Our main icon corner is my favorite place in our home. It has a prominent location in the middle of the main living area and serves as a calming anchor to our day. In front of the icons is a drop leaf table that my dear Pap-Paw made for me when I was first out on my own.
At Pascha, I was drawn to put a white tablecloth on the table of our home altar. We are not tablecloth people, so this tablecloth was the only one we owned. It is normally reserved for when Father comes to do the home blessing at Theophany. The cloth lit up the icon corner. It gave a new richness and depth to the space.
I began to think that this is something I want to continue throughout the year. We can change the color of the cloth with the seasons, following the pattern of the church. I already change my candles with the colors, and the cloth brings even more to the beauty. Now, the kids can see the color at church and again at home. More of that wonderful tool of layering.
I just couldn’t find a ready-made tablecloth that I liked. All the greens seemed too drab. My parish uses a vibrant, bright green this time of year, and it glows against the honey-colored wood of the iconstasis and the icon stands. I grew up completely unfamiliar with the concept of churches being draped in different colors. In many Protestant churches I attended, you didn’t even have a cross on the wall, much less a rotating procession of white, green, blue, gold, purple, and red. The first service I attended at an Orthodox church was on a June day, and I just loved the green. I was so surprised when it changed for the next season! Now, whenever Pentecost comes and we change to green, my heart glows with memories of those first new days in the Faith. Drab green just won’t do. We need bright!
A bit discouraged by the lack of tablecloths available in the stores, I started thinking about making my own. I went exploring and discovered green place mats on clearance at Pier One. Perfect! The color is the exact brightness I wanted, and they have a swirly motif that mimics the rich brocades used in church. I sewed five of the place mats together to make our home altar cloth.
For embellishment, I decided to crochet an edging and motif for the long sides that hang down the ends of the table. I experimented with yarns of all types, but I just couldn’t get the desired texture. I wanted it to have the texture of the ribbon on the priest’s vestments. It came to me that the way to get it to look like ribbon was to actually crochet with…ribbon! I used 1/8″ gold craft ribbon. My craft store sells 10 yard spools 3/$1.00. I think I used about eight spools.
The motif is #40 from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. The edging is just a standard shell. Let’s see if I can remember…
I chained a length to fit the cloth and then did one row of single crochet. Then, I did 1 sc in the first stitch. Skip 1 stitch. Five dc in the next stitch. Skip 1 stitch. Repeat. The next row is ch 3 and dc five times in the third dc of the shell on the previous row. Dc in next sc. Repeat. I did that for three rows to represent the Trinity.
I love the texture and look of our Pentecost home altar cloth. It completely fits in with my mission to fill our home with handmade treasures. Now, time to think about what to do for blue at Dormition!