It started with cold brew bottles… My husband and I had purchased cold brew coffees to go, and they came in these adorable flattish glass bottles (kinda like a hip flask for whiskey). After we finished it, being the magpie that I was, I brought it home thinking I’d have use for it someday.
Somewhere along the way, my daughter was given a small bouquet of flowers for her school
graduation. And being the magpie that SHE was, she didn’t want to throw away the bouquet after the bigger Eustomas had wilted. So I carefully untangled the smaller dried flowers (I think it was baby’s breath), and re-purposed the cold brew bottles as vases.
It turned out that I loved those whimsical stalks of flowers much better than huge arranged bouquets. And I got to thinking how else could I personalise these bottle vases to make them more interesting.
The first edition of upcycled bottle vases was made using those cold brew bottles and smaller tomato juice bottles. I envisioned a very minimalist and classic collection, in ecrus & light greys, that suited the scandinavian home decor style. The yarns I used were lace weight ones, very thin and wispy, and I had to combine 3-4 strands of different yarns for more depth.
After experimenting with various stitches, I found that I had to stick to designs that didn’t have a very big pattern repeat so as to match the proportions of the small bottles. Also since each bottle was differently shaped, I had to figure out how to crochet around it each time. Needless to say, there was a lot of ripping and undoing, but there was also a huge sense of achievement after each bottle was completed - like solving a puzzle.
I’ve never been a person who appreciated flowers. Give me chocolates or a tube of lipstick any day. But as I did my research on ‘bottle vases’ and ‘bud vases’, the ethereal and delicate arrangement of small vases struck a chord with me; and I aspired to be able to replicate them.
So, as can be expected, I soon started hoarding glass bottles and jars in anticipation of future collections. I find it so meaningful that I’m able to reuse these bottles and create something beautiful and functional with them - it’s totally in line with why I founded byiroiro.
My second edition is a special one for Lunar New Year 2024. I was inspired by the traditional colours of Chinese New Year, the yellow-golds of ingots, the oranges of mandarins; but wanted to infuse a more contemporary vibe. Since Lunar New Year also signifies the beginning of the Spring Festival, I mixed in pretty pastel pinks & lilacs of flowers in Spring.
With this collection, I wanted to portray the joyous clash of colours that is signature CNY, where nothing really matches and yet all comes together for that festive atmosphere. I employed a technique where I created my own random striped yarn by cutting off various lengths of yarn & joining them with knots. Once crocheted, these stripes formed lines of random mixed colours seamlessly flowing from one to the next.
Soon, neighbours and friends who noticed that I liked to crochet around bottles, started leaving their bottles on my door-step. I now have 2 boxes of varying shapes of glass bottles and can’t wait to transform them into vases.
The third edition (which I’m still working on) is something that I’ve always wanted to do - the papery texture of raffia is my favourite yarn medium to work with; but I wasn’t sure if the stitches would show up properly against glass surfaces.
I’ll share more about my experiences with the raffia collection in another post soon.
In the meantime, leave me a comment below if you’d like to see other editions of these bottle vases!