A Table Runner For January

When we took down the Christmas decorations I left the winter wreath and garland hanging, several amigurumi snowmen sitting on shelves and tables, and a number of crocheted snowflakes hanging on little suction cup hooks in various windows. It definitely gives a cheery winter theme to the house. And while we haven’t had much snow to speak of, so far anyway, we’ve had some fairly cold days, and nights with wind chills down as low as -15 to -20 F. Brrr! So the “inside winter” decorations go well with the season outside my windows.

When the Christmas table runner (not crocheted) was tucked away I was left with a very naked dining room table. Unlike most homes, the front door opens directly into the dining room. It’s the first room you see when you walk in.  So I try to decorate the table (with other than dirty dishes).

I have crocheted several table runners (here and here, and one for my daughter) but I have none that are right for January. Therefore, I decided to crochet a January table runner; one with shades of blues and whites only.

I checked my stash of cotton (Sugar ‘n Cream) and found three blues and a bright white and thought it would be easy enough. My plan was to use a size 4 mm hook (I am pretty sure I used a 5 mm hook with another runner) to make granny squares of two rounds, joining them together at the corners only, using a join-as-you-go method, the same method I used for the other table runners. It would be one row of four squares followed by one row of three squares, with none of the same colors touching. That would be my pattern.

I didn’t plan which color would go where ahead of time. I was shooting for random, just like the other runners.

But in this case I was only working with four colors and the “none of the same colors touching” rule wasn’t nearly as easy to work out as when you are working with ten or more colors. I couldn’t just grab a color and go with it as can be done when working with many colors.

I noticed something after I completed maybe 5 or 6 rows. There were patterns popping out all over the place.

Diagonal rows of 2 shades of blues, diagonal rows of navy and white, blocks of nine squares with navy in each corner, blocks of nine squares with white in each corner and all of the white in the interior of the table runner with only the blues on the edges. Talk about patterns!

How did this happen when I didn’t plan it? It was as if I had pre-planned the placement of each individual square, when I did no such thing. I discovered when working with only 4 colors it’s much more challenging to produce random!

Almost nothing appeared to be random.

Almost nothing.

But if you look carefully you will notice the top right square is white and it’s the only white square in that position in any row in the entire table runner. Huh? It is the only square that doesn’t follow the pattern that surfaced from the second row and following.

I began joining the squares from the top left and attached each square from left to right across the rows, so the white square in the first row at the far right was the fourth one to be joined. Every other white square ended up along the inside of the table runner and not at the edge. But here was this white square doing its own thing, hanging out on the edge. No matter how many rows I add there will never be another white square in that position.

It’s a mystery!  And I’ll leave the unraveling of this (mathematics?) mystery to others more learned than myself!

After thinking about that errant white square for several days I simply removed it and replaced it with dark blue. It was a bit tricky to do without ruining the light blue square below and to the left of it. It did take a little jerry-rigging but I managed to pull it off.

And now the patterns are consistent throughout.

I added a simple white border using chains and single crochets; (sc, ch 2, sc) in each corner space (the points) and then I chained 3 and worked one single crochet in all the side spaces of the squares. Where the squares are joined along the edges I worked a single crochet in each space. Pretty simple.

It measures (unblocked) 45 inches long by 12 inches wide and has a total of 109 squares. I had wanted to make it a few rows longer but decided otherwise. The pattern of white squares on the inside seems to draw the eye (mine anyway!) and adding more rows would have made that pattern unbalanced. So I stopped where I stopped. When it was completed I realized the rows at each end are mirror images of each other. Another surprise pattern.
I couldn’t have planned this better if I had tried!

So now I’m thinking maybe I’ll make one for February; two shades of pink, a red, and a white. But when I do I’ll actually plan the first row making sure I only use the two shades of pink and the red, repeating one color twice, and save the white for the second row. That way I won’t be left having to carefully remove an errant square.


4 thoughts on “A Table Runner For January

  1. Linda, I am a fan of your crocheting work. Every single thing you make looks lovely to me. I have no idea why that white square, all I know is that, if you look at the opposite end, you see a 1, 3, 5, and then repeated 7 square lines, until you do the 5, 3, and 1 again, and that opposite 1 was dark blue. So, like you say, your 1, and 3 rows (looked at diagonally), have to match or only have the two same colors, then the row with 5 squares, should have the color of the row with one, and white, and then you alternate rows of 7 squares, with the colors of row 3, and colors of row 5. I don't know if I am making any sense, but the pattern appears clear when you look at them diagonally, and counting 1 square, 3 squares, 5, and 7 squares.
    I cannot wait to see your Valentine one.


  2. A math professor friend told me to check out the Four Color Problem which has to do with mapping. Only four colors at most needed for any map with no bordering states or countries the same color. Apparently, this problem was proved mathematically in the 1970's. It's over my head!

    I didn't even know I had a problem! ha ha


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