Karen Peacock: A Crochet Story

This week we're hosting a guest post by friend and crocheter, Karen Peacock. We have been huge fans of Karen's crochet for years, and featured some of her work in Crochet Summer 2015 and 2016. She has a new pattern to share with us, as well as her personal crochet story. Enjoy! 


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It was my first crochet summer - the mid-80s, small-town Mississippi, front porch swing, swatting mosquitoes while trying to make granny squares. I can see it now – the red, white, and blue acrylic yarn, worn thin from the unraveling and reworking until I got it right. My grandmother sitting in her chair across from me, gospel music coming from her hand-held cassette player. She taught me that summer, proud to finally have a grandchild take an interest in her craft.  It felt good to make her proud.  It felt even better to see something come to life, to create, using my own two hands. That was the foundation for me, not just for crochet but for a lifetime journey with a variety of arts and crafts, which ultimately led me to become an art therapist. Even today, over thirty years later, I still feel a connection with my grandmother when I crochet, a connection with older traditions and skills passed down over generations. It’s a connection that is both simple and complex, delicate and strong, like a crochet piece itself, one that’s never quite finished, growing and expanding as I pass it from my hands to those of my own daughters, this crochet summer. 

While working as an art therapist, I started attending Squam Art Workshops each summer to further cultivate my own creativity. One of the first classes I took was Collage Crochet with Cal Patch, which reignited my interest in crochet.  I also became impressed by how passionate a lot of the Squammies were about knitting, and after a few sessions at Squam I decided to take my first knitting classes: Norwegian Cuffs with Arne and Carlos and In the Company of Cables with Karen Templer. Learning to knit inspired me to experiment with making my crochet look more like knitting (see my hashtag #icantbelieveitsnotknitted).  I enjoy having a challenging knitting project going on simultaneously with a crochet project because I like the contrast and change of pace. For me, knit and crochet skills compliment one another, so I think its safe to say I am in a mash-up “kni-chet” phase right now.  My latest output of this phase is my “boxy tee” sweater.

This sweater was born in Karen Templer’s make-along, #fringeandfriendslogalong.  It was my second make-along; the first one was #summerofbasics2017, and I enjoyed it so much that I had to join the log-along.  I was inspired by a log cabin rag rug, made with a single yarn color, that I saw in Mason Dixon Knitting, The Curious Knitters’ Guide from 2006 and the construction of a Wool and the Gang, Dot Cotton Sweater I had recently made. I chose the back loop single crochet stitch because I love its textural dimension, and I thought it would really show off the vertical and horizontal arrangement that make up the log cabin style. I chose Scout yarn by Kelbourne Woolens because I thought the heathered quality would add even more dimension to the piece. This is the perfect crochet summer project because it is made up of eight panels which can easily be toted around on vacation or to the pool, and it only uses one stitch, freeing up your mind to reflect on your own creative journey.  As I ponder mine, sitting here in the glorious Pittsburgh summer so far from the small Mississippi town where I first learned to crochet, the buzzing of my children playing in the background serves as the perfect soundtrack as I connect past to present.


Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing your story and your pattern with us! We'll be looking for Boxy Tees popping up this summer on Instagram and Ravelry, so be sure to share yours with the hashtag #crochetsummer2018.

Want a chance to win a Boxy Tee kit of your very own? Tell us YOUR crochet story in the comments! We'll choose one winner at random on Friday the 15th at 9 am EST, and announce the winner at the bottom of this post. 

Announcing the Crochet Summer, Crochet Something Contest!

It’s time for a contest!

In the true spirit of Crochet Summer, this is not a very competitive contest. It’s meant to be fun and easy going. It is summer, after all. Since there is already one Crochet Summer rule, Crochet something, anything, this summer, we’ll keep the rules of the contest in the same vein.

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THE CROCHET SUMMER CROCHET SOMETHING CONTEST!

THE CROCHET SUMMER CROCHET SOMETHING CONTEST!

This non-competitive contest is a great opportunity to spend the summer trying something new, or finally challenging yourself to make that thing you’ve always wanted to make. This feel-good contest is meant to be a fun way to gather more people to the craft of crochet.

There are six categories:

• Best Garment
• Best First Crochet Project
• Best Art/Sculptural Work
• Best Doily
• Best Home Decor (afghan, pillow, tea cozy, bathmat, etc.
• Name your own category (anything that doesn’t fit into one of the previous categories, bonus points for a funny, yet tasteful, category heading)

Each category will have one winner, with many superlative-laden runners up. EVERYONE is a winner with Crochet Summer!

RULES and GUIDELINES:

• You have until August 31st to finish your crochet entry and post it to Instagram with the hashtags #crochetsummer2018 AND #crochetsomethingcontest2018.

• You can enter as many things as you want to, in any category. Let us know in your post what category you are entering. If you don’t, we’ll decide for you.

• Keep it classy.

THE JUDGES

Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley, Kelbourne Woolens
Kelbourne Woolens is a yarn company and distributor who founded Crochet Summer in 2014. We love to crochet, but don’t do it nearly as often as we’d like. We have our own line of Kelbourne Woolens brand yarns, and are also the North American distributors of BC Garn and Navia yarns from Scandinavia.

Meghan Fernandes, PomPom Quarterly
Meghan is a former American transplant to London, where she lived for a decade. Now back in her native land, she is at the helm of Pom Pom in North America. While in London she wrote her MA dissertation on knitting in 20th century women's literature and worked for a publisher, a gallery, and a knitting shop, leaving her with a random but particular set of skills that could really only lead to running a knitting magazine. Her favourite things about running Pom Pom include photo shoots, testing out the cocktail recipes, and getting yarn in the mail.

Sara Dudek, editor, Interweave Crochet
Sara Dudek is the editor of Interweave Crochet. She grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado knitting, crocheting, and dancing. She moved away for a few years to earn her BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah, but moved back soon after. She recently graduated with her Master’s degree in apparel and textile design from Colorado State University, where she tried her best to incorporate crochet into every school project possible.

Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner, Mason Dixon Knitting
In 2003, Ann and Kay started a blog, Mason-Dixon Knitting. As daily, obsessed knitters, they “met” on the Internet and thought it would be fun to share their profound and awesome knitting thoughts with the entire world. Before long, they found themselves amid a warm, friendly, and smart community of knitters. It was all virtual—they didn’t meet in person until 2004, after they had signed a contract for our first knitting book, Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters’ Guide. Recently, they hunkered down to turn Mason-Dixon Knitting into the site we have always craved: a delicious daily read for every knitter. You can find them online at masondixonknitting.com.

THE PRIZES

Best Garment
A full set of Pompom Quarterly and some fun PPQ merchandise. 

Best First Crochet Project
A set of Brittany birch wood crochet hooks (sizes D-J) and a Soak travel sized assorted 5-pack. This set includes 1 each of the popular Soak scents Celebration, Fig, Lacey, Pineapple Grove and Yuzu.

Best Art/Sculptural Work
Hibiscus Moon Crochet Shawl kit from Knit Collage.

Best Doily
A year subscription to Interweave Crochet.

Best Home Decor
A full set of Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guides and the Station Wagon Blanket Kit

Name your own category
A BoxyTee (coming soon...) Kit featuring Scout and a limited edition KW Boat Bag from yours truly, Kelbourne Woolens.


We hope you'll join us this summer for a little friendly crochet competition! Don't forget to tag your images #crochetsummer2018 AND #crochetsomethingcontest2018.

We're Kicking Off Crochet Summer 2018!

Time to get out your hooks!

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What is Crochet Summer? It is our way of showing a little love to our sister craft in the summer months when it sometimes feels a little harder to get the yarn out. Also, crochet can be a bit more conducive to working with yarns made from plant fibers, which we all know are perfect for summer crafting.

There is only ONE RULE of Crochet Summer:

1. Crochet something, anything, this summer.

Now look, I know that summer technically begins on the solstice, June 21st, and ends on the equinox, September 21st. BUT, Crochet Summer is my game and I get to make the rules, so Crochet Summer begins TODAY June 1st, and ends on August 31st.

We have some exciting crochet-themed blog content to share this summer, as well as a new crochet contest with very, very flexible “rules,” so get ready to play along. It’s easy to do! Stay tuned next week for contest details.

Post your Crochet Summer projects and progress on Instagram using the hashtag #crochetsummer2018. Check out previous IG years for inspiration: 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

We can’t wait to see what you crochet this summer!