The Spring Flowers Table Mat, with an opening in the middle for a candle or vase, is a bright and colorful example of a technique I call “Crocheted Flower Fabric.” It’s very simple. You crochet flowers or other motifs, arrange them in the shape you like, and then sew them together.
The inspiration for Crocheted Flower Fabric came from Irish Crochet lace. “Collar in Wheels, Roses, and Leaves” was a project in one of my favorite books, Irish Crochet Book No. 2. It seemed the perfect project, since at the time, I was not very confident in my ability to join motifs the traditional Irish Crochet way, with a crocheted mesh background. The collar’s motifs were joined by stitching the edges together with sewing thread.
In the late 1980s, I made the “Collar in Wheels, Roses, and Leaves” to go around the neckline of a dress. The linen thread I crocheted with was much heavier than the fine thread the Irish Crochet lace-makers used in the last half of the 1800s. Doesn’t the fuchsia fabric show the motifs well?
Years later, I used the same technique of sewing crocheted motifs together in my Roses Poncho. This colorful, woolen garment is a very, very distant cousin of the old Irish Crochet lace. The motifs are “Oval Center Rose,” “Simple Fives” (both sizes) and “Rose Leaf,” all from Crochet Bouquet (Lark, 2008). The roses are mostly out of wool from Harrisville Designs. I used leftover yarns for the other flowers and leaves.
The best things about Crocheted Flower Fabric are:
gauge is not very important (it’s true!),
it’s a stash buster, because you can use many weights and textures of yarn together,
you can shape the fabric any way you want.
Are you ready to make Crocheted Flower Fabric? Here are general instructions for a simple Crocheted Flower Fabric project. Please use the projects shown here as inspiration for your own one-of-a-kind flower fabric creation.
You will need:
A variety of yarns in colors for flowers and leaves
Hooks to achieve desired gauge with the yarns you have
Crochet Bouquet, by Suzann Thompson (Lark Books, 2008) or other patterns for crocheted flowers and leaves
Medium or heavy-weight fabric to make a template, or a garment you want to copy
Safety pins, one or two per flower and leaf
Sewing thread in a shade that will blend in with most of the yarns you have chosen
Scissors, sewing needle.
1. Choose a project and construct a template from fabric. For pieces like table runners or doilies, the template can be cut in the exact shape of the project. You can also use a blouse, vest, or other garment as a template.
For the Roses Poncho, I sewed a template from a commercial poncho pattern.
I tried a rectangular and heart-shaped arrangement of flowers before settling on a doughnut shape for the Spring Flowers Table Mat. To make the template, I traced around a pizza baking sheet for the outside. The center hole is the size of a cake plate.
2. Crochet a variety of large, medium, and small flowers and leaves. Lay them on your template from time to time, to see how many you still need to make. Make lots of small flowers, because they are best for filling in gaps.
As I mentioned above, the gauge is not very important. You can use many weights of yarn. I tend to choose flat flowers for my projects, but your choice will depend on what you are making.
3. Arrange flowers and leaves FACE-DOWN onto template, making sure the edges touch. You can put in lots of flowers to make the fabric dense, or fewer flowers for a lighter fabric. Crochet more flowers if you need them.
4. Using safety pins, pin flowers and leaves in place.
If you use a garment for a template, slip a piece of cardboard or newspaper inside, to stop pins from catching all layers of the garment. Pin flowers and leaves to one surface before turning to the next surface.
5 Use sewing thread to sew flowers together wherever they touch, making three or four stitches in a couple of threads at the surface of each flower. DO NOT sew all the way through the flowers.
Tack (make a couple of small stitches to secure the thread) before going on.
If the next pair of touching edges is close, take the thread just under the surface of the crochet to the correct spot. Otherwise, cut the thread close to the fabric and start again.
The sewing thread usually sinks into the yarn, so you can’t see it. Since you are sewing at the back, the thread will not show in the front.
One more thing: sometimes, after you have used your Crochet Flower Fabric project, you may see that one or two flowers are not quite in the right position. Carefully snip the sewing thread, pull the stitching out, reposition, and sew in place
And now to use my new table matâ€¦if my daughter will give it back to me, that is. She thinks it’s a collar!
My Irish Crochet Book No. 2 is a reprint by House of White Birches (1984) of an older book called The Priscilla Irish Crochet Book No. 2, edited by Eliza Taylor. You can download this book free at http://www.antiquepatterns.dreamhosters.com/TaylorPrisIrish2.pdf. You can find many more Irish Crochet patterns to download free at http://www.textilefusion.com/bookblog gives more ideas and projects that use crocheted flowers. Suzann will teach an Irish Crochet workshop at the Taos Wool Festival in October 2009. For more information, go to http://www.taoswoolfestival.org