A pet mat becomes itself

Yesterday I began work on a project I described as a pet mat for Josef Albers’ dog and joined the pieces one to the other as the pet mat seemed to become itself .

When I started, it took me about an hour to figure out what the yarn would become, but using examples of the color exercises from Albers’ book (Interaction of Color) as a guide, and three colors of Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn (Cincinnati Red, Syracuse Orange, and New Orleans French Berry), I had made three of the four squares I would need for a 14″x14″ pet mat before sunset yesterday.

After sunset, I continued to work on the pet mat and crocheted the last square I would need for this project to become itself:

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The fourth crochet square for a pet mat for Josef Albers’ dog

This morning, I got out my jumbo Clover bent-tipped yarn needle and began weaving in the ends. Each square generated six ends to be woven in, one of which I left as a long tail to be used for joining one square to another. Here is how the squares looked with the ends woven in and trimmed:

The backs of the four crochet squares that were used to make the pet mat for Joseph Albers' dog
The backs of the four crochet squares that were used to make the pet mat for Joseph Albers’ dog

With that bit of work out of the way and using the same jumbo needle, I joined the squares as seen here:

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The four crochet squares of the pet mat joined

The project was, at this point, not perfectly square. In order to make the pet mat more square and to have it meet the minimum size requirements for the shelters and rescues accepting donations from Off the Hook Crochet Guild, I added two rows of single crochet to both the top and the bottom of the pet mat, and then I worked a round of single crochet to frame the entire piece. Here is how it looked after it was finished:

A final photo of the crochet pet mat for Josef Albers' dog after it has become itself
A final photo of the crochet pet mat for Josef Albers’ dog after it has become itself

This project was perfect for two reasons: it was eminently portable when I desperately needed something I could bring with me and work on under circumstances that were (at times) rather challenging, and it had the added bonus that it was made entirely from yarn that was in the yarn pile area of my crochet empire/guest room.

I once read a post on a crochet discussion board that rescue animals with colorful pet mats find homes more quickly than pets without pet mats. I don’t know if this is a fact or simply the claim of an avid crocheter; but if my contribution of a pet mat can provide an animal some measure of comfort at a time of need, it is well worth the effort.