Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anatomy of a Design

Now that I’m coming back from cloud nine after my win this weekend, I’m finally able to post about something that I’ve been wanting to for a very long time. It’s all about my designing process and, in this case, graphing out a new project.

Designing a new project can be very easy- it can come as an inspiration that hits as fast as lightning and comes to life like Athena popping out of Zeus. Or, it can begin as a small flicker of an idea deep within the recesses of your mind and slowly germinates to maturity over the days, weeks, months, or years. Both of these methods can be very rewarding….and sometimes very frustrating. I’ve been working on a design that has been flashing in the back of my mind for quite some time now. It’s been slow to come to fruition but, now that it’s here, I’m so freakin’ excited!!!

One of my “things” is that I draw little 5 petal flowers all over the place. Just a random doodle that marks my territory no matter where I may find a writing utensil and surface to deface. I’ve always been a doodler- it helps me to focus, really. In college, I used to write my married name over and over and over again, well before my Mister ever put a ring on it. Whether overconfident or just a plain creeper, I covered everything with my name. And flowers. And little hearts. I’m a girl- sue me.

I’ve been trying for ages to transfer my little flowers from paper to crochet. I’ve tried graphing it out many times over the last couple years and became ever more frustrated with my failures. I have an idea for a bag that is just dying to come out and I’ve not been able to get this stupid little flower just right! Well, I’m extremely excited to announce that success is finally mine! It wasn’t easy and came by lots of trial and error, but all of my frustration has finally paid off.

First, I drew some flowers on my new graph paper and then filled in the blocks that seemed to be appropriate.

Don't listen to them- you look beautiful to me.

Yeah- that looks dumb. The problem is that I couldn’t draw my flower to be symmetrical enough for me on the graph paper. I ended up finding a picture of a real 5 petal flower, printing it out and then tracing it on my graph paper.

Well...if you turn your head just a bit and squint your eyes....

Ehh….close, but still….no. By slowly tweaking where the boxes were, I was able to come up with a design I could live with. The first one I tried, crocheted, and test felted was too big. So, I tried scaling it down. Then it was too small (and kind of looked like a fat headed little man).

It's big because it's full of brains, I tell ya!

Argh. Then, I was able to find a happy medium and I knew it was just right.

Well...almost just right...

I started on my bag right away, but found that I had placement issues. So, instead of frogging the 4 flowers I had made, I decided to use them for something I’ve needed forever- a case for my hooks.

Mama likes!

I just need to add a zipper and VOILA! My pouch is the perfect size for all my hooks- even my long Tunisian ones!

Now, look at this side:

Mama likes even more!!

WHAT THE WHAT??? I know!!! I have discovered needle felting and it is my new favorite. I am so in love!! I can now draw on my finished product! See how I was able to soften the blockish look of the edges? I used Tunisian crochet for this which means each stitch is a square. It’s great for square-ish things (like 8-bit Nintendo games), but for round objects, it leaves a little to be desired. Well, with needle felting a yarn border around my image, my dilemma is solved. AND, it makes a gorgeous finished object! (You can see the black border on my first test square, as well as a yellow border around the center.  Not too sold on that yet...)

I do have this chart complete- it (and the bag pattern) will be available just as soon as I finish my bag. I’ve been working feverishly on it for the last few weeks (minus a break for the SWS Turtle Bag), but hopefully will have it done in the next 2 weeks. I forgot how much I really enjoy Tunisian crochet! I just hope it comes out as good in real life as it looks in my head. I’m using white wool for the purse- a white background with colorful flowers, so I’m really hoping they won’t bleed too much. Maybe I should heavily invest in Shout Color Catchers……. Anyone have experience with them? Do they work?? Reviews are greatly appreciated!!


  1. Cute pouch!

    Thanks for the behind the scenes peek into the designing process.

  2. I'm glad you like it, Tracy. :) I'm almost done with the large purse- hopefully will felt it this week. YAY!

  3. Yes, those color catcher things work very well. I've used them when I washed an orange shirt in a dark load. My mom used black Rit dye in the washing machine to dye some pants. Although she did run the machine to rinse it out, her next load was a white load that turned gray.

    Both times, our clothes were fixed with the color catcher sheets. Mine came out in one washing. I believe mom had to wash hers twice with a different color catcher sheet for each wash.

    The sheets are white when you put them in the washer. When you take it out of the washer, the sheet will be dyed whatever color it has "caught".