crocheted throw

Keeping us all cosy through autumn and winter in the four-hundred-year-old cottage can be something of a challenge. On waking the house is awfully chilly and we creep down to start a fire, wrapped in layers. We keep the wood stove roaring with the copper kettle set on top, wool socks on our feet, tea on the warmer and hands tucked into handwarmers, on the coldest days. For evenings of watching movies by the fire, I wanted to make us a warm, heavy throw. My beloved grandmother’s yarn is just the thing, thick and rustic. I like to think of her working with it.

octagon crocheted throw

I’m using a pattern for a Circles in Octagons throw, only I’m making it a monochromatic piece. With such heavy yarn I’ve chosen quite a large hook, seven millimetres. I’d still like it to be a little bit lacy and pliant, not worked stiffly. Working a crocheted throw at this scale means the stack of pieces are growing rapidly, and I have high hopes of assembling them together before the icy winter arrives.


Cowl, snood, hood, wimple, whatever the name, I’ve knitted another one. The cosy things keep coming back into fashion, popular in the 1860’s, the 1940’s, the 1970’s and very much so of late. I’m curious as to why they come in and out of favour. I knitted my first cowl a couple of years ago, a simple ribbed piece that I like very much. It’s a great learning-to-knit project for those who’ve conquered scarves and I’ll be setting our tall child to make her own. Self-clothing children, excellent idea. This time I’ve designed a slight version, close-fitting to tuck inside a coat, and shaped so that it hugs close like a comfortable hoodie. I love to have warm ears and neck, and prefer not to crush my hair into odd angles. I’m hoping this solves that serious problem. I also like that I can wear the thing in a few different ways. Allow me to demonstrate.


As a cowl, for around the house or on mild days out. I like that the top crocheted shell edging folds over a little this way.


As a hood, or snood, (as you like it!) with a cardigan, on cooler days. This looks very old fashioned, I think. I find it interesting that in so many cold-climate cultures women would have worn some kind of garment in this way. It seems both a beautiful and intelligent solution to me. Am I becoming increasingly like my dear grandmother with her very practical red wool socks? But I am very warm.


Under my hood, a streamlined little warmer, easier than a scarf and a hat, worn as I originally intended. I look forward to being thoroughly cosy this winter.

crocheted coaster

First some messy experiments, watching little videos, browsing through patterns, trying different hooks and yarns, and now my studies in crochet are taking shape. I’m determined to crochet a granny square throw, and I’ve been developing my skills as I sort out what motif I’ll use. I’ve been carrying around some beautiful linen yarn and a hook, and when I catch a moment I work on a pattern for one motif or another. Learning the language of crochet patterns was one of the first steps. One of the motifs I fell in love with is the wonderful Yvonne Eijkenduijn‘s very romantic flower crochet pattern.

crocheted coaster © elisa rathje 2011

I attempted it first using a larger hook with a doubled strand, and then using a single strand with a little hook, 3.25mm. I’m getting better at it.

crocheted coaster © elisa rathje 2011

These little motifs are quite nice for tucking under our teacups. A crocheted coaster, or a coaster of any kind, is definitely something I railed against until I abruptly changed my mind, now that I have antique waxed surfaces to protect! If the coasters are pretty my little girls are also more likely to get them out. I’ll be making more of these. And then a colourful throw!


p>update: I fell thoroughly in love with these linen motifs, and use them all over the cottage. You can get all kinds of motifs to use as coasters and doilies, in shades of linen, in my little studio shop.