Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Grapes of Bottle-Capped Wrath

Grape Arbor Bottle Cap Mat and Pot Holder pattern from Table Magic, Book No. 298, 1953.

Every savvy, 1950s housewife knew that asbestos mats and hot pads were passé. Besides, between her beer guzzling hubby and hopped up on pop offspring, she was hip deep in bottle caps that were just begging to be magically transformed into kitchen kitsch.

You too can experience bottle cap magic, as it’s likely that modern day beer bottle screw-caps will work equally well for these patterns.

However, if tacky, purple grape-shaped hot pads are all you produce when you allow your imagination to run riot, you seriously need to get out more.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Grape Arbor large mat, medium mat and pot holder S-406

J & P Coats “Knit-Cro-Sheen,” Art. A. 64: 5 balls of No. 18-A Shaded Purples and 2 balls of No. 48 Hunter’s Green.
Ah, Good ol’ Knit-Cro-Sheen. Last seen on this bathing beauty.
Milwards Steel Crochet Hook No. 7.

84 bottle caps . . . ¼ yard felt.
Boy, I thought I was kidding about how many bottle caps 1950s housewives had laying about.
Large Mat . . . Using Shaded Purples cover 54 bottle caps as for No. S-407.
Hey, this pattern came first, it’s not fair that Magic Mat S-407 got the full instructions. What did the Magic Mat do, sleep with the editor?

Warning: Handmade by Mother takes no responsibility for any injuries resulting from use of a crocheted bottle cap mat as a sex toy.

At any rate, here’s the instructions from Magic Mat:
Bottle Cap Cover . . . Starting at center, ch 4.

1st rnd: 19 dc in 4th ch from hook. Join to top of ch-4.

2nd rnd: 2 sc in same place as sl st. * sc in next 4 dc, 2 sc in next dc. Repeat from * around. Join.

3rd to 6th rnds incl: Sc in each sc around. Join.

7th rnd: Ch 3, dc in each sc around. Join and break off, leaving a 6-inch length of thread. Insert a bottle cap and sew up opening by gathering last rnd.
Repeat 53 times. Unless you’re prone to Repetitive Strain Injuries.

Then it’s finally time to return to the under-loved grape arbor pattern.
Sew together as shown in illustration.
As in the single photo provided above. Doesn’t it look like hours of fun? Hours and hours and hours of fun.
Leaf (Make 2) . . . Starting at the center with Hunter’s Green, ch 20.
Despite what Bad FanFic had lead me to believe, completely random overuse of the ". . . " isn’t a modern phenomenon after all.
1st row: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, 3 sc in last ch; working along opposite side of starting chain make sc in each ch across to within last 2 ch. Ch 1, turn. Hereafter pick up back loop on each sc.

2nd row: Sc in each sc to center sc of 3 sc group, 3 sc in center sc, sc in each remaining sc to within last 2 sc. Ch 1, turn.

3rd to 8th rows incl: Repeat 2nd row.

9th row: Sc in each sc to center sc of 3-sc group, sl st in center sc. Break off.
Random use of dashes appears to date back to the 50s too. Feel free to use this pattern as evidence the next time an elderly curmudgeon complains about how the internet has destroyed punctuation.
Holding leaves back to back, sew around outer edges. Make 2 more leaves the same way. Sew to mat as shown in illustration.

Medium Mat . . . Make 30 grapes and 3 leaves as before. Sew together as shown in illustration.

Pot Holder . . . Cut 2 thicknesses of felt the size of a bottle cap (1 1/8 inches in diameter) for each grape. Make 2 leaves and 19 grapes, using felt in place of bottle caps.
Thank God. I’d imagined housewives across 1950s North America cutting themselves to shreds using metal bottle cap potholders. Still wouldn’t recommend it as a sex toy though. Those leaves look like they’d leave welts.
Sew together as before. Attach Hunter’s Green between leaves and ch. 20.

Sl st in same place where thread was attached, then sc closely around chain. Join and break off.
Now gaze with pride at your grape-like housewares. But don’t get them wet, or they’ll leave rust stains. Beware of inadvertently scratching your counter tops with them too. In fact, you probably shouldn’t use them at all. Just gaze at them with pride.
Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. Yikes! This may have been an activity at "Crochet Summer Camp."

  2. I had no idea there was such a thing as Crochet Summer Camp. Nor that crocheted bottle cap grapes were sufficiently main stream to join the ranks of braided plastic bracelets and God's eye yarn crafts.

    Makes me glad that all we made at my summer camp were leather wallets. I doubt my mom would have allowed bottle cap grapes into the house.

  3. I LOVE this pattern and others are selling it for 7 bucks a pop! So thank you vry much!

  4. Ecinue Nasus - Glad to be of service! If you make this pattern, and send me pictures, I'd be delighted to write up a DIY post in your honour. :-)

  5. I remember these way back.. was looking for the pattern. thank you. I'm really enjoying your web-site.

  6. Anony: You're welcome! I'm glad I could be of help. :-)

  7. I love Kitschy and this craft is growing again. Now they sell bags of plain Caps and the crafts don't even look as good as the Grapes, Flowers, Strawberries they made in the 50s. Thank You for the instructions now can you find the Poodle Toilet Tissue Covers? lol I LOVE 'EM!

  8. Connibug - just click the link on the side of this page called "Poodle Love". You should find several toilet roll cover patterns - and other kitschy poodle patterns.

    In the meantime, here's a couple to get you started:


    I'm glad you're enjoying my blog!