Crocheted edgings are a legacy born from the desire to beautify one’s home environment and the pleasure of creating with one’s own hands. While cotton thread crocheted by hand for a pillowcase border or for the edging of a table runner is perhaps not as widely practiced today as it was in Victorian times, the textiles produced are nonetheless a treasure to be passed on to future generations.
I keep some of my great-grandma Ruth’s handwork in my linen closet, which dates from the early 1900s. I bring the table runners out for special occasions, and I simply admire the pillowcase embellishments, not wanting them to wear out! This style of crochet is fine work and exquisite in its delicate appearance. Yet, it’s surprisingly sturdy when worked with mercerized crochet cotton thread. It is most often worked white on white, or cream on cream, for a classic look, but with today’s array of colors including variegated, the possibilities range from a soft gardenlike quality to a bold statement in presentation.
Weldon’s Practical Needlework contains many lovely crocheted edgings to experiment with. I chose one called Edging for Underlinen from Volume 4. Weldon’s describes it as, “ . . . a useful edging for putting round drawers and other underlinen, and may be worked with a fine steel crochet needle and Coats’ or Evans’ crochet cotton No. 16 to No. 24.” It is geometrically simple and elegant and has a scalloped edge. I worked my sample with fingering-weight wool and a U.S. size 4 (2 mm) steel crochet hook. This edging would make a lovely border for a table mat using mercerized cotton thread, a perimeter finish to a shawl in fine wool, or any suitable edge that would benefit from a textured, openwork detail.
Weldon’s instructions are straightforward, but it can be easy to get lost in the paragraph format. I have up-dated the text below and consolidated some of the repeats, so it is easier to follow. Remember that U.K. designations in crochet are different than U.S. Invest time in a sample swatch, and let your imagination flow. This crochet edging has great possibilities.
Edging for Underlinen
Commence with 20 chain.
Row 1: 1 treble in the seventh chain from the needle, [1 chain, miss one, 1 treble in next] 2 times, 2 treble in each of the next 2 sts, 1 treble in the next, [1 chain, miss one, 1 treble in the next] 3 times.
Row 2: 7 chain to turn, 1 treble under the first 1 chain st of previous row, [1 chain, 1 treble under next chain st] 2 times, 4 chain, [1 treble under next chain, 1 chain] 2 times, 1 treble in the first st of the chain that turned, 1 treble in next st.
Row 3: 4 chain to turn, 1 treble under first chain st of preceding row, 1 chain, 1 treble in next chain, 1 chain, 6 treble under the loop of 4 chain, [1 chain, 1 treble under the next chain] 2 times, 1 chain, 12 treble under the loop of 7 chain at the end, and catch with a single crochet into the last st of the commencing chain.
Row 4: 5 chain to turn, miss the first treble st, 1 double crochet on next, [5 chain, miss one, 1 double crochet on next] rep until 5 loops are made, 5 chain, 1 treble under the first 1 chain st, 1 chain, 1 treble under the next, 4 chain, [1 treble under the next 1 chain st, 1 chain] 2 times, 1 treble in the first st of the chain that turned, 1 treble in next st.
Row 5: 4 chain to turn, 1 treble under the first chain st of preceding row, 1 chain, 1 treble under next chain, 1 chain, 6 treble under loop of 4 chain, [1 chain, 1 treble under next chain] 2 times, 1 chain, 1 treble under first loop of 5 chain.
Row 6: 7 chain to turn, and work the same as 2nd row.
Row 7: Same as Row 3, and after doing the 12 treble, catch with a single crochet into the st of 5 chain close by the treble that is already worked there.
Row 8: Same as Row 4.
Repeat Rows 5 through 8 for the length required.
As homage to my great-grandma Ruth and her needlework, which inspired me, I will be crocheting this Weldon’s edging to sew onto the ends of a fabric table runner in white on white, just like hers.
Featured Image: A few examples from Vicki Square’s collection of pillowcases with crocheted edgings. Photos by Vicki Square.