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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Recipe for a Towel Topper

Over the past 3 or 4 years I have given my mom towels for the kitchen as a Christmas gift.  Each year she loves them.  Maybe it is the practicality of them or the handmade-ness.  Whatever the reason is, I always know that they will be a hit.

One of the things that I had always wanted to make was a towel that hangs on the fridge.  I've made a knit versions before--these and these, but I had always wanted to use an actual towel because I find them to be more absorbent.  I just needed to attempt to "top a towel." 

I had read some tutorials...they all involved cutting a dish towel in half and then crocheting over the cut side to make the topper...and that is great and all, but I didn't want to have a raw edge.  So I went to the store and bought some "bar mop towels" to use instead.  These are smaller than dish towels (definitely length-wise smaller maybe width-wise too) and have a finished edge on all sides.  

Now I needed to decide what to use to pierce the fabric so I could crochet the topper.  Should I use scissors? Purchase a sharp crochet hook? Use a needle and thread?  I remembered that I had purchased a skip stitch blade for my rotary cutter a month or two ago to use on a blanket edging...and I wondered if I could use that to top the towels too!



So, I got out my self-healing cutting mat, my rotary cutter, and the skip stitch blade and gave it a try.  The blade did go through the layers of the finished edge with adequate pressure--which is totally great! I then tried different sized crochet hooks to figure out which was best for this project--I ended up settling on a G hook with worsted weight yarn.  The G hook allows the tension in that first row to begin to ripple the towel.



I found that the best placement for the holes was sort of in the middle of the finished edge--not too close to the end of the towel.  Going in more, toward the body of the towel isn't terrible....you'll just need to adjust your tension on your first row of single crochets.

Now, so far I've tried 4 different towels and I get different numbers of holes in the pass with the skip stitch blade.  Sometimes it is 25, sometimes 27, sometimes 28, etc.  Because of this, I can't post an exact "pattern" for the topper--at least for the starting row, but I can give you a recipe on what to do.




Materials:
-Bar mop sized towel
-worsted weight yarn
-size G crochet hook
-a smaller crochet hook and maybe a pointy one just in case.
-a yarn needle for sewing in ends
-a button
-needle and thread
-skip stitch blade and rotary cutter
-self-healing cutting mat

Directions:
Place your cutting mat on a sturdy hard surface.  
Load the skip stitch blade into the rotary cutter.
Run the blade along the top finished edge of the towel, approximately in the middle of the finished edge.
Be sure to make a hole close to the beginning and close to the end of the towel (where the finished edge is the thickest).
Crochet one row of single crochets across the top of the towel--this is where you work directly into the holes you just created.



Crochet one more row of single crochets and take note of the number of stitches in the row.

Now, here comes the recipe.
Recalling the number of stitches in your row...is it even or odd?

If it is even, figure out where the middle of your row is, you will be working a double crochet two together decrease on these two stitches.

Chain 2 (this does not count as a double crochet).  Double crochet two together, then double crochet until you reach 1 stitch before your middle two stitches (aka work right up to the middle two stitches).  Double crochet these two together, and then double crochet until there are two more stitches left to work.  Double crochet these together.

For example, if you end up with 28 stitches, the middle stitches are the 14th and 15th stitch, so you will be decreasing these two together.  So what you would do would be ch 2, dc2tog, dc 11, dc2tog, dc 11, dc2tog.  This will leave you with 25 stitches.

If you have an odd number of stitches in your row you can ignore finding the middle two stitches and work as follows:
ch 2 (doesn't count as a dc), dc2tog, dc across until there are two stitches left to work, dc2tog.

Example: 29: ch 2, dc2tog, dc 25 times, dc2tog, resulting in 27 stitches.

Did you follow that?  What you want is to end up with an odd stitch count.  If my method confuses you, decrease any way you'd like as long as you have an odd number in the first row of double crochets.

The "pattern" really starts when you have 25 stitches in your previous row.

Just as before, the chain 2 in the beginning of each row does not count as a stitch.

Once you have 25 stitches....
--Ch 2, dc2tog, dc 21 times, dc2tog, turn. (23 stitches)
--Ch 2, dc2tog, dc 19 times, dc2tog, turn (21 stitches).
--Ch 2, *dc2tog, dc* repeat from * to * across, turn (14 stitches).
--Ch 2, dc2tog across, turn (7 stitches).
--Ch 2, dc2tog, 3 dc, dc2tog, turn (5 stitches).

Now you start the band that will wrap around your refrigerator handle.
--Ch 2, 5 dc across, turn.

Repeat this until it is slightly shorter than the desired length.



Begin the button hole part:
--Ch 1, 5 sc across, turn.
--Ch 4, join with slip stitch to the 5th sc in the previous row.

Fasten off and weave in ends!
Sew on a button and enjoy.




I do apologize if any of this "recipe" is confusing--let me know if you have any issues!  I hope you all have fun making your towel toppers!

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