I love the vitrines at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that are filled with household artifacts from places long ago and far away. Tightly woven mats and perfectly crafted sandals, hammered metal and braided leather, ancient objects still feel alive with the integrity and vitality of their makers.

What sometimes also strikes me is how little our aesthetic values have changed over the thousands of years. Beauty is still a human imperative and careful craftsmanship is still a revered skill. We still respond to simple shapes and beautiful materials, to whimsical embellishments and practical uses.

I thought about this a lot as I crocheted these Jewelry Dishes. I wondered if I were given the opportunity to slip them into a glass case at the Met, would they be so out of place? Or, if I put them on my dresser and filled them with my rings and bracelets, my pieces of sea glass and other curios, would it be that much different than, say, a Pacific Islander from centuries back storing glass trade beads and shell earrings in her own hand crafted vessel? And isn't this connection to the past really, deep down, why we craft?

My trip into antiquity was greatly assisted by the purity and simplicity of Habu's extraordinary fibers. I held two yarns together, Copper Bamboo and Dyed Linen. The bamboo and linen lend an exquisite rusticity to the finished pieces, while throughout, the copper flashes its chestnut sparkle, glowing like a warm ember.

It's not hard to make your own pretty little trays and bowls, just some simple crocheting... like it's always been done! --Whitney

PS Wouldn't these gorgeous brass bracelets be right at home in a museum case? The Maggie Bracelets were designed by our good friend Kerrilynn Pamer and are for sale online right here and at her lovely West Village store, Castor & Pollux!

 

 

The Materials

The Patterns

Gauge

9 single crochets = 1 inch

Finished Sizes

Square Tray: 3 3/4 inches x 3 3/4 inches

Rectangle Tray: 3 3/4 inches x 5 1/2 inches

Bowl: 3 1/4 inches in diameter

Pattern Notes

  • For all three patterns, hold together one strand of the Copper Bamboo and one strand of the Dyed Linen.
  • Don't despair if your tray or bowl seems a little floppy or misshapen as you work. The final step of starching and blocking works miracles!

Rectangle Tray Pattern

Foundation Row: With both strands of yarn, chain 29 stitches. Inserting hook into 2nd chain from hook, make 1 sc in each chain stitch. (28 stitches)

Turn the work.

Row 1: 1 sc in each stitch. (28 stitches)

Repeat Row 1, turning the work at the end of each row. Work until piece measures 4 1/2 inches from beginning.

Round 1: 1 sc in front loop of next 28 stitches, chain 1, mark chain with removable stitch marker, rotate work 90º clockwise, make 46 sc along long side of rectangle (one for each row), chain 1, mark chain, rotate work, 1 sc in each chain stitch (28 stitches), chain 1, mark chain, rotate work, make 46 sc along final side, chain 1, mark chain with different color marker to indicate the beginning of the round.

Round 2: *1 sc in each stitch to corner marker, remove marker, chain 1, replace marker on chain, skip a stitch, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 2 five more times. 

Slip stitch into next stitch. Cut the yarn, pull it through, and remove all your markers.

STARCH AND BLOCK

First, mix up your own batch of perfectly effective and safe household starch. Put a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch into about a 1/4 cup of room temperature water and stir it until it dissolves. Add to that about 1 3/4 cups of boiling water. When this has cooled down to room temperature, transfer your starch into a spray bottle.

Saturate your finished piece with the starch mixture and place it on a dry towel. Take the time to really shape the dish to how you want it, squaring the sides, smoothing the bottom and evening the edges. Allow the piece to dry and then fill it with your most special trinkets!

Square Tray Pattern

Foundation Round: With both strands of yarn, chain 1 into an adjustable loop (see our Adjustable Loop Tutorial right here for the how-to's.). Make 12 single crochets (sc) into the loop. (12 stitches)

NOTE: Mark the first stitch of the next round with a removable stitch marker. Be sure to reposition the marker at the beginning of each round to mark the new first stitch.

Round 1: 1 sc in next stitch, *3 sc in next stitch (corner), 1 sc into next 2 stitches, repeat from * two more times, 3 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in final stitch. (20 stitches)

Round 2: 1 sc in next 2 stitches, *3 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 4 stitches, repeat from * two more times, 3 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 2 stitches. (28 stitches)

Round 3: 1 sc in next 3 stitches, *3 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 6 stitches, repeat from * two more times, 3 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 3 stitches. (36 stitches)

Round 4: 1 sc in next 4 stitches, *3 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 8 stitches, repeat from * two more times, 3 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 4 stitches. (44 stitches)

Continue to work in pattern, (1 sc in each stitch along the edges and 3 sc in the center stitch of each corner), ending when there are 26 stitches between each center corner stitch. (108 stitches total)

Next Round: 1 sc in back loop of next 14 stitches, *chain 1, mark chain with removable stitch marker, skip a stitch (center corner stitch), 1 sc in back loop of next 28 stitches, repeat from * two more times, chain 1, mark chain, skip a stitch, 1 sc in back loop of next 14 stitches. (108 stitches)

Reminder: As you manage the removable markers at each corner, remember also to keep working the marker that indicates the beginning of the round.

Next Round: *1 sc in each stitch to corner marker, remove marker, chain 1, replace marker on chain, skip a stitch, repeat from * through all four corners, 1 sc in each stitch to end of round. (108 stitches)

Repeat last round 5 more times. 

Slip stitch into next stitch. Cut the yarn and pull it through. Remove all your markers.

Follow the Starch and Block directions of the Rectangle Tray Pattern and you're done!

Bowl Pattern

Foundation Round: With both strands of yarn, chain 1 into an adjustable loop (see our Adjustable Loop Tutorial right here). Make 8 sc into the loop. (8 stitches)

NOTE: Mark the first stitch of the next round with a removable stitch marker. Be sure to reposition the marker at the beginning of each round to mark the new first stitch.

Round 1: 2 sc in each stitch. (16 stitches)

Round 2: *1 sc in next stitch, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (24 stitches)

Round 3: *1 sc in next 2 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (32 stitches)

Round 4: 1 sc in each stitch.

Round 5: *1 sc in next 3 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (40 stitches)

Round 6: 1 sc in each stitch.

Round 7: *1 sc in next 4 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (48 stitches)

Round 8: 1 sc in each stitch.

Round 9: *1 sc in next 5 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (56 stitches)

Round 10: 1 sc in each stitch.

Round 11: *1 sc in next 6 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (64 stitches)

Round 12: 1 sc in each stitch.

Round 13: *1 sc in next 7 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (72 stitches)

Rounds 14 and 15: 1 sc in each stitch.

Round 16: *1 sc in next 8 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (80 stitches)

Rounds 17 and 18: 1 sc in each stitch.

Round 19: *1 sc in next 9 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. (88 stitches)

Rounds 20 and 21: 1 sc in each stitch.

Slip stitch into next stitch, removing the marker. Cut the yarn and pull it through.

Follow the Starch and Block directions of the Rectangle Tray Pattern and you've got a set!