This can be a doily, a tablecloth, a place-mat, a pillowcase or whatever you decide it to be. It all depends on which yarn you use, and how big you make it.
Note: This pattern uses US terminology
Two balls of Schachenmayr Crazy Cotton (100% cotton, 125m/137 yards per 50g/1.75 oz ball). This is a so-called self-striping yarn. The colour changes give the plain square a soft, "hand-painted" look. Also, they make it more fun to work the piece!
A 3 mm hook, to get a solid, yet not too stiff, fabric.
With two balls of Crazy Cotton, I ended up with a 34x34 cm/13.5x13.5 inch square.
This is a square made in the round! This means that the increases in every round are made in four, evenly spaced places, forming the corners. A "chain arch" of 3 ch in every corner keeps the angels straight, and creates nice eyelets.
1) All stitches are worked in the back loop only (except, of course, in round 1 and when stitches are worked around the "chain arches").
2) There is no extra chain in the beginning of each round. You start right off with a sc around the "chain arch". The aim is to make the change between rounds as unnoticeable as possible. For this very reason, it is useful to mark this first stitch by placing a marker (e.g., a safety pin) in it. When the round is finished, you join it with a slip stitch in the first stitch. You will notice that the loop forming the slip stitch will sit on top of the stitch it’s worked into. When you finish the subsequent round, you work the last stitch into the slip stitch. You simply work into every "loop" on top of the round below. As long as you mark that first stitch in the round, it’s very easy.
Instead of beginning with a starting chain, the first round is worked into a loop of yarn made around your fingers.
Make the usual slip knot to put on your hook, but leave a slightly longer end of yarn than usual. Make a loop with this dangling yarn around two of your fingers, close to the slip knot. Take the loop off your fingers, and work the first round around this loop.
At the end of round 1, before joining, pull the end of the yarn tight to form the round.
This makes the tiniest of holes when you start with 8 stitches in the first round, which is the case here.
In another design - say, a hat - where you start with 6 stitches, using this technique means you will be able to suppress the "starting hole" completely. Neat, don't you think?
Round 1: (Worked around "starting loop," as described above) 1 sc, 3 ch, *2 sc, 3ch* 3 times, 1 sc. Pull the end of yarn to form the round. Join in first sc with a slip stitch.
Round 2: 1 sc in "chain arch" (place marker in the stitch just made), *3 ch, 1 sc in chain arch, 1 sc in every sc from previous round, 1 sc in chain arch* 3 times, 3 ch, 1 sc in chain arch, 1 sc in every sc from previous round (the last sc is worked into the slip stitch), slip stitch in first sc of the round (where the marker is).
Repeat round 2 until you run out of yarn!
Block, and admire your work.
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