Rare Fruit Sampler Afghan begins!

Crochet is uniquely suited to 3D sculpture – with each stitch’s ability to stand on its own I find it very easy to create rounded forms that can support their own weight. I enjoy all of the crocheted strawberries and tomatoes I’m finding on Ravelry, but if you have read any of my past posts, you know that strawberries aren’t nearly bizarre enough for me. So, I am working on designing some stranger fruit.

In my research into fruit that will be successful in my climate (USDA Zone 3b/4a), I have become enamored with Sea Buckthorn, or Seaberry. A tart small orange berry on thorny bushes ranging from 4-10 feet tall, Sea Buckthorn is a popular fruit in Europe but undiscovered here outside of exotic fruit nursery catalogs and enlightened Extension research stations (go Carrington!). It’s a great permaculture plant as it has multiple outputs – fruit, plus it’s a nitrogen-fixer, plus the thorns make it a great hedge if you’ve got deer to keep out. The delicious fruit catalog pictures always show branches laden with orange berries squished tightly against each other. While I was working on possible berry representations, I came up with a flat sheet of bumps that basically cried out to be repeated across a length of fabric, and thus…

The North (American) Rare Fruit Sampler Afghan!

Oddly enough, I blame Ravelry’s Guild of Calamitous Intent and their upcoming KAL’s, Minion Hats and the Calamitous Afghan.

Square One, the Sea Buckthorn, was designed for the Ravelympics, and is posted on my new Fruit Sampler Afghan page.

Additional squares will feature other rare fruits, especially small fruits, that can be grown in the North. Not necessarily from North America – Sea Buckthorn “singlehandedly kept the Siberian peasants alive for hundreds of years” – but I couldn’t pass up the great North American Afghan naming tradition. 😉

What would you like to see? I’m thinking Medlar, red or white currant, gooseberry, mulberry, ground cherry, honeyberry, arctic kiwi, sumac, elderberry, perhaps mountain ash… There is unfortunately quite a lot of stuff that is basically A Red Berry which resembles every other red berry ever – lingonberry, goumi, cornelian cherry, highbush cranberry, hawthorn and rosehip 😉  – and black currants, aronia, blueberries and saskatoons are basically identical as well. Maybe it will turn into a tiny botanical guide with leaf shape and flower to help differentiate them, who knows? But it should be fun, and fairly unique yet. Which is cool.

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