Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DIY - Your Furniture Loves the Holidays, Too!

The Holiday Season has arrived!

Actually, it turns out I completely overlooked at least one holiday already, for Eid al-Adha is over. As I’ve been informed by a family member in Pakistan, the sheep has already been bought, slaughtered, and made into mutton stew for everyone to share. So, many apologies to my Muslim readers, and I hope you had a wonderful Eid!

But Christmas is still coming, as is Hanukah, Al-Hijira, Kwanzaa and Yule. So chances are you’ve been thinking up ways to show your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them.

But have you given any thought to your furniture?

I’m delighted to announce that my good friend Hind, of Alexandria, Egypt, has just completed a TV scarf, reminding us all not to take our hardworking furniture for granted.

For close-ups of Hind’s beautiful TV scarf, and tips on how to create one for yourself:

I love the colours she’s chosen. Much more elegant than the original options of “White and Nile Green” or “White and Chartreuse”.

Hind writes:
Thank you for posting this lovely pattern, which is also very correct and the instructions are easy to follow. I made only two little changes in the seventh round of each motif. First I made 8 chains instead of 6, with a slip st in the 6th ch from hook to have a 5 ch picot. Then I made 3 ch stitches between the dc stitches. The 5 ch picots are much easier to work than the tiny 3 ch picots. They make a distance between the motifs which shows them at their best.

When I joined the square motifs, I worked as follows: ch 2 for picot instead of ch 1, sc in corresponding picot of the other motif, ch 2, sl st in dc as instructed, twice. Join the 2 middle picots with hdc to give more space for the inside curve. Join the last 2 picots with a sc. The picots of the small round joining motifs are also made of 5 ch and are joined with sc. The motifs will seem a bit wavy at first, but after blocking they will be completely flat.”

Hind has also shared with me some really interesting tips on blocking with starch.

She wrote:
“I use starch when I block my cotton doilies. I do not use pins anymore; it is easier to stretch the starched wet doily on any flat surface (except wood). When it is dry I separate the sticking threads of the picots by putting the tip of a knitting needle inside the little holes.”
When I mentioned to her the difficulty of finding laundry starch in my Canadian grocery store, she responded:
“Here in Egypt, the ordinary, cheapest kind of starch is rice starch - the same kind used in making pudding. Rice is part of the daily food for everybody, so when I need to stiffen something and have no starch, I boil a little bit of rice in much water until it becomes very soft and sticky. I leave it to cool a bit, and pass it through a sieve. I use the water only, the same way as I would use starch. With starch it is easier, I boil half a glass or a cup of water, and stir a spoonful of starch in the other half. I pour the mixture into the boiling water and stir it until it becomes thick. If it is too thick, I add a little more water and let it cool a bit.

I wash the doily first and put it wet into the starch. After squeezing it a bit, I pull it with both hands from all sides, and put it flat. When it is half dry it becomes very easy to re-model. Even minor faults can be corrected then. Another very good stiffening material for darker colours, like beige and ecru is bran. It is used the same way as rice water.”
Thanks to Hind’s very clear instructions, I’m definitely going to try starching with rice water. I love the idea of being able to use items I already have around the house to finish my projects.

Cheap is good, but practically free is even better!

And look how happy the starched scarf has made her TV!

No, really. That’s its happy face. I think.

Hind also shared some more helpful hints regarding the TV scarf pattern:
“I wonder why the pattern instructions demand that the reader break the thread after the 4th round, and rejoin it again for the 5th round, just to get the hook inside the 7 ch corner scallop! It can be easily done without having to cut the thread, this way:

Begin the 4th round with a ch st and a sc over the last stitch of the previous round, before making the 7 ch scallop. At the end of the round make only 4 sc and slip st into the already done sc. Slip st into the scallop and begin the 5th round.

After the doily was finished, I found that it was not firm enough because of the spaces between the motifs. They needed a border to bind them together. This is how I made it:

1-With the dark colour sc in a picot, ch 3 sc in next picot, ch only 1 between the two middle picots of each motif. Between each two motifs ch 5, sc between the 2 joining picots, ch 5.
2- Make a round of 2 sc in every 3 ch space, 3 ch.
3- Make a round of 'Crab stitch' which is sc worked from left to right like this: 1 crab st in 3ch space, 3ch, 1 crab st.”
I looked up Crab stitch, which sounded intimidating, but it turned out to be the same thing as a reverse single crochet. Crab stitch is by far the cooler name though.

Finally Hind pointed out that, while the TV scarf is very pretty:
“ seems that TV's are just like people, everybody has his own style. The Chippendale looks better as a doily, on a table.”

So, as is often traditional during holiday gift giving occasions, the TV has swapped scarves with the table. After all, it’s the thought that counts, and what’s a little re-gifting between friends?

The important thing is that all of Hind’s furniture is properly dressed for the winter!

Now, what about yours?


  1. Yes, naked tv need to be covered, naked fridge so, and naked vacuum cleaner, and naked power drill etc.
    All we need is doilies.

  2. And don't forget your gun! Your gun needs to be kept warm, too. ;-)

    (It's not a doily, but it's still crocheted!)

  3. That gun cozy is...obscene. 8-)