|Blissful crochet on the beach.|
Back in 2013, I designed a very personal and special tricot* project which had a few extra challenges and learning opportunities.
There was a glimpse of this project in its early stages in an earlier blog post ("Crochet Idyll"). If you want to go and have a quick look, I will wait here until you return...can you guess what it might be?
|Brighton–Seacliff beach, South Australia.|
It was part of a wedding gift for a couple who loved the beach so much that they proposed and got married there!
|The wedding overlooked the ocean|
The newlyweds are both artists so I knew any artistic efforts of mine would be appreciated. I decided to make something unique and personal that can also be a keepsake of their wedding day and my inspiration was the beach–their favourite beach: Dee Why, New South Wales.
|The northern end of Dee Why beach, New South Wales|
Dee Why has a long sandy surfing beach with a lagoon and conservation area to the north, a rocky headland to the south and a surf club in the middle!
|Dee Why is a popular surfing beach.|
This is the view in front of the surf club.
|The southern end of Dee Why beach.|
There is an ocean pool for safer swimming.
Can you see the greenery on a rise behind the pool?
A short walk beyond it will take you up a steep hill
to a grassy reserve atop a cliff where the wedding took place.
|The grassy reserve cut into the cliff-face.|
This picture was taken before the wedding when the chairs etc.
(bottom-left corner) were being set up.
|Decorations were simple: recycled jam jars, filled with posies,|
suspended by white ribbon from a white, wooden stand.
A small wood and wire fence was the only thing separating us from the awesome Pacific Ocean and the rocky cliff-face below.
It had to be:
- practical so it can be appreciated regularly and not a source of useless clutter in the couple's small home
- small in size so it is easy to post (in case my travel plans cancelled due to health issues)
- personalised to their style
- able to be used as a keepsake and memento of this special time in their lives
What kind of item fits that criteria? I pondered and pondered …
… until I came across Kim Guzman's "Summer's Day Placemats" pattern in Interweave Crochet's Summer 2010 edition. A set of placemats is perfect!
The artistic couple have an interest in 'pop art' so I wanted to incorporate modern styling with blocks of bright, solid colour.
Plainly, the beach is a very important place in the lives of the happy couple so I created a scene from Dee Why beach, their playground and home turf, to remind them of their romantic proposal on the sand and their beautiful wedding ceremony.
|Northern end of Dee Why beach.|
The sandy dunes protect the lagoon behind them which is a sanctuary for wildlife and an important breeding ground for many bird species. The lagoon has an outlet to the ocean at the northern end of the beach.
Critical questions about the placemats:
- What size will they be?
- How many will I make?
- What should the fibre content be?
- Which crochet techniques and methods will be best?
- How much time do I have to complete them?
I wanted to make at least two placemats; maybe add a third one in a smaller size or different shape for their
|I used a combination of 4 ply cottons:|
Milford Soft Knitting & Crochet Cotton
Natural Soft Crochet & Knitting Cotton
I chose 100% cotton–easy to launder and able to withstand the heat of oven dishes. Heavier cotton would be nice and thick but 4 ply cotton would allow a finer level of detail in the stitches. The most available cotton with the largest colour range was a 4 ply which became my final choice.
For a thick placemat, I considered using thicker cotton or making a double-sided mat (2 layers) but I really like the sturdy texture of tricot* and, with Kim Guzman's "Summer's Day Placemats" to inspire me–she uses tricot stitches with a double-ended hook–my decision was settled.
Tricot stitches work up relatively quickly once you get into the rhythm. I especially love the speedy reverse pass because it makes me feel like a crochet whiz–perfect for meeting a wedding deadline.
|Time to create!|
A plethora of notes, scribbles and design ideas.
I hadn't been to Dee Why since I was a small child. Online search tools found recent photographs of the beach and local area and these were invaluable. You can see them compiled in my notes (above) for reference.
|These are the colours of sunrise at Dee Why.|
I love the solid brights with their passionate depths of colour.
My final design represents sunrise at Dee Why. I could have created plain stripes of afghan stitch and be done simply and easily but …
… I wanted the placemats to be more than just coloured stripes–they needed to express the particular features of Dee Why.
|A test swatch is a great way to try out |
different stitches and experiment with design ideas.
It is also a useful tool for finding the right tension
and making gauge calculations.
This was accomplished with different tricot stitches and I relished the technical challenge of featuring a diagonal line across the horizontal bands.
It was a great process of learning and discovery. The technical details deserve a blog post of their own and I will post that soon. Until then, enjoy the photos which document my progress …
|Stitch selection is also important for the reverse side.|
I wanted the placemats to have an even texture underneath.
|Getting started: the bottom edge is already curling up.|
This is normal for tricot fabric because there is more bulk at
the back of the stitches than in the front.
Not to worry–the curling issue will be sorted later.
|Further along: using an intarsia method to manage colours|
and loving the 'beachy' feel of this scheme.
|Crocheting the placemats concurrently to maintain consistency |
in size and tension so they will match.
I don't want a placemat version of 'second sock syndrome'!
|Using colour and texture to evoke images of sunrise over water.|
The placemats are waiting to be bordered and embellished
Can you see the waves breaking on the sand
in these placemats?
in these placemats?
The whole idea was to make a set of 'breakfast placemats' so wherever the married couple find themselves in the world, they can relive their morning surf and strolls together at Dee Why.
Dee Why beach in New South Wales sees the sun rise.
Brighton–Seacliff beach in South Australia sees the sun set.
I will finish this post where it began: at Brighton–Seacliff beach.
|Sunset at Brighton–Seacliff beach, South Australia|
'Tricot' is a term used by Australians to describe crochet based on 'Afghan stitch' and also known as 'Tunisian' crochet in other parts of the world. The older generations tend to call it 'tricot' and the younger internet-surfing generations tend to use 'Tunisian'–a reflection of United States dominance on the web, perhaps? All that matters is that we all know what we are talking about and that's the form of crochet that uses a tool that looks like a long knitting needle with a crochet hook on the end instead of a point. I am curious about how the terms became adopted, especially since 'tricot' is a French word which means 'knitting'.
Manthey, Karen, Brittain, Susan & Holetz, Julie Armstrong, Crocheting for Dummies, Wiley, Hoboken NJ, USA, 2010
Eckman, Edie, Around the Corner Crochet Borders (150 colourful, creative, crocheted edgings with charts & instructions for turning the corner perfectly every time), Storey Publishing, North Adams MA, USA, 2010.
Guzman, Kim, crochet designer: www.crochetkim.com
Guzman, Kim, "Summer's Day Placemats", crochet pattern, published in:
- Smith, Marcy, [Editor], Interweave Crochet magazine, Summer 2010, Vol. iv, No. 2, p. 72, interweavecrochet.com, Interweave Press, Loveland, Colorado, USA 2010.
- Rexroat, Toni, [Editor], 4 Free Tunisian Crochet Patterns plus Tips on Basic Tunisian Crochet Stitches and How to Tunisian Crochet, e-book, Crochet Me, web site, www.crochetme.com, Interweave, Loveland Colorado, USA 2012
- Ravelry project page: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/summers-day-placemats
Knight, Erika [Editor], Basic Crochet Stitches: 250 to Crochet, Harmony Guides series, first printing, Collins & Brown, London, UK, 2008.
Patons, Woolcraft, vintage booklet, no date, Australia, c. 1978.
Turner, Pauline, How to Crochet (the definitive crochet course complete with step-by-step techniques, stitch libraries and projects for your home and family), Collins & Brown, London, 2001.
Dee Why Beach
Beachsafe, Surf Life Saving Australia: https://beachsafe.org.au/beach/nsw314B
Google Images: https://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=604&q=dee+why+beach&oq=Dee+Why&gs_l=img.1.0.0l10.3126.5693.0.8922.214.171.124.126.96.36.1999.990.2-4.4.0....0...1ac.1.64.img..2.5.993.HnjqKUr4GEo
Surf Cam, Coastalwatch: http://www.coastalwatch.com/surf-cams-surf-reports/nsw/dee-why
Related Posts on Lupey Loops
"AKA Amigurumi Apparel: Bondi Bikini", 11 February 2016: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/aka-amigurumi-apparel-bondi-bikini.html
"Crochet Idyll", 6 March 2013: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/crochet-idyll.html