My youngest brother is getting married this August.
August in this part of the world tends to be very hot, and very humid. The first thing I said when I was told the wedding date was, “Congratulations! That’s fabulous! Is it all right if I don’t wear stockings?”
Besides not liking to have my legs encased in nylon mesh in 90% humidity, I also have sensitive skin which tends to get annoyed (read: itchy and painful) when metal gets next to it in warm, damp weather. Even metal arms on lawn chairs can set me off. Wearing fine jewelry (real gold or silver) should avoid it, but if there’s any nickel alloyed with it at all, I react. I seem to do better with silver, probably because of what it’s alloyed with.
While I was out buying a dress to wear to the wedding, I noticed that the shop carried a modernist version of oya, which are strips of lace once made to edge head scarves, and now are used on their own as necklaces or bracelets. Wearing 100% cotton, thread-thin jewelry in Toronto’s August appeals very much.
Bonnie, the office manager at the wellness clinic I go to, asked for an oya of her own, and so I made up this cream, brown, and grey-beige version:
The lighter colours show the construction method better. The cream large flowers are made first, then the brown backgrounds are added. Then you make the grey-beige ribbon, attaching as you go. The cream fan shapes are added last.
It took me two weeks to make my oya, but only a week for Bonnie’s — partly because I already knew the pattern by that point and could work more efficiently, and partly because she wanted to take it with her on vacation, so I had a tight deadline to work to. For once I tried to track my time, and it worked out to about:
45 minutes per large flower centre
45 minutes per large flower background
30-40 minutes per ribbon segment between large flowers
90 minutes for the fan shapes, not counting darning in ends
There are 10 large flowers with 9 ribbon segments between them, for a total length of about two metres. You do the math.
I’ve only done a very limited amount of thread crochet before, so these projects were good learning experiences. One of things I learned is that if you hit the index finger on the hand holding the work enough times with the point of a 1.25mm steel crochet hook, you will break the skin. Two days later it’s almost completely healed, but I had to make a point of washing it with antibacterial soap because it was starting to fester. Ouch! Next time I do this sort of thing, I’m going to try putting a thimble on my left index finger to protect it.
In case anyone is wondering what happened to my stash-busting efforts, erm, both of these were made from 100% stash. I didn’t even know I owned the grey-beige thread until I found it, misfiled with my knitting yarn, while I was looking for something else. Thread-crochet purists will notice that the purples and the brown are perle cotton while the other threads are odds and ends of different stuff, but it all worked out. The purple large flowers might need some ironing, even a light blast of spray starch, to encourage them to stay flat and not crushed in half, but that’s about it.