In making clothes for my new baby I wanted to make something special, dare I say heirloom-worthy, for him. I chose to make a receiving dress: white, long, lace bodice. However, I find crocheted lace worked in rows feels like it takes forever, so I chose to use motifs. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a pattern for the sort of thing I wanted to make, which leads us to the inherent versatility of motif work.
My solution was to use motifs from a table runner pattern I have (from Captivating Crochet). (click on photos to enlarge)
(taken from Captivating Crochet)
The motifs were simple, and the matter was made even easier by the fact that the pattern called for the same guage I wanted to use. So I made the motifs and connected them in the shape of a bodice, using measurements from the Knitters Companion. I even tiled the motifs differently than suggested in the original pattern. Low and behold, it worked!
Because the motifs were an irregular shape, I had to smooth out the neckline a bit, so I added an edging from a Dover book I have, attaching it to the bodice by the scalloped edge rather than the chain edge originall intended for that purpose. Then I went around all the openings of the bodice in crab stitch to finish the piece. I'm very pleased with the results:
The moral of the story is that motif work makes knitting and crocheting a matter of assembly rather than design. I recommend that people look at motif patterns for the motifs themselves, rather than for the finished object. An interesting motif may be lovely as a table cloth, but it can also be used for a garment, or in a different guage for an afghan, or by itself as the back of a baby bonnet. They can be tiled in different ways or even combined with other motifs. Many motifs can be disassembled into different motifs if you use a different number of rounds. It's like playing with blocks--once you have the pieces, you can make anything.