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Friday, October 26, 2012

Crochet Table Cloth

Remember how I was telling you about crafting out of anxiety?  Well, enough anxiety and enough time on your hands will certainly give you a good, handcrafted product that will last a lifetime.  To wit:  my crocheted table cloth for the kitchen.

A few years back, Mr. FC&G was on one of his extended projects out of town during the winter.  I hate these projects, although they are essential if we are planning to eat and pay our bills.  But not only do I wind up missing Mr. FC&G terribly while he is gone (in this case, 12 days away and 2 days at home, repeated for weeks), but the days we have together are a flurry not of togetherness but of trying to prepare him for the next march through 12 hour days.  He would come home and crash while I would do laundry, try to fix a few meals he really liked, and package homemade snacks and leftovers he could put in a hotel room fridge so that he didn't have to eat every meal out and possibly could get some rest.  In the meantime, he would be gone and I would work and keep up the house and then spend my evenings crafting to keep my hands busy.  The result, this particular time out, was a new table cloth for the round table in the kitchen.

The beauty of this project was that I didn't try to do any specific pattern.  Instead, I got a pretty patterned yarn and simply crocheted in the round until I had the size I wanted.  If you don't know how to crochet in the round, there are some good explanations out there.  The basic idea is to chain 4 stitches and join them.  Then, in the first go-round, you put two new stitches in every existing stitch in the chain.  Put in a stitch marker to know where you started.  Then, in the second go round, you put one stitch in one previous stitch and two stitches in the next previous stitch.  In the next round, it is 2:1 (two single stitches, then one double), then 3:1, and so on.  Pretty soon, you find yourself doing things like 80 single stitches, then a double, then 80 more singles, and so on.  This is, however, generally the right amount of increase per round to keep things from buckling up, although you can adjust if you sense things are getting wacky on you.

The project ate up a lot of time, and it ate up a lot of cotton yarn, too.  I really lost count of how many balls of yarn it took.  You'll see in the analysis that this isn't a winner on speed or cost.  But I have a thick, handmade tablecloth that protects my table from hot pans and will probably last my entire life.  And it was fun to make, which counted for a lot on a long, lonely winter.

The Analysis

Fast:  I calculated that this took about 200 hours of crocheting, which is roughly 400 times the amount of time it would have taken me to drive to the grocery store and buy a $15 round tablecloth.

Cheap:  As I say, I lost count, but it took many balls of yarn to finish.  I did fold the cost into the weekly grocery budget (because our grocery store also sells the kitchen cotton yarn), but let's say it cost at least 10 times as much as that standard off-the-rack table cloth.

Good:  But I'd do it again!  I might very well, as a matter of fact.  It was relaxing to do, and it is by far my happiest-looking and sturdiest table cloth.  Sometimes, you just do a project to prove that you can do it yourself.
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