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One of the top patterns I wanted to do this month (October/November 1992) was the placemats. Not because we actually use placemats, we don’t, but it seemed quick, easy, and we do love a table centerpiece. I decided to make one using cotton yarn so that it could also function like a hot pad and we could be a little less careful about how we used it. Plus I have a nine year old boy, and cotton washes easily. 

So I sat down with a big cone that I had in my workbasket and have been playing around with, a random sized hook from my basket that was close to the suggested size (with only making one gauge wasn’t very important, a bigger table center is just a bigger table center) and I got to work. 
The first mat, yes I said first, took me about three hours of relaxing work on Sunday afternoon. It worked right along until I got to row 8, then the pattern seemed a bit, well, wrong. In general instead of beginning certain rounds with “in the back loop only” there was a note at the very beginning telling you to do that only on certain rounds. I had a hard time remembering which rounds to do that, but again, one table center didn’t matter. At round 8 though it went from a nice oval to very football like, with pointy ends, but I finished it and with a small amount of flattening, it worked okay. It has a tendancy to curl up a bit. 

My son loved it! “Mom! Did you make this?!? You should make some more!” So I sat down again with my cone, actually got the proper sized crochet hook, and started a new one. Had to properly test the pattern, couldn’t blame the curling on it when I used a different yarn, different hook, and only made one. 

Again it was tricky to remember “back loop only” and also I noticed the sample in the photo does not seem to follow that direction at all. No visible “back loop only” work shows in the photo. Got to round 8, once again had to make sense of it, and again it became very footballular. (I know that’s not a word, but that is exactly what happened.) I toughed it out. And finished a second one. 

(I didn’t weave in my end yet, because it’s bedtime here and I’m typing this while my kid gets ready and I figured I can weave it tomorrow and sneak it past you today. Only I’m also very honest and am giving myself away.)

Again, it takes a minute to flatten and get the curls out. If I flop either of them down on the table (such as I would to actually set the table on any given day) this happens:

So I won’t be making more, and I won’t be whipping up batches to give to placemat using friends for Christmas. This project was a flop. 

Also, I probably will be making more. I’m willing to bet my son will argue that since there is three of us there should be three placemats, no matter how much curling there is. There’s that honesty popping up again. 

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  1. I’m enjoying your Workbasket blog, hope to see more! I’ve got a stash going back to the 40s, and they’re so interesting to read (even the ads).

    Maybe blocking the placemats with heat would work? I’m not sure; I’ve got a scarf with one corner that does the same thing.

    1. Author

      I think there is an error on that one line that causes it be misshapen a bit. We don’t use placemats anyway, so they’re as likely to get used a bit curly as they are perfectly flat. Lol There will be more! All lined up my issues take about 5-6 feet of shelf space! This blog could last for years!

  2. Nice first post and review of the pattern. I prefer the older Workbaskets too. The magazines from the 1940s and 1950s are so much fun to read. Sorry the pattern didn’t work for you. I imagine that like magazines today, some of the patterns had typos or omissions.

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