Jim just finished his eighth chemo treatment Wednesday, and I knew he would be pretty much flattened Friday, Saturday, and today. He has found that he doesn’t have the energy to read or watch TV when recovering, but he can listen to audiobooks. So two weeks ago we listened to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Part 1, on 16 cds. I had never been into Tolkien at school, and had found it impenetrable to read. But listening has been a revelation–it’s made to be listened to. So we settle in, and I imagine we are in a mead hall, and are listening to a bard tell of heroes and great deeds. It has helped the time to fly by. This week, I borrowed Part 2, which has 14 cds, and knew that I would need some sort of needlework project to keep my hands occupied as we listened. I had enjoyed making the Granny Afghan Table Mat (Feb. 22 post), and decided to make another mat, just for variety. I found a pretty motif in The Craft of Crocheted Afghans by Liz Blackwell, and went to a local craft store to look at yarn. Red Heart Eco-Cotton Blend, made with 75% recycled cotton, looked good, and I chose a cool, heathery linen shade called “Linen Marl.” “Marl” refers to the appearance of a mixture of earth and clay. (Had to look it up in the dictionary!)
The motif used here has two big pluses–it’s pretty and it’s easy, with only three easy-to-remember rows. The main thing is to not get freaked out by the presence of the treble crochets, and the double-treble crochets, which sound frightening, but are not. If you can do a double crochet, you can do these stitches. With a double crochet, you yarn over once, with a triple crochet, you yarn over twice, and with a double-triple, you yarn over three times. (See exact instructions below). So they are not difficult, though if you are a total, complete beginner, I would try the Granny Afghan Table Mat first.
One thing about learning this motif is that you could re-think it and use it other ways. You could use a thin crochet cotton and make a lacy mat for your dresser. Or a long row could be used as a shelf edging.
This mat has a chameleon-like quality, as it could work in a number of decorating schemes, whether country or modern, and has a bit of a Scandinavian vibe. It would even work in a Hobbit’s burrow! (Sorry, I am immersed in Hobbits right now.)
Eco-Cotton Table Mat
Materials: Two balls of Red Heart Eco-Cotton Blend and crochet hook size H. This makes 15 motifs–the mat is 12 x 21″.
dc = double crochet; tr = treble crochet; dtr = double-treble crochet
Ch 6, join with sl st to form a ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 3, in ring work 2 dc, ch 7, (3 dc, ch7) 3 times. Join with sl st to top of ch-3.
Rnd 2: Sl st in each of next 2 dc and under next ch-7, ch 3, under same ch-7 work 2 dc, 3 tr, 5 dtr, 3 tr and 3 dc; under each remaining ch-7 work 3 dc, 3 tr, 5 dtr, 3 tr, 3 dc. Join as before.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, through back loops only work 1 sc in each st around. Join with sl st to first sc. Fasten off.
Crochet under any yarn ends, and tug the edges of each motif with your fingertips to help flatten it. Then, one by one, place each motif face down on an ironing board, and steam the motif flat with a steam iron. Cotton behaves very differently from wool–it will flatten nicely and there is no problem with felting. Let each motif cool off and dry flat. Using a large needle and some of the yarn, sew the motifs together. To do this, place two motifs right sides facing each other, and sew four or five stitches of each rounded portion together.
Note: As you crochet in each ch-7, adjust the stitches so they are positioned evenly.
Triple Crochet: Yarn over hook twice and insert hook through stitch. Draw yarn through (4 loops on hook). (Draw yarn through 2 loops) 3 times.
Double Triple Crochet: Yarn over hook 3 times and insert hook through stitch. Draw yarn through (5 loops on hook). (Draw yarn through 2 loops) 4 times.