Monday, April 02, 2012

Inspired By What You See

A couple of months ago I started knitting a baby blanket with 5 colors of Tilli Tomas Artisan yarn. I picked out the colors when I was back in Vermont at the shop over the holidays. I had several ideas for this blanket, and I ended up going with a mitered squares design. I borrowed some colored pencils from Helen and grabbed a sheet of graph paper and sketched it out on paper. I loved it!

But once I'd knit 50% of the blanket, I realized it just wasn't cutting it for me. I really disliked it. Rip, rip, rip. I just couldn't find anything to inspire me for this project. And so the yarn sat in a bag for months.

Fast forward... I've been doing several crochet projects recently and I think I've been bitten by the crochet bug! It started out with 2 crochet rugs for our patios (no, they aren't finished yet!):
Crocheted rugs - one out of fabric remnants and the other out of a very heavy cotton jersey
And then a crocheted table runner (also not finished, but very close!):
Really easy - and beautifully simplistic - table runner out of Rowan Revive
Can you tell I like circles? Squares, of course, are easier, but once you master proper increases to get a perfectly crocheted circle - these two shapes can be so inspiring!

Living in Finland, I am exposed to design on a daily basis, whether I realize it or not. (Did you know that Helsinki is the world design capital for 2012?) It's all about simple, timeless, quality design, that is long-lasting and won't go out of style.

I'm so enamored with some Finnish products that I've started to dream about my "what if" wish list. Each of these items is so simple, yet so timeless and beautiful. And out of all the things this country has to offer, my wish list focuses on items in very basic shapes and colors. Repetition of shapes, with pops of color.

(Shown (starting top left and moving clockwise): Vitriini display boxes, designed by Anu Penttinen, 2010; Teema small serving plates, designed by Kaj Franck and Heikki Orvola, XX; Kivi candle votives, designed by Heikki Orvola, 1988; Teema round and square plates; Kastelhelmi plates, designed by Oiva Toikka, 1964.)

So these items, that I see in the Iittala aisles of the grocery stores every day, became the inspiration for my baby blanket. Instead of using colored pencils and graph paper, I opened Excel and used the drawing toolbar to make the shapes I needed. Then I re-sized them, colored them, layered them, grouped them and copied and pasted. I'm not sure what layout I will use yet. Could be this one:
Or this one:
I jumped right into this project and haven't looked back. I made up the first 5 squares, one in each of the 5 different "colorways" so I could get a visual. Then I completed all of the center circles. 
First 5 squares completed, with center circles being made
Next, rounds 2 and 3 for each center circle.
Working on round 3
I just love carrying around my little bag of shapes!
I'm working on the final round of my square and then I get to decide how to put them together, and how I will attach the squares. I will need an outer border for sure, as the blanket is not quite big enough and I have plenty of yarn left.
It's amazing how this project started out being really blah and boring to me, and with just a little bit of inspiration from the simplest of shapes, it's now one of my favorites. I don't want it to end!

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