a Copenhagen yarn store to see Ístex yarn and purchase some Danish yarn as a gift to myself. It turns out summer is the off-season (shocker!) and knitting fades to obscurity when it is nice enough to go outside and soak in some rays.

Nevertheless, I can't go a whole summer without yarn! I stopped in Søstrene Grene, a household goods store on Strøget, the famous walking street in Copenhagen, and picked out some teensy skeins of cotton yarn. I was originally thinking of making some softies, and nearly finished crocheting up a pumpkin, but ehh, I wasn't feeling it. It turns out I can go most of a summer without making anything...

A few weeks later, as I was bored, procrastinating, and subsequently, browsing through Ravelry as you do, I stumbled across this crocheted Drops doily/potholder/coaster/trivet thing. I hoped it could be a housewarming souvenir for my parents if I could make the whole thing on the plane--surely a 10 hour flight is sufficient to whip it all up?!

Almost. Between getting distracted by my first clear, day-time view of Greenland (above) and not wanting to crochet for six hours straight, I managed to complete the orange top layer and over half of the teal backing. The rest was completed in the backseat of the car on the way to a family camping trip a few days later (classic). 

All told, the pattern was a perfect skill-builder for my beginner crochet level, more more advanced crafting level considering my knitting background. I do have a critique for the pattern though: the teal backing did not sufficiently increase at the end, and by maintaining the same number of stitches for too long, it puckers a bit when connected to the top orange layer. Definitely annoying for aesthetic reasons, but doesn't deter functionality.

A pleasure to crochet! Find this project entry on Ravelry.

Happy Crafting!!