Monday, July 28, 2008

Wedding Gift

A friend from my knitting group got married last week. Earlier this Spring, when I learned I was invited, I decided it was only fitting that I give her and her husband a handknitted gift. It had to be something for both of them. I knew Emily was planning to knit them handtowels, so I looked for something else they could use for their home.

At about the same time, I noticed this pattern for crocheted placemats in one of the Berroco Spring pattern booklets. The pattern called for Berroco Naturlin. I could have substituted Knitpicks Cotlin, as I did for the moss stitch handtowels I knit for Katie and Brian's wedding. Naturlin is a new Berroco yarn, and my LYS carries it. It's nice and shiny and still cheaper than Louet Euroflax.

I started crocheting the first placemat mid-May. It's a simple enough pattern, but I managed to do it wrong... The pattern says the placemat is crocheted “from side to side”, which I interpreted to mean that the foundation chain was on one side and that as you crochet the placemat is already at its full depth and grows in width all the way to the other side. The way I understood it, the borders would attach to the foundation chain and the last row. Well, it turns out that “from side to side” means that each row goes from one side to the other (!) (isn’t that always the case? why the need to specify?). The foundation chain is supposed to be at the bottom of the placemat, and you crochet until you get the desired depth. Borders are then supposed to go on each side, perpendicular to the foundation chain.

My first clue should have been the fact that after a few rows my work was over 15 inches. Instead of wondering how my gauge could be off by that much, I just unraveled it and started over with a shorter foundation chain. I only realized my mistake much later, and I decided it didn't really matter. Of course, I did the same thing for the second placemat so they match. If you compare my placemats to the pattern photo, you’ll see that the stitch pattern in the center panel is rotated 90 degrees in mine relative to the pattern. The result looks great anyway: a rectangle is a rectangle...

My other modification to the pattern (this was a deliberate one) is the addition of a border of (sc - ch1) along the top and bottom edges. I think it gives the placemats a cleaner look and helps smoothen the contrast between the border color and the center color.

The Naturlin yarn was a little rough to the touch and contained some plant matter, but it softened nicely after blocking without losing any of its beautiful shine.

Pattern: Randolph, found in Berroco #273 Naturlin (Spring 2008)
Yarn: Berroco Naturlin. 4 skeins of main color (6310 Mate) and 1 skein of contrasting color (6325 Cinnamon). Used all of the main color yarn, and only a tiny bit left of the contrasting color.
Hook: 4.0 mm (G)
Started: May 14, 2008
Finished: July 21, 2008

I would knit these again. They make a great "on-the-go" project, because the pattern stitch is the same for every row and easy to memorize. In fact, I have more Naturlin in the stash for a housewarming gift...

Deidre liked them, and seemed to already have plans for them.
The wedding was lovely, and Deidre and Joel looked very happy. Congratulations to both of them and best wishes for the future!