Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crochet Projects for the Summer - by Pam Talpers


Needlework, specifically, crocheting and knitting, are often thought of as just cool-weather activities. Frequently these crafts are used to create warm cozy garments in which to bundle oneself. Warmth-promoting fibers, such as wool are often used. However, the first documented crocheted items were actually made with lacy, open patterns in lightweight fiber, which then were used as embellishment for clothing. In my obsessive need to always have an easily-transportable project, I have found projects and mediums that keep me happily hooking away year-round.

      One of my first non-winter crochet projects was a pair of lacy crocheted earrings in red hot red. Pretty for summer accessorizing, and quick to make. These are simply tiny doilies; then they are attached to ear wires. Several of these doilies can be made and attached together with jumprings for a unique statement necklace or bracelet.

      Beaded crochet accessories are another fun way to continue your crocheting and wearing of your projects during the warmer time of the year. I have made earrings, necklaces, brooches, and this unique accessory piece that is adaptable. I have made it long, allowing it to be worn as a necklace, lariat, belt, or wrapped around your arm as a bracelet.

      I also have dabbled in wire crochet.  Jewelry can be made simply with the wire and without beads, for a lacy appearance. The key is to choose lightweight wire, or it is very hard on your hands. The woderful thing about wire is that it is moldable, as well as comes in a variety of colors now for your creative expression. Keep in mind also that wire is unforgiving of mistakes. If you need to unravel and start again, you are much better off, just starting anew, as twists in the wire resulting from having been crocheted are nearly impossible to remove. Pictured here is an example of a choker I made with craft wire and glass beads.

    Hats, specifically for babies and children are popular year-round. Making them with with cotton thread assures a cool, breathable headcover. They can be made in numerous colors and themes. This is a baby hat I made that has a handmade removeable pin-on flower made of ribbon.

     Crochet has also made its way into the eco-conscious, upcycling world. Purses and bags can be made from nearly-indestructible plastic grocery bags (these come in a wide variety of colors), or even discarded VHS tapes. This purse was created by Sue  , who owns the Etsy shop, werewolfsmummy. She opened a discarded vieotape, unraveled it, rolled it into a ball, then crocheted it into this waterproof bag. Great for shopping of to haul your beach items.

Home accessories can be crocheted from strips of rags or tee shirts no longer in wearable condition. This earth-friendly rug was made from strips cut from old t-shirts by my friend Sue. How cute would this be in a kids' room or sun porch?

     Another project that can be made from upcycled fabric, from sheets or even pajamas, is a three-dimensional bowl or basket. This caddy was also made by Sue, from some grown-out-of pajamas. She uses it as a bedside caddy for her glasses and t.v. remote.

     Crochet can also be utilized as embellishment - I love using my scrap pieces of yarn to crochet motifs, fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle,  and handsew them together. These can be used on clothing or to cover an existing purse that needs a facelift.

     Clothing and accessories for pets and dolls make good portable projects, as they are smaller and don't take up much space if you are taking a project on a trip. Stretchy collars, sweaters, toys, and even whimsical hats can even be fashioned for your dog or cat. This is a lovely example of a crocheted one-of-a-kind outfit for American Girl or other 18" dolls, created by Mindy Clauch or DeeDeesDesigns on Etsy. The second photo is a handmade crocheted Christening Gown, also hooked by Mindy.

     One of my more recent warm-weather projects was this lightweight shawl, crocheted from vintage Berroco fiber. I designed the pattern myself, then crocheted away. I created a matching pin from polymer clay to secure the wrap in place. This shawl can be worn year-round, even as a sarong over a swimsuit.

      I have started making very lightweight, open-stitched scarves, or fiber jewelry. They are not intended for warmth, but for color and decoration.The scarf in the first photo was created at the request of a customer. I used Noro silk/wool yarn for gorgeous color, but since it is so open and airy it won't be too hot. The second photo is a shawl I made in shades of tuquoise, geen, and silver. These pieces are so much fun to make, and a great way to use up your smaller amounts of yarn - you just make stripes! This one reminds me of something a mermaid would choose to wrap around herself!

     One of these days, I am going to crochet the ultimate summer project -- a bikini, just for the "sun" of it. I asked a friend if he thought those would sell, and without missing a beat, he said, "Yes - but you need to market it to the husbands and boyfriends!"

     I usually have several ideas in my head of new things I want to do with my crochet.That is the fun of crochet for me - always looking ahead and planning for the next project. Hopefully, this has given you some ideas for continuing your crochet craft through the warm seasons.


Special thanks to:

Sue at wolfmansmummy  
Her shop link is: http://www.etsy.com/shop/wolfmansmummy

Mindy Moffett Claunch at DeeDeesDetails    
Her shop link is: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeeDeesDetails

Written by: Pam Talpers at GypsythatIwas 
My shop link is: http://www.etsy.com/shop/gypsythatIwas


  1. Hurrah, for you Pam!! I so enjoyed reading this well-written article.

    You know I love your creativity and sense of style! Still lovin' my custom-made scarf and the first one I purchased. Looking at your new spring/summer ones as well I think I need the featured one above.


    XO ~ Lulu

  2. Great article Pam - I remember the crocheted bikinis...yes, they will sell!