In Praise Of Pattern

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I’m a huge fan of patterns, and for once I’m not referring to knitting patterns (although I love those too!); I mean patterns as in surface decorations, like the kind displayed on these fabulous Mexican tiles I recently bought. The full set contains 24 tiles, all completely different – but such impressive variety is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the literally hundreds of designs in existence. There’s something so joyful about this exuberant use of shape and colour seemingly just for the hell of it. Whether on tiles, a rug, a piece of fabric, a retro teapot, or a piece of Fair Isle knitting, surface pattern doesn’t, on the whole, convey any meaning or serve any practical purpose, it’s just there to lift your heart and make you smile.

My plan for these tiles is not to actually tile anything with them (although it would be fabulous!) but just to have them dotted around the house – on the mantelpiece, on the windowsill, used as coasters – thereby providing a small but extremely lively dash of colour here and there.

Seeing these tiles together, it struck me how similar they were to something else I love – granny squares! Although in essence quite different, in many ways the Mexican tile and the granny square appear to come from the same feel-good family. Both get away with being absurdly more colourful than is generally acceptable, both are square and both feature symmetrical, repeating patterns that delight the eye with their aesthetic rhythm.

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I made the squares above a while ago to be the centrepiece of a picnic blanket. Having made nine large squares, I crocheted them together using Lucy from Attic 24s excellent tutorial, and then planned to go round and round the edge until either it was big enough or my yarn ran out, whichever happened first. Well, I clearly underestimated how much yarn crochet uses up! By the time I’d done a few rounds it was taking more than half a ball of yarn to do one lap of the edge, and I’d exhausted all my favourite colours. I could’ve bought more yarn but seeing as this was a project to use up oddments it seemed to defeat the object. So I don’t exactly have a picnic blanket, but I do have a very nice throw. Perfect for livening up a chair, and for bringing a little bit of joie de vivre into everyday life.

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