Midnight Star Tablecloth

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a project report, so I thought I’d share one of my more ambitious past projects. Lately, I’ve been working on shorter-term projects like scarves (and baby stuff), so it’s kind of fun to take a look back at some of the things that took me ages to make.

MidnightStarTablecloth1

This pattern is the Midnight Star crocheted tablecloth that’s available for free as of this writing – just follow the link from Ravelry.

MidnightStarTablecloth2

The tablecloth is made from a bunch of repetitive motifs, which I chose to connect with a join-as-you-go method. Before I began, I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how I was going to lay out the stars. I made the tablecloth especially for an oval table, which complicated things a bit. Once I decided that the tablecloth would be uneven, with slightly longer overhangs near the curves of the table, it all came together.

MidnightStarTablecloth3

Motif projects like this are enjoyable because once you’ve memorized the pattern, the process becomes almost meditative. This project’s motifs look more complicated than they are, so the pattern wasn’t too tough to memorize.

MidnightStarTablecloth4

I used size 10 Aunt Lydia’s crochet thread in natural since it’s available in huge skeins. As you can imagine, this project ate a lot of thread very quickly. For a long time, I avoided counting the total number of stars needed for my layout (soooooo many), but the final count was 123.

MidnightStarTablecloth5

My husband and I went on a trip while I was working on this project, and I took thread with me so I could continue making motifs during our travel days. I just stopped the motifs before the last round and left tails on the motifs that were long enough to complete the last round. Then I connected the motifs to the rest of the tablecloth when I got back.

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In this last photo, you can get a better idea of how the tablecloth hangs over the corners vs. the sides where the chairs are positioned. I’m really glad to have made this heirloom-type piece to break out for special occasions. When I entered it in the fair contest, it earned a first place ribbon. It doesn’t get much use (and with a little one on the way, I imagine it will remain in a drawer most of the time), but it’s one that I’m proud of.

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In My Stash: Knit Picks Curio (Silver and Ash)

Can you tell that I love thread projects? They’re 1) extremely portable, 2) easy to store 3) delicate-looking and visually impressive. Naturally, this love of thread projects means I go through a lot of thread – most recently, KnitPicks Curio.

Curio

It’s a two-ply, #10 cotton thread – a great gauge for doilies, centerpieces, and bedspreads. It’s soft when you’re working with it, but it definitely holds its shape well when starched and blocked.

Curio

I recently used up most of my stash of Silver (the lighter shade) and Ash (the darker shade) Curio on a table runner project. Pictures to come. I’m a big fan of gray – especially when used in multiple shades on the same piece.

Curio

The thread has a wonderful lustrous quality adds to the effect of a heavily textured piece. It just feels nice to work with, which is a pretty big deal when you’re spending months working on a single detailed thread crochet piece.

Curio

My only complaint is that there aren’t more colors to available – I’ve used most of them by now. Some nice turquoise/teal/aqua shades wouldn’t go unappreciated. 🙂

Curio

What’s your favorite brand of crochet thread? I’m always looking for new types to try.

Curio

Project Roundup

Wow, what a complete whirlwind! The past few weeks have been exhausting, but completely fulfilling from a goal achievement standpoint. I completed a major  project at work, it turned out fantastic, and now it’s time for a nap. 🙂

Because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t felt much like working on projects recently. I did gather up 10 projects to enter in this year’s contest, however. Here’s a sample of the entries:

Mother's Day Centerpiece

Monica Shawl Free Knitting Pattern

Endless-Love-Doily

Crocheted Lollo African Flower Bear

Donna-Patricia-Kristoffersen

Rose Table Runner

A couple of years ago, I made a thread crochet table runner with special significance. But let me back up to share the inspiration behind the project first.

The flowers below are from my wedding bouquet. Hydrangeas were one of the first things I picked out for my wedding. I actually took a sprig of hydrangeas to the store when choosing the bridesmaids’ dresses to make sure I found the closest color match. Those flowers + ivory roses = a wedding bouquet that I’d still pick if I had to do it all over again. I’d pick the guy again too, by the way. 🙂

Wedding Flowers

Fast forward to when my crochet hobby really took hold, and I wanted to make something that reminds me of those special flowers.

Rose Table Runner

So I started making a table runner with ivory roses on a field of light blue.

Rose Table Runner

The pattern is actually for a pot holder – the Beauty Rose pot holder pattern that’s available for free. (I made a centerpiece using the same pattern with different thread colors.)

Rose Table Runner

I just omitted the backing that the pattern calls for, and turned the squares into join-as-you-go motifs. I also created an edging for the table runner by using the same stitch patterns that are included within the motifs.

Rose Table Runner

The thread is Aunt Lydia’s #10 crochet cotton in Delft Blue, Frosty Green and Ivory. The blue looks a lot brighter in photos than it does in person – in my opinion, it’s actually a pretty close match to the hydrangeas.

Rose Table Runner

Handmade items are sentimental in and of themselves, but this one is made even more special due to its inspiration. Do you have any handmade items that are particularly significant to you?

Victorian Romantic Pineapples Centerpiece

With Christmas far in the rearview mirror… Valentine’s Day, you’re up. 🙂 Here’s a sweet centerpiece project that I completed last year. The Romantic Pineapples Doily is a lovely textured project by Jo Ann Maxwell. (And currently available for free!)

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

My thread of choice was Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. As with most shades of Curio, I found this thread to be darker in person than it appeared on screen. In the case of this project, that was a good thing. I will say that I’m ready for some new color options, pretty please.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 5

The pattern includes large openings, so there’s no chance to hide uneven stitches within dense fabric.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Reviewing these photos now, I definitely could have spent more time on the blocking – or at least straightened it up a bit for the photo shoot!

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Cluster stitches add texture to the piece. I especially like the ones that outline the pineapples. Just be sure to count carefully. Not that I, er, discovered that by experience. Ahem.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 2

The stitch pattern that makes up the hearts (and adds the “Romantic” element) are simple yet clever. Again, I think a bit more blocking is needed here to smooth out the top curves of the shape.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

It’s a lovely pattern, and one that I’ve actually made twice so far. I’ll share pics of my second one in a later post!

Snowflake Ornaments

I’ve started seeing Christmas projects popping up on Pinterest and other blogs (in fact, I’m months behind by craft store standards) so I thought it was time to share a few ornaments that I made for the contest this year.

Crochet snowflake ornaments

The contest rules for this category specify that you have to enter a group of three. Last year, I made three identical angel ornaments in different colors. This year, I opted to use three different patterns (all by the same designer – Deborah Atkinson) and give them the same color scheme.

The first one (pictured below) is called the 3D Crystal Snowflake for Mom. I think this one is my favorite.

3D Crystal Snowflake Ornament

The second one is called Mother’s Day Snowflake. I got points knocked off for less-than-stellar blocking during the contest judging, and looking back I agree with the judges’ critique.

Mother's Day Snowflake Ornament

The third snowflake ornament is the Water Lily Snowflake. I wasn’t sure how well this pattern would work in my color scheme, but I like it.

Water Lily Snowflake Ornament

After completing the ornaments, I soaked them in a mixture of water and craft glue. Then I blocked them on my foam mats, with a layer of plastic wrap in between to keep the glue off of my boards. (Sorry for the horrible photo and lighting – it’s the only shot I got.)

Blocking Snowflake Ornaments

The thread is Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Cotton, size 10 in natural, and Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. To hang them, I just use the simple wire ornament hooks that are available (one billion to a pack) in the holiday decoration aisles. Overall, these got third place in their contest category.

Crochet Snowflake Ornaments

Try, Try Again

As much as I’d like to share a post about a successful project that’s DONE (on the heels of my failed attempt to salvage an old project), here’s another cautionary tale. This time, it’s about the importance of counting your stitches when working crochet in the round… even when your pattern doesn’t provide a stitch/chain space count for a particular round. Especially when the pattern doesn’t provide a count. Do the math. Count the stitches.

If you zone out during a simultaneous Netflix/crochet session (ahem), you’ll make a rookie-level mistake that costs you hours and hours of effort. See that out-of-focus loop in the center of this (terribly blurry, so sorry) snapshot? Yep, that’s one skipped stitch that completely wrecked the tension and counts on every subsequent round.

Skipped Crochet Stitch

Which means all of the off-white stitches in the photo below have now been frogged – a process that took twenty minutes in itself. It’s times like these that it’s important to remember that the process, not the finished product, is what I really enjoy. 🙂 So help me feel better about this – what frustrating crochet/knitting mistakes have you made?

Table Topper