Wednesday, April 27, 2011

n Stitches to the Power Of Fancy

I am slowly but surely building my repertoire of stitches and with each new stitch I learn the possibilities for new patterns for bookmarks and other items expands exponentially.

As of last week I had these stitches down:

  • chain stitch
  • slip stitch
  • single crochet
  • half double crochet
  • triple crochet
  • shell stitch (clusters of single, double or triple made in a single space and not bound at top sometimes with a single chain stitch separating two equal clusters, usually three or four, which creates a fan shape)
  • crossed (single, half double, double or triple)
  • inter-weave (where a double crochet is alternated with the next size up or down and the taller stitch is wrapped around the post of the stitch below)
  • Solomon's Knot aka Love Knot
  • picot (basically a chain of 3 to 7 with the top attached to its base forming a tiny loop)

I learned a new crochet stitch this week and made a new item. The stitch is called The Trinity Cluster and the item I made is a dish rag It could also serve as a pad for setting hot dishes down on though not for pulling hot pans from the oven or setting down a pan still hot enough to scorch fabric which is why I hesitate to call it a hot pad.

I made it specifically as a dish rag though as I am in need of something smaller than the thick bath wash cloths my MIL has been using as dishrags since her dishrags became too raggedy. The heavy terry of those wash cloths and the size of them make them difficult for me to handle--hard to keep a grip on them while wiping dishes and hard to squeeze the water out.

I probably have a touch of carpel tunnel or some other repetitive motion injury to my hands and wrist from the excessive crocheting, typing and mouse work

The density and texture of the stitch makes the fabric useful as a scrubber safe for those special pan surfaces that don't handle metal scrubbers. It probably doesn't have the strength of a nylon pad but for those lightly stuck on materials on glass and plastic that won't come off with a simple wipe of the cloth but don't really need a heavy-duty scrubbing pad I believe this will work.

I made it only six inches square which is smaller than a typical dishrag and larger than a typical scrubbing pad. I wanted to be sure it would be small enough for me to ball up in a single fist to squeeze out excess water.

I recognized the potential of this stitch for this purpose as soon as I saw it on page 126 of Teaching Yourself Visually Crocheting.

I decided to make it out of bamboo thread for its anti-bacterial properties and for its ability to resist absorbing fluid. This should eliminate that sour stench that often emanates from cotton fibers just hours after first use on those warm summer days.

At least I'm hoping so. I will be testing it out before I make any more.

I used Aunt Lydia's size 3 Bamboo in Cruise Blue. And for the edge I used Aunt Lydia's Twig size 10. I hesitated to mix the two sizes and would have preferred to use the size 3 for the edge but the Cruise Blue is the only color I have in size 3. I ordered it only because they didn't have that color in size 10 and it is one of my fav colors. A pale aqua. I thought the dark brown really popped next to it. Now I only hope that the smaller thread on the edge won't fray a great deal faster than the other.

Here are the directions for the Trinity Cluster:

With loop of last stitch still on hook, stick hook into the same space as the last stitch and pull thread through. With two loops on hook stick hook in next space and pull thread through. With three loops on hook stick hook into next space over and pull thread through. With four loops on hook, yarn over and pull loop through all four loops. Then yarn over and pull loop through single loop aka make single chain to close cluster.

If you are making a row of clusters the next one is begun in the same space as the previous one finished. With the loop of that closing chain stitch still on hook repeat from top of last paragraph.

For whole rows of Trinity Clusters the first and last stitches of the row are single crochet. The turning chain is one chain.

For patterns the starting chain needs to be a multiple of two plus one. Before starting the rows of Trinity Clusters though you work a row of single crochet across the starting chain.

Tomorrow I should have pictures of the finished silk shawl and the baby afghan with most but hopefully all of the fringe attached to one side. I have nearly 3/4 of one side attached. Now that I've solved the several issues keeping me from proceeding on it the work is moving fairly fast. Not as fast as the row work of course but faster than the first half dozen of fringe pieces which several frustrations had me believing the fringe work would take as long as all 155 rows.

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