If Mondrian joined a crochet-a-long

In the early 1990s I worked in an art gallery at the first of what ended up being a lengthy series of temporary jobs.

While the job itself was mostly administrative and uninteresting in the way such jobs can be, the one thing that made it stand out from all of the other temporary administrative jobs I would eventually hold was that I was surrounded by art.


The back room of the gallery which served as my workspace was also used to store pieces that were either going to be part of an exhibition or had been part of an exhibition, so there were always interesting paintings and sculptures around me as I entered data into the computer, typed up letters, or attempted to update artists’s resumés.

On one occasion, I got to work with a particularly noteworthy painting of a man paddling in a canoe, and when no one was with me in the space that served at my office, it was as if I was a part of the waterscape that hovered behind me as I completed the mundane and myriad chores associated with the job.

So today, after finishing errands that had begun late in the morning and run until mid-afternoon, the first thing I needed to do was decide which square I would make for the crochet-a-long. As I am still several weeks behind, I had an assortment from which to choose.

After looking over the options, I settled on Square 36 from Jean Leinhauser’s 101 Crochet Squares. It looked interesting because of the dimensional nature of the design, but it turned out that until I made my own square, I had no idea how interesting.

To facilitate the process of choosing which colors to use, I drew on Mondrian’s palette. A substantial portion of his oeuvre uses the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue (along with white and black), and as I sorted through my stash of Red Heart Super Saver, I settled on the cherry red, bright yellow, and royal, got out my 4.5mm hook and set to work.

In no time, I had completed the square (which has many traditional elements) and woven in the ends:

crochet squares granny square
Square 36 before adding the crochet flower

I felt that design of the square stood on its own, and that the design worked equally well when oriented as it is in the photo above, or when turned 45º and oriented as in the photo below:

crochet squares granny square
Square 36 without crochet flower petals turned 45º

Not entirely certain the square would be improved with the addition of flower petals, I added them despite my doubts. To my delight, the addition of the flower petals made the square even more lively:

crochet flower crochet squares granny square
Square 36 with crochet flower petals

and the square was just as charming when turned an additional 45º:

textured crochet square
Crochet Square 36 with flower petals turned 45º

I don’t know for certain that Mondrian would join a crochet-a-long, but I like to think he would.