Time to start finishing son's friend's mom's tablecloth

sheilajoyce_gwFebruary 10, 2008

As you all may remember, I volunteered to finish a cotton thread crochet tablecloth for a classmate of my son's. His mother died last fall, and in cleaning out her things, he found a start of a crocheted cloth and returned to school looking for someone who will finish it. When I heard the story, I volunteered. He did not have the pattern or any more crochet thread.

Someone here found the pattern from the pictures I forwarded from my son. Thanks again! So I am ready to open the box and look at what I have committed to for the year. I have the measurements for the son's table, and will finish the cloth to fit it. The cloth consists of motifs that are repeated, lots and lots of them, so it will be easy, though tedious, to make it large enough for his table.

Since I do not have her crochet thread or know what she used, I will find whatever looks like a closer match from what I can buy locally. The cloth is stained, etc, so when it is finished, I will wash it and tea dye it so it will appear to match throughout.

Wish me luck. I dislike making so many motifs over and over again, but I told him this would be his graduation gift from the moms. I doubt I will finish it in time for June, not even setting June as a goal.

And I will put it aside as friends' babies arrive and need layettes. It will get done eventually. I spent a couple of years making a crochet thread banquet cloth for myself, so I know I can do it.

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Sheila, this is a wonderful thing that you are doing and I know he will appreciate it. I found setting real deadlines got me crazy. About 25 years ago I wanted to finish two crocheted shawls for Mothers Day - it got so bad that I calculated how many inches each day I had to crochet to get them finished. I finally said when they were done I would give them to our moms - they received them the middle of June that year since I took the pressure off myself. These are still in use today as they were passed on to other family members when our moms died. I am sure he will be thrilled to receive it whenever you finish it.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 4:17PM
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Remember, though...tea dying won't cover up spots...they'll just get incrementally darker, and still 'read' as spots...you need to remove the spots or at least lighten least lighten them. I'd suggest you treat them with something like Nancy's Vintage Soak, which is made for fine linens and silks....it will certainly NOT harm cotton as it's made for fabrics 'too precious' to bleach. (Some spots take up to 3 days to be removed, but I've had very good luck with it).

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 12:54PM
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Thanks for the suggestion, Sandra. Where do you buy it?

I opened up the box, and this is what I discovered. The motifs are made with what looks to be size 10 thread, though the pattern calls for a size 20. It has been washed, and the stains are there because I think she used it on a smaller table as is. So now I need to really study it, and then getting the gauge right will also entail washing the sample to allow it to shrink too and then see if it is the same size. It is made of a cream colored cotton thread, and I don't see that in size 10 in our local stores, only a white and a deeper ecru. But I guess I will start shopping around to see what I can find. This is becoming even more challenging.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 1:16PM
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Sheila, I ordered it somewhere online...don't remember where, but you often find it in better quilting shops, too......and, it would be good to 'work' on them before you continue. In lieu of Nancy's...if you can't find it...I'd try waterless handcleaner (the white goo mechanics wash their hands with..but NOT the one with pumice...too abrasive). Work in well into the spot, back and front so you get it well through the whole thing.... let it sit for at least 20 minutes, and then wash. You may need to do this several times....it works with the most recalcitrant spots! (after all, this isn't really fragile fabric, like silk....it's cotton, so you should be able to really WORK on the spots.) But, any spot left will just be darker, if you tea dye the whole thing later, so it's good to get them out now....or at least lessen the darkness of the spots.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 3:09PM
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I have also used the "Goop" for stains and it works well. I remembered though that when the kids were babies, there were always those stubborn spit-up stains. A friend suggested and I tried it (it worked!) - soak the garment in a solution of warm water and dishwashing powder plus a tablespoon of bleach. I used the bleach sometimes but not on most colors - I only used the dishwashing powder and the warm water. To this day, (kids are now 29 & 31) I use this to get rid of stubborn stains. I also use it to soak those roasting pans that have baked on gunk! You may want to try this on one of the motifs and see how it works. Brand is not important. I use the tabs in my dishwasher but I always have some store brand/sale powder in the house for soaking.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 11:00AM
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I have done the same, Susan. When all else fails, good ole Cascade works. That is how I get my holiday tablecloth white again if I have stubborn stains.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 5:59PM
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sheila, you did not mention if the table cloth is rectangle or round. could you just put the motifs together that you have already and then finish the cloth from there with what other materials you can find to use. thanks, vicki

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 2:16PM
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I think Vicki's idea is a very good one, as I doubt you'll ever be able to match the old with the new colored thread...so, far better to use the old together, as the center of the cloth, and then use a obviously differently colored thread to create the surrounding, new addition...so, don't try for a 'close' match...I figure it's be noticeable..if the center is off white, use a light tan in the new thread....in the same color family, but VERY different.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 9:47AM
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The motifs are connected as you make them. She connected the motifs in a kind of jagged or incomplete circle and used the cloth and laundered it. I have to mend it where thread has torn in the chains of "webbing" that connect the motifs. I bought cream thread, and I hope it won't look too bad. I will mark her motifs in colored thread and make them the center of the rectangular cloth. I may skip the tea dying and let him decide if he wants to do it and include instructions.

I ordered thread, found one that will work, made sample motifs and washed and dried them to shrink to see how well I can match her gauge. She crocheted very, very tightly, so I am using a much smaller hook and making the stitches as tight as I can.

I am now ready to go. Took a break to make some Baby Surprise Jackets and a layette for a new baby. I will let you know how it is going.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 6:23PM
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Well, I backed up after discovering the thread I thought would work was a lot darker, which is ok, but it was not as thick as the thread his mom used. Now, after consulting him, I am making the new motifs in white thread which is a better match for the thickness of hers. Both are size 10, but threads do vary a lot at that. I hope to have it done without too many interruptions, but I think that is a pipe dream.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 4:10PM
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Just cling to the thought that this is a GOOD thing you are doing for this young man. It's a priceless gift!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 6:19PM
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