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

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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

Snowflake Ornaments

I’ve started seeing Christmas projects popping up on Pinterest and other blogs (in fact, I’m months behind by craft store standards) so I thought it was time to share a few ornaments that I made for the contest this year.

Crochet snowflake ornaments

The contest rules for this category specify that you have to enter a group of three. Last year, I made three identical angel ornaments in different colors. This year, I opted to use three different patterns (all by the same designer – Deborah Atkinson) and give them the same color scheme.

The first one (pictured below) is called the 3D Crystal Snowflake for Mom. I think this one is my favorite.

3D Crystal Snowflake Ornament

The second one is called Mother’s Day Snowflake. I got points knocked off for less-than-stellar blocking during the contest judging, and looking back I agree with the judges’ critique.

Mother's Day Snowflake Ornament

The third snowflake ornament is the Water Lily Snowflake. I wasn’t sure how well this pattern would work in my color scheme, but I like it.

Water Lily Snowflake Ornament

After completing the ornaments, I soaked them in a mixture of water and craft glue. Then I blocked them on my foam mats, with a layer of plastic wrap in between to keep the glue off of my boards. (Sorry for the horrible photo and lighting – it’s the only shot I got.)

Blocking Snowflake Ornaments

The thread is Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Cotton, size 10 in natural, and Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. To hang them, I just use the simple wire ornament hooks that are available (one billion to a pack) in the holiday decoration aisles. Overall, these got third place in their contest category.

Crochet Snowflake Ornaments

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!

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!