Finished Objects, Inspiration

Fiber Art Exhibit + Community Art Project

The art center is doing something wonderful. It’s captured quite a bit of attention lately, and I want to share a few photos with my fiber-loving friends:

Fiber Exhibit

Fiber Art

Fiber Sculpture

I am completely in awe of this exhibit. I’ve yet to explore all of it, but what I’ve seen is incredibly inspiring. One of the best parts, for me, is that it encourages others to try knitting and crocheting. Take an instruction card, learn a skill.

Take One

Fiber

Doesn’t it just make you happy to imagine that someone who has always wanted to learn to knit or crochet might take a card home, give it a try, and discover a new passion?

And there’s another way that this exhibit encourages community involvement: They’re asking local knitters/crocheters to submit swatches, which they’ll assemble into a giant tapestry. This tapestry will capture the spirit of Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1.

From the Lake

The art center even provided the fiber – I received a skein of navy blue yarn. Since Georgia O’Keeffe is known for painting floral subjects, I decided to pick a pattern with a flower motif: The Crocodile Flower. It’s a gorgeous, heavily textured crocheted square pattern. I used almost an entire skein of Vanna’s Choice to make my 12″ square! (Your mileage may vary, of course.)

Crocodile Stitch Square

I hope to get pictures to share once the tapestry is complete. What a great way to connect the community!

Inspiration

Beyond the Blanket

It’s been nice to see some coverage of knitting over at Huffington Post recently. One of the articles details things you should be making for your home that aren’t blankets. (Not that there’s anything wrong with blankets!) I also appreciated the quick knitting history link included in the article.

The article reminded me of some crocheted home decor I’ve seen at national retailers lately. All three of these examples feature really nice neutral tones that could go with a lot of different decorating styles. In any case, I enjoyed the inspiration!

It looks like the Kayla Crochet Mirror from Company Kids might actually include some knit swatches, too.

The Lainie Crochet Pillow from Home Decorators Collection combines a rustic element (jute fabric) with elegant crocheted trim.

Pottery Barn’s Crochet Bath Accessories (almost out of stock as of this writing) feature a unique fiber choice.

Inspiration

Fair Contest Report

I’ve mentioned it before, but the main reason I enter my local contest is to get inspired by others’ projects. It’s fun when I even recognize some of the patterns and yarns that were used.

Of course, the competitive aspect of the contest is also part of the fun. I was completely shocked – and extremely flattered – to receive Best of Show for crochet, among other honors. But mostly, I’m lucky to have access to such a large and impressive display of talent – the picture below doesn’t even include half of the exhibit space for fabric and threads!

Fair Contest

I’ll show pictures of my projects (with as many construction/materials details as I can remember) in future posts. But first, I wanted to show my photos of a few projects that inspired me at the exhibit. The most visible names on the projects have been clumsily Photoshopped out to protect privacy – I’m sensitive to the fact that not everyone wants their name displayed online. But on the off chance that one of them is yours and you’d like to claim credit by name, let me know! 🙂

If you happen to recognize a pattern for one of the projects pictured, feel free to mention it in the comments – I’d love to add it to the post so others can make it too!

This first project was in the baby blanket class. I loved the abundance of texture in the pattern. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful in-the-round baby blankets I’ve seen. I kind of want to make it as a doily, too!

Fair Contest

Lately I’ve been loving lacy knit shawls in white/ivory yarn. It’s tough for me to pass up colorful yarn in favor of the simplicity of white yarn, but after seeing so many stunning results I’m going to have to give it a try.

Fair Contest

I can’t confirm the pattern for this crocheted afghan, but it does remind me of the Popcorn Ripple Afghan pattern that I’ve had in my Ravelry favorites forever.

Fair Contest

I took several photos of this shawl – I just have to make it! Any leads as to the whereabouts of the pattern would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

fair3

This crocheted cardigan appears to have been made from Loops & Threads Payette. I have bunch of that yarn in my stash for another project (in another color way), and it was nice to see that it works up so beautifully.

Fair Contest

Look at those tiny perfect stitches! The shawl below has great colors, a lovely, simple design, and wonderful technique. An all-around winner in my book!

Fair Contest

I swear I just saw the pattern for this gorgeous square doily, and now I can’t find it. I’m thinking perhaps it’s adapted from a table runner, but that’s a guess. In any case, it’s another one I want to make myself.

Fair Contest

This yarn. It’s beautiful and I would want to get some ASAP… if I knew what it was. The crocheter showed it off to advantage with this swirling fan pattern. (Update: I figured out that this is Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in Sunrise. And yes, I bought some. 🙂 )

Fair Contest

Finally, here’s one I recognize – it’s the famous “Bigger on the Inside” shawl! I’ll be completely honest – this awesome TARDIS-inspired shawl pattern is one of the key reasons (in addition to cables) that I wanted to learn how to knit in the first place. As a beginner, I looked at the pattern, sighed at my lack of skill, and filed it away for future use. But I just bought the yarn to make it and hope to get started in the not-too-distant future. I wonder which stitch markers I’ll use…

Fair Contest

Thanks for sticking with me through this post – I hope you enjoyed looking at these inspiring projects as much as I did!

Inspiration

Mary Poppins Scarf

Last fall while on my trip to Chicago, I visited Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Museum of Science and Industry. What an awesome exhibit! It’s still open, and will be through August 3 – it’s well worth a trip if you’ll be in Chicago this summer.

One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the Mary Poppins portion (they had the snowglobe on display!). Among the artifacts was this Mary Poppins costume, and guess which part interested me most?

marypoppinsscarf1

I’d love to make a replica of the scarf, but haven’t done too much research on yarn/patterns that would work well. I do like this lovely interpretation on stitchknit. If you were going to make a version this scarf, what yarn would you use?

marypoppinsscarf2

Inspiration, Patterns

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me…

…about Elizabeth Hiddleson? I had never seen her designs before, and they are amazing. I need to make this Wild Rose runner ASAP. I learned about her from the Linda Crochets, which I had also never seen. (She does beautiful work!) Check it out – I’m off to track down some patterns. 🙂

Inspiration

I’m Just So Busy… and Other Terrible Excuses for Putting Your Hobbies on Hold

Sunburst Pineapple Crochet Hooks

I’m not sure what causes the innate desire to “justify” our personal time, but I know I’m guilty of it. At times, especially when I’m extremely busy (as I have been the past few weeks), I feel like the time I spend on hobbies is somehow wasteful.

This feeling often occurs on an unconscious level, and it’s only upon later reflection that I realize I didn’t enjoy my already limited crafting time as much as I could have – because I was worrying about all of the other things I was “supposed” to be doing. How unfortunate! The truth is that those things could wait. If the task needed to be a priority, then I wouldn’t have been working on my hobbies in the first place.

I know that personal time is important, and that having my own hobbies is rewarding. Here are the main reasons that, for me, using some of my free time for them is worthwhile:

  • Working on my hobby is personally satisfying. I love the feeling of turning skeins of yarn into beautiful knit or crocheted items. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride in my abilities – especially when I have learned a new technique.
  • It allows me a chance to relax. Anyone who has a creative hobby knows that it isn’t always relaxing. Just ask me how my closed-loop cable-knit scarf is going. 🙂 But most of the time, knitting or crocheting (or scrapbooking or blogging or…) help me clear my mind. And that refreshes me for when it’s time to get back to necessary errands or tasks around the house.
  • I have a new opportunity to connect with others. I’m always amazed by the interesting conversations that get started when I mention my hobbies. More often than not, the person I am talking to has either tried knitting or crocheting or knows someone who has. They may even begin talking about a loved one who has passed on, sharing fond memories of how that person enjoyed the hobby. In any case, it’s an opportunity to learn things about a person I might never have discovered. This goes for online interactions, too – how fantastic to have online social channels on which to share projects and advice!

Those are just a few of the many reasons why I find taking time for my own pursuits so important. I do have to be careful not to add my craft projects to my “to-do” list, letting each one become just another thing I have to get done. These activities are supposed to be fun, and if I need to take a night off to just relax in front of the TV or surf the internet, I know that’s okay too!

What are your main reasons for spending your valuable spare time on your hobbies?

Inspiration

Picking a Yarn Color Palette

The KnitPicks blog published a post recently about color inspiration, and it struck a chord with me. Both my personal interests and professional life have, in various capacities, involved the use of color and the selection of color palettes.

Up until now, I haven’t really employed many of my favorite color selection techniques in my knitting and crochet projects. My choices often just come down to what combinations seem appealing to me while I’m standing in front of the yarn display. I decided to do a little exercise in color selection based on one of my favorite recent photos. This is one of my beloved floral closeups from my St. Louis trip.

lily pad inspiration photo

I picked one of the tools recommended in the post, the TinEye Labs website, to help me identify the key colors in the image. It’s incredibly easy to use – just upload an image from your computer and wait for the results. A screen capture of the results for my image is below. It shows the original image, a pixelated “color map,” and the color palette that the program puts together based on your upload.

Lily Pond TinEye Labs

From there, I selected a few appealing colors and matched them with shades of Palette yarn. They are (clockwise from upper left) Pumice Stone Heather, Lady Slipper, Bittersweet Heather, and Edamame. I really like how this little exercise turned out! I never would have combined these colors on my own. This color selection method would give you a fun way to pick a color palette for a memorable project.

paletteinspiration