Variations on A Theme: Fiesta Table Mat
Almost two years ago, I started playing with a shell design while I swatched for something or another. I realized that when I changed colors every two rows, the shells sort-of looked like flowers. Actually, I must have been playing with my Lacy Shells Hat Pattern at the time. The lace pattern reminded me of papel picado (cut paper) and I thought it would be a great decoration for a summery fiesta. I was living in Montana, mind you, and freezing– so the idea of margaritas and colorful paper banners was a distant–but welcome–memory. I thought the pattern would make a nice scarf, table runner, or blanket (in order of time/effort and yarn required to crochet such things!) but settled on table runner. I sent off my magazine pitch and waited.
In the meantime I stitched the blanket seen above from the same basic idea. I made it for my grandma, who had just moved into an assisted living facility. I enjoyed every minute of working on it, because I could do so pretty mindlessly. I designed it so that virtually every stitch is worked into a chain-space, rather than into a stich. The foundation chain is created with chains and taller stitches that combine to form loops as-you-go, so that you can count these loops and easily change the length depending on what you are making. I love patterns like that- let’s face it, they’re just simpler, because you can crochet by feel, and you can use them as a jumping off point. At the time I was helping my sister and nephew with their upside-down life and I needed something relaxing. I used some lovely leftovers of Tahki Stacy Charles’ Cotton Classic along with my other cotton scraps. I had just completed the manuscript for Crochet Adorned. TSC donated a lot of yarn for the stitch dictionary (thanks again!), and I had little oddments everywhere. I really loved the blanket, and so did my grandma. It only took about a week for it be stolen- SIGH- but I would give it to her all over again.
As it turns out, my proposal was rejected. I’m telling you that to let you know that’s part of designing life! My ideas get rejected all of the time–and it sucks–but I loved this idea, and even though it is relatively simple, I didn’t want to let it go. I sat on it for awhile, and used it to show off some Plymouth Ecco Cashmere (laceweight) that I couldn’t resist buying. I made a little airy collar/cowl with it, in a solid color. I wanted to see how far I could get with one skein–so I made this piece AND one knit airy scarf–that way customers could see it in both crafts.
And then I stumbled on Inside Crochet magazine, and saw my golden opportunity to re-submit the idea. They liked it, and we picked out some new yarn–Queensland’s Bebe Cotsoy–then off I went to create my runner. It was just as enjoyable to crochet this pattern yet again. The pattern is available (in British Terminology) in Issue 9 of Inside Crochet, where it’s also suggested that you could double the yarn and make a rug! There are so many possibilities, I’d love to see what you come up with.