Crochet Covers for Upcycled Glass Jars
I'm a lover of fibre arts -- knitting, crocheting, a little sewing and embroidery -- I've been known to do them all. My favourite medium for a quick boost to my spirits and home decor, though, is crochet. I also like to recycle and reuse as much as possible within my home, and you'll find many covered, garden variety glass jars throughout the rooms in my house.
Some are covered in a simple single crochet, some in more complicated stitches. Some are embellished with ribbons or buttons or beads. The three featured here are my most recent upcycled jar projects, inspired by the thought of spring and the need for containers for those naughty easter candies.
One of the great things about these covered jars is that they are cushioned against any blows that might come their way, (handy for the nursery, children's rooms, or high traffic areas), and they are very easy to clean. I wash mine - jar and all - in warm water and liquid detergent and let them air dry. I don't have a dishwasher, but I bet you could even put them in there to clean!
Because I use recycled glass jars of varying sizes it's difficult, if not impossible, to give an exact pattern for making these, however you'll find many "patterns" and tutorials online. Rather than a specific formula, I'm just going to give a rough sketch, if you will, of how I make my covered jars in hopes of providing you with inspiration and motivation for making some upcycled jars of your own.
- Glass jars with labels more or less removed (how picky you are about that will depend on your own level of perfection and the stitch(es) you are going to use to make your covers -- obviously a more open, lacy stitch requires a more thorough removal of the labels)
- Yarn - I like to use 4 ply or DK cotton and, if I can, remnants from other projects -- amounts needed depend, of course, on the size of the jar but an average size jar does not take a lot of yarn and you can always colour block or stripe your jars. I've also used linen thread for jar covers.
- Crochet hook appropriate for yarn and to achieve the coverage you want. I like my single crochet stitches for jars to be a little tight to provide good coverage...maybe not so tight as amigurumi, but tighter than for a blanket or drapey shawl.
- Ribbon, beads, or other embellishments (optional) I often use torn strips of Liberty of London fabric remnants in place of ribbon
For the most basic jar covers I use a simple single crochet. First, make a circle just slightly smaller than the size of the bottom of your jar. I usually begin with 6 sc in a magic ring, and do the typical increases for a circle, so something like this:
Round 1: 6 sc in magic ring
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch (12 sc total)
Round 3: *sc, 2 sc in next stitch* to end (18 sc)
Round 4: *sc, sc, 2 sc in next stitch* to end (24 sc)
Round 5 *sc, sc, sc, 2 sc in next stitch* to end (30 sc) and so on until your circle is the correct size.
I don't join at the end of each round because, well, this isn't rocket science! If you have a favourite formula for making a circle, and/or if you like to join at the end of each round, then by all means do that. Just maintain the multiple of 6, (or whatever you started with).
If you want to use a stitch pattern in your cover just begin your circle with the a stitch count that works with your pattern repeat, (8 for a pattern repeat of 8 stitches, for example). Once you've reached the proper size for the bottom of your jar, you can stop the increases and work upwards with a sc in each stitch. Cotton in particular stretches a bit, which is why I make my bottom circle just a bit smaller than the jar -- you want a snug fit for your cover. Again, I don't join after every round, nor do I count or use markers...I just eyeball and relax.
After a few rows of straight stitching try the cover on the jar to be sure it's not too loose or too tight. Keep trying it on every few rows just to be sure nothing has gone awry...sometimes even jars that look straight up and down get slightly bigger or smaller towards the top. Now is a good time to decide if you are going to add stripes, a ribbon, or maybe even some pre-made little granny squares.
For two colour covers I like to use the main colour for the first 2/3 of the jar and the contrast colour on the last third.
For ribbon eyelets I do a row of *dc, ch1, sk1* for one round and followed by one round sc in each dc and ch1 space and then back to sc in each stitch. If you are using a narrow ribbon you could also do *hdc, ch1, sk1*. The beauty of these jars is that you can make it up as you go along or plan ahead...it's up to you and there are no rules!
The tricky part comes when you reach the top of the jar. Some people just stop when they reach the indented bit where the cap screws on, and you can certainly do that! Personally I like to take mine all the way to the top of the jar and create a nice finished edge at the very top. This means crocheting the last few rounds with the cover on the jar and adapting to the actual jar you're working with -- it's a bit fiddly but not obnoxiously so and I think its worth the extra effort.
There are a couple of ways to accommodate these decreases and I often employ more than one. First you can decrease stitches evenly until you have the correct size for the top of the cover. You can also decrease the size of your crochet hook. Or, you can do a combination of both. Whatever you decide, continue until you have reached just barely under the top lip of the jar.
For your final round do a slip stitch in every single crochet. This creates a nice, thick edge and a real finished look for the top of your jar cover. You have made something beautiful and useful out of a jar that was holding pickles or dijon mustard a few days ago!
Now fill your lovely jars with candy, knitting needles, q tips, crochet hooks, makeup brushes, coloured pencils, crafting tools...whatever your heart desires!