Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quiet Time

Quiet time... or What I Did This Summer....

This is a mat from Treasures in Crochet, Book 296 from Coats and Clark, 1981. It isn't named, although I think of it as the optical illusions mat. These are nine lucky-clover-shaped motifs joined together; see in the center it looks like four circles? I didn't crochet any circles. Makes me smile! The mat was a special request from Gryph, who saw the pattern on the cover of the booklet and asked for it. Someday there may be more motifs added, but for now I am on to Yule gifts.

The main doily hasn't been blocked yet and REALLY needs it--tis the center of a round tablecloth, extremely lacy, and bigger than I can smooth out without a blocking board. It's actually what took up most of my crocheting time this summer, before I made Gryph's mat. Once I block it, there will be a pic.

I'm calling this one "Gothic Arches" because the original name really didn't suit it. It's from a free 1947 pattern I found called "Spiderweb Lace" that I cannot find now *blink* who knew it could disappear in a week? Well, anyhow, here are two sites for free patterns.

This edging was QUITE the challenge for two reasons. The first was that the publisher evidently assumed a high skill-and-experience level on the part of the crocheter, and the second is that it was meant to be sewn into fabric--most likely pillowcase seams. Giving it finished edges on the sides was a challenge, and so was getting it to block properly.

The way the pattern was written, the center loops are done first, then the entire bottom half is done, turning each row and working back and forth. Then the top half is done in the same manner. It was extremely awkward and I wasn't satisfied with the way it came out, especially since, in order to make the 7-chain strands arch properly the pattern called for "long treble crochets" to make the fans.

Now I ask you, who can keep the gauge consistent, motif to motif, row to row, top to bottom, when it calls for something so nebulous?! So I rewrote the pattern.

It wasn't exactly successful. *wry smile*

You can see that my attempt to make the 7-chain strands arch properly was not best served by the changes I made--look how those motifs skewed! I used double trebles to keep the gauge consistent, but I also worked in rounds rather than back and forth.... and you can see that I didn't realize I had an even number of loops in time to correct it. (That's an easy fix when you're working back and forth; you just undo the few extra stitches when you come to them.)

I think the worst problem with this experiment is through the center. One reason the motifs skewed the way they did is that the center is rigid and has no give to it. As far as I can tell, that's because I worked in rounds.

So, in the version which is on my hook now, I am making the center loops my way, a long row of them to fit my desired measurement (and definitely an odd number, I counted twice!) and I am working back and forth in rows, but instead of "long treble crochets" I am using quadruple crochets. We'll see if I have to take this one apart as many times as I did the other two!

Oh! And I bought "Cebelia" thread from DMC.... ohhhhh my.... I have never used such nice thread before! Now I see what the price difference is about... no fuzziness, no splitting, just smooth tight thread all the way. Tis like heaven!

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