Note to my readers: This post was first published on June 15, 2011 under the title “An excellent adventure.”
If you should ever find yourself, as I did, driving the length of Alabama on a sunny day in June in search of a crochet adventure, you might find it equal parts amusing and incomprehensible when you drive over one of the many bridges and read the following: Bridge may ice in cold weather.
No doubt this is true, but when the temperature is a balmy 92º with the mercury climbing, it is hard to imagine that the bridge you are crossing has ever seen ice that wasn’t from a spilled cold drink.
Such was the kind of weather I encountered recently when I had the opportunity to meet Melody MacDuffee, creator of the overlay crochet technique.
Melody MacDuffee’s Alabama adventure began when she moved to Mobile as a child. Her crochet adventure began three years later when she and her sister taught themselves to crochet, and crochet has figured prominently in Ms. MacDuffee’s life since then.
One delightful development Ms. MacDuffee has brought to the world of craft is a technique known as Overlay Crochet. I first became acquainted with it through a correspondence course that was, at one time, available through the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA).
So, when recently had the opportunity to meet Ms. MacDuffee, I was delighted that she allowed me to take this photograph of her first piece of Overlay Crochet:
This motif forms the basis for the first 14 rounds of the Pillow Cover design featured in Crochet Master Class by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.
From this initial design, Ms. MacDuffee developed this medallion:
which you can see in even greater detail here:
Ms. MacDuffee’s adventures in crochet eventually lead her to make crochet jewelry and to incorporate beads into her work:
As she began to publish patterns of this technique, one of the publications in Bead & Button, found its way to Somanya-Krobo in Ghana, West Africa, where her design caught the eye of someone there.
As a result of this, an inquiry was made: Would Ms. MacDuffee be able to come to Africa to teach them her crafting technique?
The letter of inquiry arrived at a fortuitous moment in Ms. MacDuffee’s life, and she was able to go to Ghana and from there, she has embarked on yet another crafting journey.
From this, Soul of Somanya was born, a project whose mission it is to develop sustainable employment in this far-flung corner of the world where opportunities are often limited.
Beginning with a mortar, pestle, and glass shards, these Krobo beads are fashioned from the available materials:
It is unlikely that the twelve-year-old Melody MacDuffee could see that her passion for crochet would lead her to this remote corner of the world working to help create a sustainable economy for people half a world away, but that fateful day that she and her sister decided to learn to crochet, a die was cast and an adventure begun.
If you want to incorporate Overlay Crochet into your own life adventure, you can find the resources learn this technique in Crochet Master Class (edited by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss) or in the Leisure Arts publication #4014 Crochet Overlay Jewelry. These patterns can either be worked in the materials suggested or with any worsted weight yarn and a K hook.
And if you want to incorporate these delightful glass beads into your craft work, you can get to the link to buy them by clicking here.