My little crochet bath mat production line has been busy and Bath Mat # 1 is ready to roll out and receive any wet feet coming its way! I love it!
And what I particularly love is the fact that it has turned so happily into this, instead of the Granny Square Sampler Afghan, which the squares were originally intended for. Sadly abandoned last summer, because I found the pattern just too complicated to keep going with, they lay dormant, useless and nearly forgotten for almost a whole year. But their time has come and I am so glad I couldn't bring myself to unravel them when I realised the blanket idea had stalled last autumn.
Note to self: Stay the unravelling hand of care until time has hooked it up again! No, that's not quite right but you get the gist!
The lovely thing about this use for such squares is that it raises all manner of possibilities for similar patchwork mats. You could use new patterns for blocks you fancy experimenting with, brush up your hooky skills and make a skill-challenging combination of different blocks - some of my squares, notably the ones with stars and circles in them, certainly challenged my skills - or you could use the simplest Granny Square scheme in varying colours and rustle a whole mat up without a pattern in sight.
For a bath mat, cotton yarn is perfect - washable, soft and absorbent. The bath mats in Sue's book are made using a mixture of cotton and acrylic yarn which obviously also works fine. But acrylic on its own would not be absorbent enough, I think, and I am not sure about wool for a bath mat. I used a 4.5mm hook and Rico Creative Cotton for this, which I really like, although the Creative Cotton can be a little bit splitty on the hook, if you aren't careful. But it's a good weight (Aran), it's cheap and the colours are so bright and cheerful. Some of the colours I've used, which were in my post-blanket stash, have now been discontinued, which is a shame, but it's a fantastic way of using up lots of ends of skeins - you don't need much of any particular colour apart from in the border.
The mat did need a border, I felt, once I had sewn the squares together. Something just to hold the squares together, visually and literally. I added five rows of single crochet in different colours to make a simple but satisfying edge and it gives the mat a nice cohesion, I think.
If you prefer, you can of course use the join-as-you-go method to join the squares but I like to play around with the design once all the component parts are completed so sewing them suits me better and I actually find it easier.
In the above pic, the water looks almost jacuzzi-esque. This is not because I have a jacuzzi but because H who put his head round the door to offer creative photographic advice told me it was no good taking photographs of a bath mat without water in the bath. After I had precariously balanced across said bath, now filled with cold water, to repair the omission, my critic felt that the still water was not definite enough in the resulting images and churned the surface vigorously, instructing me when to press the shutter and the pic above is the result! The bath mat remained dry, although that cannot be said of all in the vicinity!!
Another note to self: If perching across a filled bath to take photographs, make sure the water is warm, not cold, or wear a wet suit!
The bath mat is not a geometric rectangle as you can see! Something a bit "wee-wowy" has happened at the corners!
But I like the slightly quirky corners, which come, I suspect, from putting together squares that are not absolutely identical in size or may be my border edging was a bit creative in places, I'm not sure! I did my best to add a round or two here or there to the smaller squares to achieve compatibility, but the original afghan design was meant to come out a bit asymmetrical so perhaps it was never going to be perfect. If you prefer a more geometrically perfect rectangle on which to plant your post-bath or post-shower feet, it would probably make sense to choose patterns for blocks that promise identical measurements.
Bath Mat # 2 is nearly finished too. My little carpet of hexagons has grown nicely and they just need sewing together now. A job for a happy half hour in the Spring sun perhaps!