Friday, July 27, 2012

Irish Crochet Together Blog Challenge Project

detail of Valentino fabric
Over at we had a little challenge and this one was based on the gorgeous Valentino dress that Cameron Diaz modeled on the cover of InStyle magazine.  I learned quite a bit but I don't think I love the final product.

I love my main motif.  I made this with Blue Heron Yarns 100 percent Egyptian cotton.  I love LOVE this "yarn".  It's a 2-ply lace weight that is comparable to an eight or maybe a three-weight cotton thread.  It's shiny and soft and the color transitions are gorgeous.  It was liberating to crochet this.  I used the leaf shapes from the Valentino fabric as inspiration here.  This was free-form and FUN-- quite a change from deciphering all the antique IC patterns I had been working on.

For my background, I wanted a filled rectangle, but I wasn't sure how to do it.  First, I basted the motif to a base fabric.  I knew I was going to use the Habu Textiles Silk thread that I bought in SF for the background, and I knew I wanted to include some Clones Knots.  I started filling in the round part at the bottom of the motif with Clones Knots.  After I did that I thought it looked distracting, so I opted for surrounding the motif with a border of Clones Knots instead, and filled the round part with plain, diamond-shaped filling stitches.

I liked the four-spoked cross pattern in the inspiration fabric, so I used a shamrock type filling stitch to mimic that.  I first made the outer edge, which is the Egyptian cotton over PC (single crochet with picots).  I pinned it out to the size I wanted around the motif.

I started the shamrock filling at the bottom, went up the right side, then started again over to the left (and ripped out and re-made what you see here).  I then filled in the last rows on the top.  I learned that this silk pulls apart easily and does not rip out easily.  I haven't practiced filling stitches very often and I really need to continue to work on them!

challenge piece detail

finished challenge piece

The final piece is about 6 x 10 inches.  New techniques for me were: free-form crochet, shamrock filling stitch, and working into a corded edging.

I learned that half-double crochet doesn't look very good in IC motifs.  It makes a raised bar that I love in other projects, but the texture doesn't add much where I used it this time.

TIP:  I used my laptop portable desk by Belkin as my work surface while doing the filling stitches.  It is slanted a bit, and made of a fabric covered foam on a rigid backing.  I could pin right into it and the slant facilitated working the stitches!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pillows for the Kids

We moved last month and I think we are finally at the point where I can start crocheting and blogging again without feeling guilty about ALL THOSE BOXES!  After the June WIP-up, I realized I did not have any easy, meditative projects going, so I pulled out the acrylic and made the kids some pillows to match their yarn blankies.  They went really quickly, and the kids had fun "helping" me decide on color choice and placement.

front of pillows with their respective yarn blankies
For Miss E's pillow, I made a motif which combined an Irish Rose with a circle in a square pattern, then I joined them together with contrasting yarn.  I'm thinking this might be a good pattern to post on Ravelry...add that one to my list!  For Mister M's pillow, I did the basic granny square and continued around and around.

back of pillows
For the back of Miss E's pillow, I just half-double crocheted stripes.  For the edging, I single crocheted both sides together then did a shell stitch.  The back of Mister M's pillow is the Vintage Vertical Stripe pattern.  Then I just did a plain join around in black.