Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Inexpensive cotton ribbed place mats can look a lot better with a bright colored crochet edge. And that's what I did. I edged two mats with leftover multicolor cotton yarn, each with about 3 hours work.

The black mats were dollar store finds. But, at home after an initial wash , I realized that they were really too narrow to serve for table settings . What's worse, the edges didn't want to stay flat after laundering, and I simply DON'T IRON things like tablecloths, place mats, and napkins. I was disgusted. I definitely didn't like the mats on the table. I simply put them away and, eventually, used one as a decoration on a shelf. It looked OK there.
But then I reminded myself that I had bought the two and that they were supposed to be place mats. So, I decided to do some mat-improvement strategy. From there, I looked at place mats in an Internet search and found some pretty ones with crocheted edges.

 I wanted a regular edge, not a lacy one, something that could take a lot of wear and wash nicely. That meant a medium weight cotton yarn would be the best bet. So, for the yarn, I chose a ball of cotton yarn with variegated colors - in beige, rose, and magenta. The yarn was a happy find in my yarn stash bag.  And, to my mind, the mats looked very well dressed up with the crochet rows I added. The cotton yarn I used is sturdy and washable and no doubt will be cherry and bright a long time after the mats become faded and limp.
Supposedly, the standard sizing for table mats is: 14 in. x 20 in. The ones I made, with edging and all, still came short of the standard and measured in at 12 in. x 18 in. They were somewhat smallish, but, happily, big enough for the undersized dining table that I have.
The total cost was $2  for two mats, plus what was something less than a ball of cotton yarn (less than $3 when purchased new). So, the total project cost of two mats was less than $5. I think that's a good price because the nicer store-bought place mats can cost as much as $5 each.

Set a prettier table with dressed up place mats.
I'm pleased with the results of my efforts and I'll probably make 2 more so I can, occasionally, set a 4-person table. ( Luckily, I was able to find 2 more in a quick run to the dollar store. But, as you probably know already, it's always best to buy ALL the materials for your projects at once. Otherwise. you're asking for trouble when you try to locate more of the same materials in subsequent store searches.)
- Cotton ribbed place mat or any mat that has a wide enough weave to allow for easy crochet hook use.
- Crochet hook with a number of about 1.5 (so that you can easily pierce through fabric)
- Cotton yarn
- Scissors

Crocheted border
Pierce fabric about a quarter inch from the edge and knot.

Then do a single crochet, maintaining the quarter inch base, all the way around the mat. Use three passes in single stitch at the corners. (That's a way of easing in the transition from one side to another.)

With that crocheted base, you can add any border you want. There are many good videos that show how to make different kinds of crocheted edges.

I chose to do a four-link chains between stitches on the second row. It looked pretty good after that  row but I decided to continue on. I liked it even better with a third row of chains that connected in the middle of the second row chains.
I also made three passes in single stitch to ease in the corners of the second and third rows.
Sometimes, it's better to put only a 3-link chain to compensate for differences in stitch spacing. That occurs, now and again, and is especially likely when nearing the corners.


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