My Dad turned 60 in March this year. As a birthday present Hubby and I bought him a ticket to come and visit us here in England for 10 days in September. We started to plan the holiday in February, applied for his Visa in July and in last week he collected the visa and currency. All that’s left to do is for him to get on the aeroplane on the 7th September! (To put my excitement about this visit into context, this is the first time one of my parents will see the country I’ve been living in for 8 years, and the house I’ve been living in for 6 years. His visit is a BIG DEAL to me!)

As a welcome gift, I made my dad these crochet applique hand towels:

To understand the farm scene, you have to know that my Dad has been working as a Scientific Technician at the Department of Agriculture farm in Elsenburg, South Africa since 1974. Yes, 1974! His main field of expertise are milk cows. Two years ago he did his Masters Degree on the subject. It’s such a big part of my Dad, that I just had to do something cow and farm inspired for him.

I went for hand towels, as it’s something that he uses daily on the farm. His “office” (I’m using the term loosely as it’s actually a room with desk and chair in a farm outbuilding) also has a basin which he uses to wash his hands after a few hours in the dairy or the stables, so hand towels were the obvious choice.

The crochet appliques are a mixture of two oneandtwocompany patterns: the cow and shed from Cow Pig and Farm, and the tree from The Tree The Houses and The Cloud (I blogged about these cute crochet applique patterns here way back in February). It was so much fun making these, even more so since I knew it was for my Dad and he wasn’t expecting it. The patterns are easy to understand and work up really quickly.

It was essential that I use the cow for both towels, but to make each one special, I did one as a Jersey cow (the brownish) and one as a Friesian (the black and white). The yarn is Rowan Handknit Cotton and Stylecraft Cotton Classiqe with a 5 mm crochet hook.

I sewed the applique onto the towels with invisible thread. I got the idea of using invisible thread from Sarah London’s Crochet Love book (she calls it monofilament thread). It worked really well. You can’t see the stitches at all! I didn’t sew the ears of the cows onto the towel – I think it’s cute that they stand out and can be played with as you dry your hands…. not that my Dad would want to play with cow ears, but I like to give him the option.

Hubby came up with the idea of blanket stitching along the bottom in green yarn so that it would look like grass.  I think it looks great and really “pulls everything together” – that’s a direct quote from Hubby. Such a clever husband!!

I really like how the towels turned out. I just hope my Dad feels the same.

(P.S. If you read this post and you know my Dad please don’t spoil the surprise.)