I want to crochet something that will be used, not stuffed in a closet somewhere to be forgotten.
I hear this all too much! So how do you know what item will be both practical and pretty for your recipient’s home? We have to look at things from a logical perspective. Let’s start by breaking down the common themes of crochet home decor.
3 Common Themes of Home Decor Crochet
- Cleaning Items
“Practical” is defined differently for each type of crochet project, so the first step in choosing the right pattern is to define practical for each type.
Afghans must be soft and (in most cases) warm. If we leave out either of these key ingredients, we’re left with something no body wants to use.
Cleaning Items must be durable and washer friendly. Leaving out one of these ingredients, your recipient will be left with a dirty pile of mush after only a few uses. Not practical.
Decorations must be appealing to the eye and follow common home decor trends.
This all makes sense, right? We need to first understand what is desirable about what we are crocheting before we pick up our hooks.
The list above is pretty straight forward but we need to keep digging to understand how to find the right pattern for your recipient’s home. Once you have figured out what “practical” means for the project you have in mind, you need to follow these very important rules of thumb.
Rule of Thumb #1 Fiber is Key
Crocheted home decor is a breed all it’s own. You can’t just go through your stash and pull out the first skein that jumps at you. For home decor items to be “practical”, it must meet the requirements above and fiber type is the most important detail.
When I plan a crochet home decor project, I begin by finding the yarn first. I always stick within these fiber categories
- Afghans: Acrylics & acrylic blends (for extra warmth) and cottons & cotton blends (for a cooler feel)
- Cleaning Items: Cotton and polyester
- Decorations: Cotton & Tshirt (for extra durability), acrylic blends (for those “look at only” items) and animal fibers (for that certain type of rustic decor)
Rule of Thumb #2 Stitches Matter
Stitches literally make or break a project and so they are the next most important thing to consider when choosing the right pattern. We can get super technical here and list every single stitch pattern and pair it with a suitable home decor item, but that would just get crazy.
Instead, I’m going to give you my general guidelines for stitches and home decor.
- Use tighter stitches for items that will be holding heavy items. This includes baskets, hanging or table top. Some stitches to consider are the single, half double, star, linen or post stitches.
- Use textured stitches for cleaning items like wash cloths, towels or dusters. Some stitches to consider are the bobble, popcorn, or loop stitch.
- Use eye catching stitches for afghans and blankets. Some of my favorite stitches for afghans are the wave, granny, larksfoot, chevron, star…the list goes on and on.
Rule of Thumb #3 Carefully Plan Color
Once I have the fiber and the stitch planned out, then I explore color. It’s important to do this step last because we might be tempted to sacrifice the right fiber for a great color. This is how impractical projects are born.
Choosing colors for home decor items isn’t really different from any other type of project but there are a few things you may want to know:
- When in doubt, go with a neutral. They are more subtle and easily blend with other home decor.
- If it’s for a friend, take note of colors in their home. Feel free to use up to 4 colors in the same project.
- Follow trends. Some colors are just more “popular” than others. There’s a reason for that. People like them.
Now let’s tie it all together.
The title of this post is “Choosing the right pattern for your recipient’s home” and we haven’t quite put all the pieces together yet. We’ve talked about all the elements that need to come before you go pattern hunting, but how do you know which pattern will make a project that is used?
Luckily, I have a few tips for that too!
Tip #1: Use a pattern directory that has a rating function. If the pattern has a low rating, it’s probably for a reason. I recommend Ravelry.
Tip #2: Use a pattern from a book or magazine. These patterns have gone through extensive testing and they are always up-to-date with trends.
Tip #3: Ask. When in doubt, always ask. Ask what your recipient wants. Ask what your customers want. They’ll tell you exactly what to make.
If you haven’t heard yet, August is “Crochet for the Home” month at B.hooked Crochet, a new publishing calendar I’m testing for a few months to gauge learning and participation. You can expect something new every week in August with the topic of home decor crochet.
To help you get started on your search for the right pattern, have a look at my library of home decor crochet patterns. They are all free!
Be on the look out for at least 3 new patterns this month too!