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We had some unseasonal rain here in Hyderabad (where I’ve been visiting for the past few weeks). What I made will not protect against that. It’s entirely decorative, with very little practical application. Only the “Ooh” factor.

Knit lace parasol

Doily on a frame

I’ve long been watching all the gorgeous crochet parasol patterns whenever I come across them, and been wanting to make one myself. I didn’t think I ever would. Then inspiration struck. I’ve been using this modified shawl as a tablecloth on the coffee table in Kochi. I removed it after Chandra began “cruising” (walking with support), because I was afraid she’d pull it off and fall. Not too many eyes view it anyway, or appreciate it. So I thought I’d put it on an umbrella frame a la crochet parasols.

I thought about finding a large enough empty frame, but didn’t. After coming here, though, I saw an old grandfatherly type of umbrella my father had, its original silk slightly moth-eaten, and it struck me as ideal for the purpose. From the thought to the deed took only as long as it took to sew the lace to the spokes, after ripping the silk from the frame. The central cast-on was sloppy enough to allow me to simply poke the top through. I wondered if I should let the excess lace droop around the spokes, but then decided against it.

Instead I ran some spare yarn through, tightened it, knotted it and wove the ends through. And there you have it.

Something I made that actually looks like art! I wish I could get a larger audience for it, though! I think not enough people noticed it in Chandra’s birthday party, stuck as it was over a light above the mouthwatering dinner spread. Plus I was too busy hostessing to point it out to people who’d appreciate it. I think I shall tell my mother to carry it around when she goes out in the summer. She was after all, partly responsible for me doing this, by asking if I could make a crochet parasol like one she saw at a saree exhibition once.

See the frame

Side on

ETA: I only realised now that I haven’t linked to my Ravelry project page on this post. Remedying that right away.

White Atlantic

Sometimes I surprise myself with how deluded I can be. Something told me I’d be able to do this, despite having a fairly recently born baby and my natural indolence. So when the designer posted looking for testers, I jumped right in with both feet. I finished a week over schedule, but the designer was understanding.

Pattern: White Atlantic (Rav link) (well, mine is pink, but it was the only fingering weight I had in enough quantity) by Julia Riede. I can’t see if you can buy it outside Ravelry, I’m not sure how it works.

Yarn: Unbranded fingering weight acrylic, about 150 gms. The part I like about acrylic (in addition to its ubiquity) is that I can kill it once and for all after the piece is done. We aren’t looking for warmth, after all.

Needles: 2.75mm

Size: While the pattern is for a stole-width object, I ended up more scarf-ish. I could perhaps have gone up a needle size or two.

Time: About 4 weeks, but I wasn’t full time at it.

Extras: My first time making something which had a central provisional cast-on which you later undo and work the second half from. I used a crochet cast-on, of course. The improved method shown here. It’s become quite my favourite method when dealing with a larger number of stitches. It was also the first time I did the popular feather and fan pattern.

White Atlantic

I found the body pattern slightly challenging, in the sense that I couldn’t work without a chart. I was also doubtful about the borders and edging, but a chat with Julia cleared that up.

I like to learn something with every project I make, so the working from the centre and the new stitch patterns in this made it worthwhile.

I must mention that being at home with my mom means I have no work to do, hence all the knitting I do. Just so you don’t think I’m superwoman or anything close.

Serenity

Motherhood might be supposed to confer serenity on the mother. Not on this one, sadly. However, that’s not something I want to dwell on in the blog, given that I blog so less as it is.

I did achieve Serenity, though, in the form of this blanket.

Pattern: Serenity (direct pdf download) by Laura Wilson-Martos (Rav link here). I think it was my largest knit lace, one that had been on my queue for a while (in my mind if not on Ravelry). It went very well, with only one or two unimportant typos (such as a misplaced bracket). I only flagged slightly in the eyelet section, tiring a bit of the endless-seeming yo k2tog, yo k2tog. Otherwise I like the pattern and wouldn’t mind a re-run. My project page is here. I like working lace from the centre. It gives you better control over how big the final product is, especially when your yarn is limited.

Yarn: Aslan Trends Class, a cotton-acrylic blend which has worn well in use and two handwashes. The yarn was a gift from a Rav friend who I met when she visited Kochi with her husband.  White may be seen as foolhardy for a baby blanket, but we are using it as a show blanket, only used for public occasions. I like the feel of the yarn and the stitch definition but was not enamoured of the way the shiny strand causes the other strands to twist around it, creating what is called worming, I believe. Also, I had an issue with my stitch markers snagging on the yarn (for which I am close to a solution now, having found some neon-coloured smooth rubber bands; they are rather large, perhaps I will find some smaller ones at some point). I used nearly all of 4 skeins.

Needles: 4.5mm. I believe I was supposed to do the first few rows in a smaller gauge and then move to the larger, but I couldn’t be bothered. It doesn’t seem to have made a difference.

Size: 44″ square. It’s a good size for swaddling.

Time: Thick yarn makes for fast lace! About 3 weeks, perhaps because of the eyelet zone.

Extra: I’m proud of this FO. It’s gotten me several compliments as well.

I’m considering a crochet blanket but cannot settle on a pattern. I have this one and another knit blanket and feel my other craft should be represented as well. Either regular crochet or Tunisian…I have a sportweightish cotton which I lugged back and forth to Hyderabad a couple of times already. The days of travelling light are far behind me, I fear. The last two times I paid enough for excess baggage to almost buy another ticket.

Oh yes, I’m now at home in Hyderabad. Anyone dropping in?

I sometimes wonder if I’m going to become a semi-split crafter. Most of the time the only thing that appeals to me in crochet increasingly is thin thread and therefore mostly doilies and lace, while with knitting  I can still manage the bulky cables.  I think of a pattern in crochet and run through the yarns in my stash mentally, and then I shudder at the bulk and density of the probable result. Many projects get shelved even before I take hook to yarn. But doilies – no problem. The lacier the better and any thread will do.

My mind is prejudiced for knitting as being thinner in general than crochet, so it feels as though yarn = knitting. Perhaps it is the general climate of where I live. I can’t really say. Can’t feel it matters, even.

So what’s my point? Nothing. Just thought I’d record what I’ve been thinking for a while now.

Now I’m going to drown you in crochet lace. Doilies, four of them. Run now if you can’t stand the things. Two are filet, and two non. I really enjoy filet, especially in the round.

Japanese filet pattern

This first one is from a Japanese publication, Living with Beautiful Crochet, published by Nihon Vogue. European and Asian crochet lace is always entertaining. Here is my Rav project page for it. And the Rav pattern page. Apart from the fact that this one begins in the centre and is worked outward, I loved that the final row is smooth, picot-less and with no jagged edges. The steps usually formed in filet patterns are my downfall, because I can never quite get them crisp, while picots anyway are a bugbear. This worked up at 24″ with a 1.5mm hook and the thread is a nameless lachha (hank) that has amazing yardage (@Rs 15). I raided Jaishree’s stash for this, since I was visiting her when the itch struck and I believe I hadn’t taken any of my WIPs with me. To ensure I had enough thread, I may have grabbed rather more than I should have, so naturally I had to find another project for the rest of the thread.

Stardust filet doily

This one appealed to me immediately for its unusual shape. I just love how filet uses filled-in and vacant blocks and lacet stitches to create the illusion of shading in just one colour. This is the nearest I’ll ever get to painting or any other creative endeavour. Here are my Rav project page and pattern page. Filet also apparently goes quicker for me than other charted patterns, since you get into a groove counting off the blocks and rows. I enjoyed the bilateral symmetry of this design, which I believe is a vintage pattern and has several sources, including a free download at Freepatterns.com (you need to register at the site, also free). With the same 1.5mm hook, this one’s 18.75″ x 21.75″.

Both these have gone under the plastic on my dining table. I have a vision of making enough different doilies in white and then crocheting them together to make a tablecloth. No idea if it will ever come to fruition.

The next couple were sort of commissioned. A friend wanted a doily in beige or cream, so I made this one.

Clockwork white (cream)

It’s actually called Clockwork White, and is from Magic Crochet magazine #60, June 1989, designed by Chantal Chevalier. As you can see, it has the dreaded picots.  I used a 1.5mm hook with Jyoti thread for a finished size of 20″, but possibly could have used a 1.25mm one for better density. My project page is here, and the pattern page here. Unfortunately one of the stitches caught some colour from something else that ran, so I put this aside to make another one.

Starflower

I chose this one for the unusual design, this time from Decorative Crochet #5 and it’s called Starflower, by Mayumi Sato (see, Japanese again). My project here and the pattern page on Rav here. The petals at the centre were made by a technique new to me, and the doily overall took longer than I anticipated to make. I used the advice of a fellow Raveller, and used a measuring tape pinned to the centre to make the circle mostly uniform in diameter (25.5″ with a 1.25mm hook, density of stitches much better).

We were chatting about blocking and decided we need to have bedsheets pre-printed with concentric circles and squares so blocking becomes easier 🙂 I use my spare bedroom bed for all my blocking. Failing pre-printed bedsheets, we could always mobilise an old plain sheet and use tailors’ chalk to make the shapes. This doily’s gone to its recipient now.

So there you have them, my last four doilies. The filet ones remain my favourites. How about you?

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