Sunday, August 02, 2009
Russian Crochet & Cake
Deirdre was kind enough to send me some Russian crochet magazines that we had talked about on Stitcher's Guild, and I spent last night poring over them. I actually went and found some thread and hooks at about 2am before realizing that it was a little late at night to begin to polish my rusty crocheting skills. I am still thinking furiously about all the things shown in these issues. (Click on the photo link above, and on Original size below the photo on Pbase, and you can see much more detail.)
The collar on the top at the far right is so gorgeous, and I honestly can't tell if it's crochet or needle lace or a combination of the two. The instructions show the outlines drawn on a numbered grid, unlike anything else in these issues. Perhaps it's done that way just to make sure the free-form shape is correct for a collar. There is some amazing needle lace and hardanger besides crochet in these, and most of the instructions are just charts of the stitch motifs with no indication of the garment shaping, unless it's in the short written parts. A challenge, to be sure.
I also really like the lace bodice of the dress in the middle. There are a lot of things shown with motif groups placed here and there on garments. I especially seem drawn to the things where they have a mixture of techniques, styles, or scale. All in all, they're very interesting and thought provoking.
When I got to the instruction part in the first magazine I looked at, I immediately wished my grandmother could have seen these. She was a prolific crocheter who loved the fine-thread crochet with tiny needles. I'm lucky enough to have a tablecloth she made for my mother, and I remember when she sent it to the State Fair by mail, and received it back afterward along with the ribbons and rosettes she had won. It was judged to be just about perfect. None of us were surprised, as she didn't stand for anything less, and would redo something until it was just right. In my mind's eye I can see her looking at these patterns and working them out in her head while her hand would be going through the motions necessary, like a violinist or pianist fingering in the air while reading a score. She didn't teach me to crochet, my other grandmother did that, but Grandma Bergman left me her work ethic when it came to needlework, and I'm very glad.
I'll leave you with what I hope is a mouthwatering photo of a wonderful dessert. I have found my favorite chocolate cake. A Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden Cake mix with 3/4 cup Baking Cocoa and 4tsp. Splenda added. It's so dark and rich. This was just a stopgap because I didn't have a chocolate cake mix, but now I'm doing it on purpose. The real find is Raspberry Ice Cream with it. Just delicious!