Irish Crochet Cushion Cover - Part 3

I'm back!

Progress on my cushion cover has been slower than I anticipated, but that's really not because the crocheting itself is slow. Working the clones knot background is actually fairly quick, and had I omitted the clone's knots to work a plain netting, this would have been an even quicker project.

Even though it is relatively quick, the clones knots really do take the bulk of the time in making this and they also eat up yarn. Keep that in mind if you choose to use them but are concerned that you may not have enough yarn to finish the project. I just think that the clones knots are so pretty and I love the dimension they add to the fabric - I'm happy I used them in this project.

My slower-than-anticipated progress is mostly due to the fact that life has been so busy with the move and the settling in and the dozens of other competing priorities right now that I need to juggle.  Which is really no different than anyone else - who really has the time to knit or crochet as much as they'd like?  Not even a crochet designer!

I've probably worked on this about 5 or 6 hours since my last update, and a good hour or so was taken up by hand sewing the padded rings together into clusters in the upper part of the design.  Had I had a definite plan on how I wanted to configure them, I could have just joined them as I crocheted them, but I kept them separate because I wanted the flexibility to change their configuration as I progressed.

Probably my biggest lesson learned since my last update had nothing to do with crochet at all but with how to properly pin the motifs.  Working with a fabric stuck with tons of pins is a bit like trying to pet a prickly porcupine. I suffered my share of pin pricks until I discovered a trick to bury the pin points.  

In the photo above I've inserted the pin as I had been doing previously.  But that sharp pin is just waiting to poke me as I work.

The key is to sink that pin tip BACK into the fabric.  With no pesky sharp points, the work is much more enjoyable! I think pins are the easiest way to position motifs or put the netting under tension as it is being built.

I should also add that I am placing my work on a hard surface as I work, either a table or a tray depending on where I am.  I think you need either a hard surface or a embroidery loop for this kind of work in order to keep things enjoyable.  So the pins poking out to the back are not posing any danger.

In my last post, I promised to talk about how I did the scalloped border.  As I mentioned in my first blog post in this series, I crocheted this border following a vintage pattern for Irish Crochet work, but used it with the scallops facing inward instead of outward.  I crocheted the inside grounding edge using the same basic pattern I'm using for the background:

sc to scallop picot
ch 3 (or more depending, up to 6)
work a clones knot
ch 3 (or more depending, up to 6) 

    As you can see in the photo, I'm attaching to the two outside picots on each scallop.

    As I worked around the edging, I crocheted to the BACK of the picot.  What this means is that I didn't insert my hook through the front to the back of the picot to join it to my background trellis. Instead, I inserted my hook through a thread on the surface of the BACK of the picot to attach my trellis stitch.

    In this way, I assured that the picot stitches would retain their dimension on the right side of the work.

    Working the corners of the border was a special case.

    Here I chose to modify my basic trellis pattern by adding a tr stitch to attach to the middle picot as you can see in the stitch diagram overlay in the photo below.

    The corner is worked with a ch 3, clones knot (not on the diagram), tr to the middle picot, then a chain 3.

    The snapshot above shows a completed corner and how I integrated in with that corner clones knot to create the corner fabric.

    Because the border itself is such a structured pattern, this area of the background trellis was probably the most orderly.  I think that in crocheting the grounding of Irish Crochet work, the crocheter can make a decision about whether they want to go one of two ways with the background trellis:

    Crochet a uniform background. These projects look as if the motifs were laid upon a uniform grid and then the grid was cut out of the fabric to accomodate the motifs.  This approach requires more skill and although I have done it in some portions of the work, I have not done it in others. What this means is that my result appears more like the next option.
    Crochet a more freeform-appearing background.  This approach is much more forgiving and is a great choice for a first project.  Although this is the approach I went with, you can see that I followed general guidelines in creating the grounding and that I had a basic pattern that I was following.  It wasn't just a free-for-all.  I had a basic plan.

      I'll talk more about both options in my next blog post and show examples of each.

      In the meantime: don't be shy about asking questions or just posting a comment to let me know what you'd like to see in my next post.  I've gained momentum with the project and am closing in on the finish line, so I don't anticipate more than 2 more posts to share my progress and my insights as I complete project.