Two years ago, I fulfilled a life-long dream – Rich and I visited New England in the Fall. A dream that was probably fueled by watching too many episodes of Gilmour Girls and avid reading of Little Women back when I was a child. I had already been lucky enough to visit the area on several occasions after my sister had moved there several years ago but those visits had been in Summer, Winter and Spring. And so an Autumn visit had been on the cards for a while, and just to make it even more special we were going to be able to spend Thanksgiving with her and her family. This was a real treat for us Brits, getting to experience a real American celebration and tradition.
The memories of this wonderful holiday have stayed with us both. We often talk about the things we did and more importantly to Rich, what we ate😊. And this year, with travel restrictions and stay at home orders making holidays impossible, we have been remembering our lovely holidays all the more intensively meaning that when I started thinking about designing Autumn crochet, the inspiration was already there in our photo albums and my memories. Designing these four free granny squares has taken me back to some of my favourite moments of our stay in Rhode Island. The intention was always to create a patchwork style cushion using different textures and designs and I feel like, as with the traditional American patchworks, this cushion is also telling a story, not just of my trip to New England in the Fall, but of all the wonderful American traditions surrounding Fall and Thanksgiving.
When a British person thinks of Thanksgiving, our minds drift to Pumpkin Pie. This delicacy is something we definitely don’t find in British cuisine. I had previously been very curious about this pie and had attempted to make a version at home which, to be honest, just tasted like pumpkin on pastry – all very well but not something I would have as a dessert and I wondered what the fuss was about. Enter my sister-in-law’s pumpkin pie: just sweet enough, just creamy enough and with a cracker crust. Perfectly yummy! I now understand the cult of the pumpkin pie and already have a tin of sweet pumpkin in the cupboard to make our own pie this year.
The Cranberry Pie Square
Ok, I’ll admit it, we had enough sweets on our hands with the pumpkin pie that we didn’t try cranberry pie. But in our Thanksgiving meal we had some lovely cranberry sauce to go with our turkey. Unlike cranberry sauce in the UK, this sauce was canned and served in slices as it has turned into a jelly. It had maintained the beautiful deep reds of the berry and the slightly sour flavour – just perfect to go on the turkey. It is also a product local to New England, where there are acres of cranberry bogs to be farmed. Although we were there at the wrong time to visit the bog, evidence of them was everywhere: cranberry soap, cranberry candles and cranberry candy – as if the cranberry were the unofficial emblem of New England.
Poppy and Corn Square
One of my favourite moments of Thanksgiving was when we sat around the table as a family and said what we were most thankful for. A lovely exercise in reminding ourselves how lucky we are and something I try to think of more often in day to day life. It reminded me of the Harvest Festivals our school celebrated at our local church, with the church decorated with heads of corn and flowers from the field while we children brought fruit and vegetables to be donated to the needy of the parish.
The Mum Square
The beautiful shapes and colours of the chrysanthemums often decorate our homes during the Autumn. But you could be forgiven for thinking that they only come in one variety in shades of dark red, orange, yellow and white. However, this is definitely not the case as I saw for myself at the Mum Show at the Botanic Garden of Smith College. The hothouses contained a riot of colours and Mums with petals in almost every form imaginable. Our journey to Smith College was just as magical, driving through the country roads of Connecticut, which were surrounded by a fresh covering of snow, before arriving in Massachusetts (happily totting up my tally of visited states in New England.)
To make this cushion truly memorable, it was clear that I should pick an American yarn. The Caron Simply Soft yarn is exactly what it says: simply soft and has a lovely sheen to it. It is an acrylic yarn, making it both durable and washable. And with shade names like Autumn Maize, Autumn Red, Harvest Red and Pumpkin, it is absolutely perfect for this Autumn crochet cushion.
This Crochet Along shall start on Friday, 28th August with a new square released each Friday for four weeks.
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