Crochet Design Journey

Every project I create has a unique process as I take it from idea to finished design.

I thought it would be interesting to explain the “design journey” of the Twilight Shawlette in this blog post.

The Twilight Shawlette is a FREE pattern that you can find here on this blog.

Wowed by the Yarn!

Every time I stop by Hobby Lobby to pick up a craft supply, I always take a stroll through the yarn aisle. ๐Ÿ™‚

Often there is a new color or variety of yarn that I haven’t seen before. One day I noticed the Sugarwheel Cotton in the beautiful “Twirls at Twilight” color – I loved the gradual color changes and that there is an iridescent thread twisted together with the cotton yarn.

In photos it’s difficult to see the shimmer this iridescent thread creates but in-person it is so pretty!

Right away I knew I had to create something with this yarn.

(I had already worked with the Sugarwheel Cotton Sparkle to create the “Repeat & Relax Infinity Scarf” but it was a different colorway of pretty blues – You can see that free pattern here)

Vintage Inspiration

I collect vintage crochet projects that my family members crocheted (grandmothers and great-grandmothers). Many are made with cotton crochet thread and represent hours of stitching with a small steel hook. Tablecloths, napkins, doilies, collars, runners and more make up my collection. I enjoy looking them over for inspiration.

The scallops on this vintage collar caught my eye – I decided I should use it in combination with this yarn. Because the scallop would be large with Size 3 yarn (and not thread like on the vintage piece) I thought it would be best shown off along a rectangular scarf or maybe even a triangular shawl. But I wasn’t sure which type of project yet . . .

I did know that I needed to decide on a stitch pattern that would work for the base of the project – this stitch pattern should be fairly simple and repetitive so as not to distract from the large scallop edging.

Hmmmm. . . . .

Furniture Inspiration

As I let this idea ruminate in my mind over several days I spent some time outside around our deck chairs. And one day while I was eating lunch, I noticed how the pattern on the back of the chairs looked like crocheted V-stitches!

As I analyzed how they were worked together, I realized that they were offset and not stacked on top of each other (as V-stitches usually are).

I loved the offset look and discovered that it could be easily replicated by working the V-stitches in the spaces between each V-stitch.

Tada! My base stitch was chosen.

Shape?

I thought about working up some rectangular test swatches in the V-stitch but just wasn’t content with the shape or making another scarf.

So, I decided to create a small shawl (“shawlette”) in a triangular shape. I realized it was pretty simple to work decreases with the V-stitch to create the shawl shape.

And by making it into a triangle shape it could be worn as a shawl and as a scarf!

Oops

So, off I went to stitching with the yarn! I used a hook larger than what the label suggested in hopes to create more drape – it worked!

I also wanted to extend the triangle slightly so there was more length to wrap around your shoulders and use to tie the ends together in front.

I worked the decreases steadily to a certain point and then stopped decreasing so the width stayed the same for several rows. . . .

But . . . after I completed both sides of the shawlette and tried it on again, I realized the ends were just too long – oops!

Then it was time to “frog” several rows and alter the length of the ends by working the non-decreasing rows for much less rows.

Plan out the Edging

Now I was ready to add my favorite part of the project!

But this took some figuring out – I examined the edging on the vintage collar and exercised my brain cells (lol!) to see how I could replicate the look. I did some sketching as you can see in the photo above which helped me figure it out.

As I experimented I realized that the edging needed to be worked in several back-and-forth passes for each scallop. I also realized that it would work best to first create a round of uniform stitches that could serve as a base to the scallops.

It felt great to figure out the edging and that it would work for my shawlette – yay!

Finesse

My original idea was to work the large scallops along all 3 sides of the triangle and I started to do this but quickly realized it was just too much of a good thing!

So, I frogged some scallops again and decided to do a very simple edging along the top long side of the shawlette triangle. The simpler edging I chose reflects the last piece of the scallop edging and helped bring it all together at the end.

Since the yarn was mostly cotton I knew I would need to wet block it to fully finish it – it took several pins and patience but was well worth it!

The blocking helped the stitches to look crisp and even and helped the shawlette to hang just right around my shoulders.

So, what do you think of this design’s journey from idea to completion? Can you relate to any part of the process? Were you surprised by anything I shared?

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts – I love to hear from you!

Thank you for visiting –

Jennifer

Copyright 2021 โ€“ Jennifer E Ryan, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher but please do link to this page to share this pattern with others.

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33 thoughts on “Crochet Design Journey

  1. I love the idea of using the chair back as inspiration for a pattern! I spend way too much time going through my old crochet magazines and books and just getting fed up and confused. This gives me the idea to explore the things around me – there is so much potential inspiration out there!

    1. Glad to hear you were inspired to try something new! I agree – there is so much potential in the world around us. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I love that you collect vintage crocheted items and use them for inspiration. I love delicate thread crochet. Wish it was still popular. Thanks for giving me a look into your journey!

    1. You are welcome! I’ll always love “vintage” crochet projects and designs – Glad you love them, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Quite an inspirational journey! I’d say from vintage to modern days (or furniture๐Ÿ˜‰). I do love to get inspiration from vintage doilies/patterns. Certainly, the furniture inspiration surprised me, but totally see it and cannot unsee it now. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Thank you for sharing it, and for the opportunity. Off to find a vintage doily to create something new.

    1. Forgot to mention. I do love my steel hooks. Made several baby blanket edgings with it for my babies. Also use them to make heart shape/flower-like pins full of bullion stitches for donations/gifts/special occasions.

    2. Thank you for sharing! That’s great that you find inspiration in vintage pieces, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy creating!

  4. I do not think I would be any good at designing because of having to tear out the work you have done when something is not going right. All that time and work and nothing would be there to show for it. It amazes me–the talent and patience some people have to be able to visualize a pattern and then figure out how to do it.

    1. I agree about ripping out work – so hard to do when you’ve spent time on it. I actually do my best to not rip out if I don’t have to . . . but I am glad that I enjoy the process of creating the patterns. It’s very rewarding to see it all come together after all of the experimenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I slightly โ€œalterโ€ patterns quite oftenโ€”-after the first few projects. Sometimes out of โ€œlazinessโ€ lol; half double instead of single crochetโ€”as it makes the project go quicker. Sometimes to save yarn when I donโ€™t think Iโ€™ll have enoughโ€”doing two DC instead of three and Ch 2 instead of CH 3… I often use a larger hook too, especially the foundation chain. I have a hat pattern that can be done quickly & changed up by switching the stitches and an afghan pattern that I can do pretty much โ€œby feelโ€ while watching tv or in low lighting, with only an occasional check on number of shells.

  6. One of the things I can relate to is your inspiration in the crocheted edging of the collar. I made scads of those delicate shapes with think steel hooks and fine crochet thread back in the day. Now, I look at vintage crochet and can imagine what portion of it I might use as a coaster or something else. I can’t draw a line, so I plan only in my head, then work through trial and error until I like the finished object. I saw a crocheted “cozy” holding hanging flower pots and inspired me to crochet a cozy for my half-liter water bottle. Inspiration can come from anything — a chair, a pot cozy, a bit of architecture. I love how you created the edging. Your planning process is very interesting.

    1. Oops — thin steel crochet hooks, not think! in the 2nd line. Sorry — I don’t see an edit option.

    2. Thank you for sharing how you’ve been inspired! That’s great that a hanging flower pot holder inspired you to create a similar project for your water bottle. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I’m always amazed at the outcome of some things I do. It’s amazing to be that into what you’re doing…research…notes on legal pad….I love it! Sometimes, it turns out much better than what I had in my head. It’s great to read your story…..some tweaking was definitely happening with. Congrats on such an accomplishment!

  8. I understand the thought process that goes into making something I get inspiration in everything around me love working with colours that most don’t think work together. love your designs and they make me think of other possible uses.
    you are an inspiration to all that want to try something new.

  9. I am amazed at the process to get the finished piece. Patience is the key! I do observe color combinations but I will be a lot more observant of shapes from now on.

  10. It’s a fun blog post. The shawl is gorgeous and really works well with the elements. I love the edging bling to a simple background.

  11. I was surprised about the chair but with the process detailed helps understand your influences and why. I think you should do more of these when you have time as it was interesting reading the process. The yarn you used looks very much like “I must have some of that” it’s totally dreamy.

    1. Yes, the yarn is totally dreamy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for the feedback – I will consider doing more posts like this.

  12. I think it’s interesting that you can be inspired by furniture! I don’t think I’ll ever look at my lawn chairs the same. The latticework certainly is suitable for crochet and I think you chose the perfect yarn to showcase the beautiful stitches.

  13. I admire all the work you did to make the shawlette and how creative you were looking for the parts of it – the chair and the collar. The collar edging works well with the shawlette even with the revisions you made. Patience must be your middle name. Well done!

    1. Thank you for your comments! Yes, patience helps and the fact that I enjoy the whole creative process. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. It was nice to see all the steps you take when designing a pattern, especially the revising. Do you usually design at full scale or do you sometimes do mini mockups to get a feel for how things will lay out? The chair’s inspiration is more obvious in the finished pattern than it was in your initial attempt — did you change hook size to open things up more? The finished pattern is quite nice, especially the way the colors worked out.

    1. Good questions! Sometimes I do a small swatch or mini version of a design and other times I just jump right in and start the project full-scale figuring it out as I go. ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t change the hook size for the V-stitches – The stitches open up better because of the wet blocking and pinning. ๐Ÿ™‚

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