Circular Motif Shawl

It’s been a good long while since I’ve been on the blog – or pulled out the hook or needles, honestly. Right now I’m just soaking in every spare moment with my precious baby, which (just as I was warned) doesn’t leave a lot of extra time for hobbies. I’m hoping to resume my ever-so-slow progress on my Jeweled Cowl after his bedtime, though.

In the absence of new projects, I’ll continue to comb through older ones and reminisce. The Circular Motif Shawl is a free crochet pattern.

Circular Motif Shawl

The pattern calls for Aran weight yarn, but I chose to use a fingering-weight option that I had in my stash. To create a substantial shawl, I accommodated the finer yarn by adding two extra large motifs to each row.

Circular Motif Shawl

The yarn is Chroma in Autumn Day. Glass half empty: This colorway is now retired. Glass half full: Chroma is on sale this month (July 2016) at KnitPicks.

Circular Motif Shawl by Babycakes Creates

I alternated between two balls of yarn to achieve the color variation between the inner and outer rounds of the large motifs. It was surprisingly challenging to make sure that the colors had a strong enough contrast. There was a lot more purple in this variegated yarn than I expected and I didn’t want it to overpower the autumnal shades.

Circular Motif Shawl by Babycakes Creates

I was surprised by how well this project turned out. It’s so satisfying when a pattern and yarn selection just work together, and this was one of those instances.

Circular Motif Shawl by Babycakes Creates

This project picked up a blue ribbon at the fair contest during the year I entered it. I have bittersweet emotions when thinking about the fair contest – this is the first year that I’ll skip it since I began entering my projects. But although I do have a few things that I could enter, I don’t feel they’re my best work. Plus, I don’t want to put extra pressure on myself right now that makes my hobby less enjoyable.

It’s so surreal to think that the last time I dropped off contest entries, I didn’t even know how much my life was about to change for the better.

Circular Motif Shawl

Detangling Yarn

Happy Saturday! I had grand plans to work on some projects around the house this weekend,  but found myself sick again. It seems that every time I’ve come in contact with a sick person in this final trimester, I’ve caught the bug. I’m grateful I haven’t experienced anything too serious, but also glad there are only a few weeks left until the little one is here.

When I’m under the weather, simple projects are best. One such project is this huge mess of lace-weight bamboo that I’ve been trying to detangle. After an unfortunate attempt to wind it, I thought this was a lost cause. But slowly, as I’ve had time, I’ve been working it into a usable form. It’s definitely more effort than this yarn is worth, but I’ve actually found it to be a little relaxing to turn something unworkable into something I might actually be able to use.

yarn-detangling

Apparently this is something that others find enjoyable too, because I’ve read a couple of articles (Wall Street Journal and Indie Untangled) within the last couple of months about yarn detanglers. When you have a hopeless mess of tangled yarn, how do you handle it? Toss it, try to fix it yourself, or call in someone who loves to detangle?

Midnight Star Tablecloth

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a project report, so I thought I’d share one of my more ambitious past projects. Lately, I’ve been working on shorter-term projects like scarves (and baby stuff), so it’s kind of fun to take a look back at some of the things that took me ages to make.

MidnightStarTablecloth1

This pattern is the Midnight Star crocheted tablecloth that’s available for free as of this writing – just follow the link from Ravelry.

MidnightStarTablecloth2

The tablecloth is made from a bunch of repetitive motifs, which I chose to connect with a join-as-you-go method. Before I began, I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how I was going to lay out the stars. I made the tablecloth especially for an oval table, which complicated things a bit. Once I decided that the tablecloth would be uneven, with slightly longer overhangs near the curves of the table, it all came together.

MidnightStarTablecloth3

Motif projects like this are enjoyable because once you’ve memorized the pattern, the process becomes almost meditative. This project’s motifs look more complicated than they are, so the pattern wasn’t too tough to memorize.

MidnightStarTablecloth4

I used size 10 Aunt Lydia’s crochet thread in natural since it’s available in huge skeins. As you can imagine, this project ate a lot of thread very quickly. For a long time, I avoided counting the total number of stars needed for my layout (soooooo many), but the final count was 123.

MidnightStarTablecloth5

My husband and I went on a trip while I was working on this project, and I took thread with me so I could continue making motifs during our travel days. I just stopped the motifs before the last round and left tails on the motifs that were long enough to complete the last round. Then I connected the motifs to the rest of the tablecloth when I got back.

MidnightStarTablecloth7

In this last photo, you can get a better idea of how the tablecloth hangs over the corners vs. the sides where the chairs are positioned. I’m really glad to have made this heirloom-type piece to break out for special occasions. When I entered it in the fair contest, it earned a first place ribbon. It doesn’t get much use (and with a little one on the way, I imagine it will remain in a drawer most of the time), but it’s one that I’m proud of.

MidnightStarTablecloth6

Knitting and Crochet in the News

Yarn-Tangle

Happy New Year to you and your families! I’m looking forward to a long weekend and hope you’ll get some time off to relax, too.

Over Christmas break, I finished up a couple of projects for the baby boy. I’ve posted a few photos of my work on Instagram, and will be sharing more about them once I snap some better photos.

I’ve noticed a lot of articles about knitting and crocheting in the past few months, and thought I’d share some of them here in case you have time for some reading this weekend.

Knitting and Crochet Projects for Baby

Crochet Quilt Baby Blanket

As you might guess from my little announcement over on Instagram, my Ravelry queue has shifted toward more baby-oriented items. First on my list was a crochet project for baby, the Baby Blocks Crochet Quilt, which I made from yarn recycled from a previous project. I think this will be a great play blanket for the little one!

I’m currently working on a small, square version of the Lover’s Knot Afghan to use as a stroller blanket. Here are a few of the other crochet and knitting projects for baby that have caught my eye:

What are your go-to patterns to make for the babies in your life?

Funny Knitting Tutorial Video

Happy Friday! I hope you have a chance to work on piles of projects this weekend. And if you need a quick refresher on just how quick and simple knitting is, check out this tutorial courtesy of The Daily Show. The next time someone suggests that you should try selling the intricate shawl you’ve been working on for a month, just remember how easy it is (and how cheap the yarn was).😉

Knitting Crochet Projects

In My Stash: Knit Picks Curio (Silver and Ash)

Can you tell that I love thread projects? They’re 1) extremely portable, 2) easy to store 3) delicate-looking and visually impressive. Naturally, this love of thread projects means I go through a lot of thread – most recently, KnitPicks Curio.

Curio

It’s a two-ply, #10 cotton thread – a great gauge for doilies, centerpieces, and bedspreads. It’s soft when you’re working with it, but it definitely holds its shape well when starched and blocked.

Curio

I recently used up most of my stash of Silver (the lighter shade) and Ash (the darker shade) Curio on a table runner project. Pictures to come. I’m a big fan of gray – especially when used in multiple shades on the same piece.

Curio

The thread has a wonderful lustrous quality adds to the effect of a heavily textured piece. It just feels nice to work with, which is a pretty big deal when you’re spending months working on a single detailed thread crochet piece.

Curio

My only complaint is that there aren’t more colors to available – I’ve used most of them by now. Some nice turquoise/teal/aqua shades wouldn’t go unappreciated.🙂

Curio

What’s your favorite brand of crochet thread? I’m always looking for new types to try.

Curio