Friday, August 19, 2011

Surprise! (It's no longer a secret...)

I can finally unveil the secret project I've been working on since the spring...

It was a crochet lace tablecloth for my mother. She turns...well...a certain age today and we got together to celebrate.

Ok, well, I tried to be polite, but I really have to tell you her age because it became the theme of our presents. My sister, Patricia, had the idea that we should all give Mom something that would somehow reflect the idea of "70." However you wanted to interpret that. It's not like Mom is in need of anything specific, and we knew she would enjoy seeing what each of us did with the theme.

Patricia herself made a wonderful photo book listing 70 things that Mom loves. Books, travel, grandparents day, balls, organizing things, etc, etc.

Anyway, you get the idea. The idea I finally settled on was to give a lace tablecloth made up of 70 motifs. Although she doesn't make anything of this sort, Mom has always enjoyed dressing her tables and appreciates the work of others. I searched for a pattern and found one I liked on Ravelry. It is a vintage pattern from at least the '30s.

After starting, I realized that there was no way I could finish it in time. Each motif was taking me two hours and I had to do one a day plus the connecting motifs. That was not going to happen!! With a little figuring I worked out that I could make it 5x8 (40) and count the connecting motifs (28). That would make 68 parts to the tablecloth.
If I added a doily to hang in a window:
and a loose doily that would look lovely on a round mirrored tray/stand she has,
that makes 70! Hurray!

You may have already read some of my adventures with this project. Now that it's done (and won a blue ribbon at the county fair!), I have forgotten all about those troubles. Ok, except my disappointment with the yarn itself. I had a hard time finding the right stuff and settled for something readily available from Joann's. I used three (1000-yard!) cones and no two of them were the same. It severely affected my gauge and the look of the units. The cones are wrapped in plastic when you buy them and there's nothing like a dye lot, so I had no idea how I was supposed to tell which was a good one and which a bad one. It was frustrating.
But I blocked the tablecloth with some pins on my ironing board and steam from the iron and it has pretty much evened out.

It was a big project to finish in a busy summer, but I had time for much of it during our vacation week. Troy didn't make me drive too much and I kept at it pretty steady. (I was prepared to submit it to the fair one row short and to finish it afterward, but I had it all done thanks to that vacation.)

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Project Stats
Started
: 29 May '11
Finished: 28 Jul '11
Pattern: Star Wheel by the Spool Cotton Company (free)
Materials: Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet (Size 10), 3 cones ($14.40)
Oh, yes, I was going to share one more thing. I really debated when this all started whether it was worth keeping it a secret on my blog. Mom's only access to the internet was my sister, Bonnie, who was living with her at the time, but who then moved into her new house. I thought, "Mom never reads the blog; I don't need to worry about it." I really thought about it when I was showing the fair results. But I played it safe and blocked out the item (although Patricia, who knew what the secret project was, thought it was pretty obvious anyway).

And what do you know! My mom calls Monday night of the fair and tells me how her sister showed her not only the fair results post, but also the previous post that laid out every single item I was entering. They were traveling together and had time to look through the posts. I don't think Mom even thought about the "secret item" (she certainly didn't mention it), but I'm glad I went ahead and blocked it.

And sorry, Maria, the secret project was not for your new Ella-baby. I hope you weren't counting on it! (So much intrigue over a little thing. But what's life without a little intrigue?) Ella will be getting this trio of bibs:
Can you make out the monkey on the white one?
A project so super secret I didn't even mention it! How's that for intrigue?

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