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

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.

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

Project Roundup

Wow, what a complete whirlwind! The past few weeks have been exhausting, but completely fulfilling from a goal achievement standpoint. I completed a major  project at work, it turned out fantastic, and now it’s time for a nap. 🙂

Because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t felt much like working on projects recently. I did gather up 10 projects to enter in this year’s contest, however. Here’s a sample of the entries:

Mother's Day Centerpiece

Monica Shawl Free Knitting Pattern

Endless-Love-Doily

Crocheted Lollo African Flower Bear

Donna-Patricia-Kristoffersen

Crocheted Granny Square Afghans on TV

Slate recently ran an article about the ubiquity of granny square afghans on American television shows. It was fun to read about the origins of some of those familiar set decor pieces. The article didn’t mention one of my favorites: the granny square afghan at the home of Parks and Recreation character Ann Perkins.

Parks Rec Crochet Granny Square Afghan

During the show’s first season, it was often seen in the company of Ann’s then-boyfriend Andy Dwyer (who spent much of his time on that couch while they were dating). No matter how you feel about basic granny square afghans, those TV couches would be pretty boring without them.

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!