Friday, 18 October 2013

Crochet placemat

My daughter and son-in-law, newly married, have just moved into a rented town house.  (In Canberra, a town house is a medium density house, usually in a complex).  It is quite new, and although they have furnished it rather nicely, it still lacks that personal touch.

It came to my attention that they would probably appreciate a few hand made items in their favourite colours, to warm the place up - perhaps place mats? a table runner? . . . maybe a decorative cloth on top of their lovely new stainless steel microwave (a wedding present), so they can put other things on top without scratching the surface (eg their salt and pepper grinders)?  

In line with their expressed favourite colours (she loves green and he loves red), I have made a pair of placemats that could also be used as toppers.



Voila!

I based these placemats on the Lion Brand South Beach Washcloth set pattern.  

I found the original pattern (which is in US crochet terms) to be easy and well set out, and it was not difficult to adjust the pattern to my needs.  In fact, I reckon the original wash cloth pattern could be modified as a basis for anything you like - for example, a table runner - or you could follow the source pattern exactly and make attractive heat pads or wash cloths.  I have set out the modifications I made for my placemats, below.

I really like textured weave of the stitch, which is simply half-trebles (half dc) alternating with slip stitches.  According to my Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches, this stitch combination is called 'Crunch Stitch'.  It found the stitch to be a very relaxing, uncomplicated stitch to crochet, and my placemats worked up quickly.


Placemat pattern variation (converted into UK terms) - based on the Lion Brand South Beach Washcloth Set pattern

1. Choose three colours in 8 ply (double knit) cotton washable yarn.  (I used a cotton acrylic blend).

2. Using your main colour, chain 47 stitches using a 5mm hook.

3. Switch to a 4mm hook.  Beginning in the second ch from the hook, slip stitch into back bump, htr into next stitch, continue to last stitch (which will be a htr into back bump).  Chain 1 and turn.  

4. Slip stitch into first stitch, htr into next stitch, continue to end of row.  Complete another 8 rows of the main colour.  

5. Cut yarn and join second colour, completing 3 rows in that colour.

6. Cut yarn and join third colour, completing 2 rows in that colour.

7. Cut yarn and join second colour again, completing another three rows.

8. Cut yarn and join main colour again, completing as many rows as you need to make the 'middle' of your item.

Then work the pattern back the other way, i.e., repeat steps 7, 6, 5, and 4, then an extra row of the main colour at the end as the equivalent of step 3 (which was your first full row).   Weave in ends.

My Tips:

  • Crocheting into the back bumps of the starting chain creates a nice even edge that makes it easy to work a border, if desired.  I personally like the look of these placemats without a border, but it's always good to have options!
  • Having all the new colour joins along one side of the work made the pattern beautifully symmetrical with a neat 'right side'.
Have a sunshiny day!

Nandina

UPDATED: Just a quick edit to add a pic of the heat pads I have made to complement the placemats - using the washcloth set pattern exactly.

So without further ado, here they are!



Cheers

Nandina







Thursday, 10 October 2013

Springing into action

I know, I know, it's not Spring everywhere in the world.  But it is just delightful here, and I hope these pictures from my Spring garden cheer you even if it is not Spring, and please pardon my self-indulgence.


A quince flower tinged in pink . . .


Teeny tiny plums have formed . .





Fried egg flower, erigeron, calendula and coleonema, all flowering madly . . .


The first rose to flower this Spring . . .


and the first columbine (aquilegia) . . .


And finally, triumphant blue spikes of sage.  Love 'em.

Spring is short here - the hot winds of Summer make their inroads all too soon, so it's no wonder my Spring garden is rioting in heady celebration.

BTW, I have sidetracked briefly from crochet scarves - but only a bit.  I saw some lovely cotton yarn, and had a brain storm.  I will fill you in in my next post.

Have a happy and peaceful day.

Nandina