Romantic Pineapples Centerpiece

Let the romance continue! Here’s yet another example of a pattern so nice, I made it twice. This version of the Romantic Pineapples Doily was made for a very special family wedding. (See the other one here.)

Romantic Pineapples

For this centerpiece, I stuck with classic white in the form of Hilaza Rústica Eclat, a fine cotton thread with an iridescent strand running throughout.

Romantic Pineapples

That little extra sparkle makes all the difference (even if it’s really only visible in closeups)!

Romantic Pineapples

Note that this thread is NOT mercerized. From my limited experience with it (I generally stick with the more common mercerized brands), it means that the thread is softer and a more fragile. Mercerized thread is tough to break even when pulling on it hard – non-mercerized, not so much. It also has more of a matte finish, rather than the lustrous sheen you’ll see with mercerized thread.

Romantic Pineapples

The thread seemed more resistant to blocking, although I wouldn’t rule out user error on that score. Not that, erm, that’s an ongoing shortcoming. 🙂 Oh well, on to the next project!

Victorian Romantic Pineapples Centerpiece

With Christmas far in the rearview mirror… Valentine’s Day, you’re up. 🙂 Here’s a sweet centerpiece project that I completed last year. The Romantic Pineapples Doily is a lovely textured project by Jo Ann Maxwell. (And currently available for free!)

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

My thread of choice was Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. As with most shades of Curio, I found this thread to be darker in person than it appeared on screen. In the case of this project, that was a good thing. I will say that I’m ready for some new color options, pretty please.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 5

The pattern includes large openings, so there’s no chance to hide uneven stitches within dense fabric.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Reviewing these photos now, I definitely could have spent more time on the blocking – or at least straightened it up a bit for the photo shoot!

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Cluster stitches add texture to the piece. I especially like the ones that outline the pineapples. Just be sure to count carefully. Not that I, er, discovered that by experience. Ahem.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 2

The stitch pattern that makes up the hearts (and adds the “Romantic” element) are simple yet clever. Again, I think a bit more blocking is needed here to smooth out the top curves of the shape.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

It’s a lovely pattern, and one that I’ve actually made twice so far. I’ll share pics of my second one in a later post!

Some Projects Can’t Be Saved

I was revisiting one of my early projects, the Cutie Pie Doily, since at the time I made it I was soooo proud of my effort. It was one of the first doilies I made, and certainly my first beaded project.

Here it is as I originally shared it. In a word, FAIL.

Beaded Cutie Pie Doily

I recently thought that by going back and trying to block it again, I could salvage it. I was so wrong. It’s just a complete mess. It’s plagued by tension problems, and the crowning “achievement” is the last few rows where I apparently decided to go rogue and disregard the pattern. (Why?)

CutiePieDoily2

The blocking itself is not that great this time either. I phoned it in as I got to the outer edges, realizing that even the best blocking wasn’t going to save this one.

It is a tiny bit better, but it’s hard to believe I entered it as a contest project. I’m not really very excited that I decided to share it here in the first place, honestly. But it’s important to have perspective on projects that didn’t work. I can be quite stubborn about trying to execute a pattern that just doesn’t play nice with my gauge and yarn choices. (I think, sadly, I’ve been working on one of those recently.)

So how about you? Have any projects that you thought were amazing when you finished them, but make you cringe now?

CutiePieDoily

Crocheted Lorelei Shawl

I find out tomorrow how my projects rated at the contest – exciting! Not to mention the main reason I enjoy going, which is all of the awesome inspiration I get from others’ projects. Now that I’m on my third year of entering, I can recognize names of fellow entrants I admire – and even the names of some of the patterns/designers and yarns/colorways they have used. I love it.

I’ll be more timely about sharing the latest round of entries, but I’ll also continue to share projects I’ve entered in the past. This shawl was from my very first year of entering the fair contest.

Crocheted Lorelai Shawl

The pattern is the Lorelei shawl by Kimberly K. McAlindin, and the yarn is Lily Sugar’n Cream. The variegated colorway is Country Side. The solid color is just some coordinating green.

Crocheted Lorelai Shawl

I love the look of the yarn, but one of the judges questioned the choice (but didn’t really elaborate on why). To be fair, the cotton is pretty heavy for this type of project – it’s not a terribly useful shawl, but it’s nice as a “lapghan.” 🙂 I doubt I would pick it again for this project.

Crocheted Lorelai Shawl

This one got a fourth place prize, and I was over the moon to get awards in my first year of entering. It’s a fantastic pattern, and I’ve actually been wanting to recreate it with lighter yarn.

Crocheted Lorelai Shawl

Until then, the work progresses on my Gail (Nightsongs) shawl and I’ve finally gotten the hang of it.

Ready or not…

…it’s almost time to enter my knitting and crochet projects into this year’s fair contest. It looks like I’ll have 16 entries this year – down from last year’s 20, but still not too bad. 🙂 Here’s a peek at a few of my projects:

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 5

glitzshawl7

Circular Motif Shawl by Babycakes Creates

Nennir Scarf

Donna Spiral Doily

And now that I’ve cut myself off from making contest projects before this year’s deadline, I’m spending time on some fun projects with no pressure. I’m finally using my Blue Heron Rayon Metallic to make a shawl, and it… is… amazing. It just knits up beautifully. More on that project later!

Framed Crochet Flowers

Hi there! Spring is in the air, and I haven’t shared one of my past projects for a while, so this one seemed perfect. This framed crochet flower art is different from a lot of my projects, and it’s one of my favorites!

Framed Flowers 1

The inspiration for this piece was the Spring Bouquet pattern, which I highly recommend checking out. Many people have just made the roses, which are among the prettiest (free pattern!) crocheted flowers I’ve seen.

Framed Flowers 4

These colors just make me happy. It was a great stash-buster project – I used up size 10 thread that was left over from my black & white rose centerpiece. Using up thread I already had made me be a bit braver with mixing and matching the colors.

Framed Flowers 5

Even the black background of the piece is crocheted. I just made rows of double crochet stitches until my fabric was the right size for the shadow box frame. Then I hand-stitched the crocheted fabric to the shadow box’s fabric lining. (The shadow box is from Hobby Lobby – how cool is it that it has a latch?!) I made the flowers individually, and then arranged them on the black fabric. When I was happy with the layout, I tacked the components to the fabric with crochet thread and wove in the ends.

Framed Flowers 3

Love this thing! It got a second place prize in the “framed crochet item” category at the contest last year. Speaking of which, it’s almost time to register for this year’s contest!

Black and White Rose Centerpiece

Hi friends! I’m so ready for sun. Green grass. Stuffing my heavy wool coat into the closet and forgetting about it. Fresh air blowing through the house. Unfortunately, that’s going to be delayed for a bit in my part of the world. So I’m consoling myself by pulling out photos of brightly colored completed projects.

Black and White Rose Centerpiece

I made this centerpiece for my mom’s birthday a little more than a year ago. (Has it really been that long? Wow.) She’s a big fan of Mary Engelbreit, so I wanted to make her something with colors/patterns reminiscent of the designer’s whimsical pieces.

Black and White Rose Centerpiece

I followed the Beauty Rose Potholder pattern pretty closely for this one – I just left off the backing layer and skipped the corner loop. On the last round of each square, I joined to the next square as I went. It’s made from various colors of Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Thread. I love how it turned out! Sorry for the poor-quality photos – I’ll have to get some better ones at some point. Stay warm!