Susan Carlson of Felted Button | Colorful Crochet Patterns

My Design Wars "Design" Process

If you are anything like me, and watch those "How Things are Made" shows, you might get a kick out of this post. 

As many of you know, I was a guest challenger in the fifth round of Design Wars--an elite crochet challenge created by the talented Salena Baca of Salena Baca Crochet. We were sponsored by Red Heart Yarns and they provided our color selections of Red Heart Soft that all 10 participants used to create the design of their choice.

I thought it might be fun to share with you the crazy process that went into this design. Let me tell was quite a ride!!

Once we--the challengers--ordered our yarn, and while I was waiting for it to arrive, I planned, and hooked and sketched, and frogged. I'll share with you some of the thoughts and creative process.

It all started with a triangle...

Which is graphic, and tesselates, and could be really nifty. Joining could be a bit troublesome, however, and because I like patterns that do the join-as-you-go thing, this would need to be solved in an acceptable fashion.
Now what if I added additional color on the triangles? Who, me, you ask?? Color? Yes. This must look like a true Felted Button design!
Now that's kind of nifty. There's almost a little triangular pocket in the middle. Hmmmm. But it's not quite right. Although the joining issue was better.

Now with this idea, I could join the inner and outer ridges and make a pretty nifty geometric motif. And just think of the color options. (Remember, I also looove motifs!) But there is still the joining issue. Maybe it will have to be done the old-fashioned way by single crochet or slip stitching or whipstitching.

Somehow my brain got stuck on this very clean and simple triangle. I love the inset triangle, the options for slip-stitching in the center, the texture and the little picot corners for join-as-you-go. But it just didn't seem Design Wars worthy.

Now this was beautiful. Texture, and a good size and options for a little flower in the middle, maybe? Or not?

Then I got started playing with some triangles and patterns in white, with lots of colorful little slip-stitched center rings. I like those. And the recessed triangles were pretty cool. And the join-as-you-go was not too fiddly, either. That's good.

So what if I made the triangles in a chevron-like pattern. 

And added wee little flowers to the center. Off I go to the computer to sketch out a placement diagram. All the while I am scribbling notes, and scribbling some more.

Indeed, the back of these look pretty awesome, as well. Depth, squishiness, and texture. Good. Yes. Good. So after a diagram is drawn, colors are selected, and an idea "pretty much" settled on, I go to work. Another triangle, then another, then a flower or two to see if it is going to look the way my brain envisions it. Out of orange. Now out of seafoam. I suppose I must wait for my order to arrive from Red Heart.
Being the not-so-patient and VERY indecisive person that I am, I quickly begin to second guess myself. Is this the BEST design I can come up with? I am, after all, competing against some VERY experienced and talented designers. OK. Shut the nervous-induced doubt off with distraction.

So I made a blanket that looked like a piece of notebook paper. Design, sketch, write, crochet, photograph, test, edit, release--a very effective distraction indeed. I call it the Love Notes Blanket and was happy to share the sample for the pattern with a secret sister from Design Wars.

My yarn finally arrives!! (That is after I ordered nearly 25 skeins myself due to impatience!) So now it is time to settle on some colors.

If I were to continue with the chevrony, flowery, triangle pattern I would need some pink, honey, tangerine, off white and deep sea that you see in the box above. But, oh, I am FELTED BUTTON--COLORFUL CROCHET PATTERNS! How can I possibly not use all the colors of the rainbow, right?!

So after playing with all of the colors I had in my stash, these are the ones I finally decided upon. And then, the obsession with triangles in my brain came to an end. Because my brain did a little switcheroo--to RECTANGLES!
This was one of my earliest attempts. I wasn't certain yet where this process would take me. But I was liking the shape, for sure. I haven't seen a lot of rectangle motifs that are interesting. But what are the little popcorn bumps at each end? Interesting texture, but, somehow.
What if I were to make a little "frame" for the rectangle? I like that. The frame works behind the center white rectangle, and the frame allows for join-as-you-go. Hmmm...

Now set in green, and worked like a stem, the center really pops now. And working the popcorns at one end makes it look like a leaf--sort-of.

And if it were framed, I could have a lot of fun with the rainbow of colors I had chosen.

But, oh, the color play I could enjoy if the leaves were actually flowers! Tee! Hee! Now that is more like it!

Add some additional texture to the frame and it really sets off the flowers! Now how is that joining going to go? Not well at all. It looked horrible. After joining nearly 20 rectangles, I frogged all of the frames and started over--finally settling on joining traditionally.

Another little tweak to the motif--closing up that space at the stem end. Better. to the computer again to create a placement diagram for these little beauties. Aaahhhh! Perfect!! 
Play with joining colors. Play with border for several more long days--I cannot tell you how many times I frogged that thing--and, well...
Now think of a name. Call my friend, Cathy--she's good with this sort of thing. With a botany background and way with words, she came up with the name...

The Mariposa Throw

My Mariposa Throw is named this because of the simple three petaled flowers that grow on rocky slopes with simple stems. PERFECT NAME! All-in-all I'm pleased. It incorporates a chevron-like pattern, use rectangles, lots of rainbowy color, and flowers and texture and originality! Phew! That was an intense process, huh? Thanks for coming on that little ride with me!

By the way, did you hear who won? MEEE!!! I somehow managed this, against some seriously beautiful designs, to win Best Use of Color, Best Use of Yarn, and Most Popular Design! I was shocked! And honored! And thrilled! Well, you will know why when you see the competition's designs here.

Thanks for joining me on this journey! And thank you to all who supported me in this adventure! It was such fun!

If you are thinking you would like to make a Mariposa, but are a bit intimidated, don't be! The pattern has a separate picture section with over 50 photos to help you out. It's really not hard, I promise! And I'm available to answer questions, if you have any.

| On the Board | -- You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head. But you can prevent their making a nest in your hair.

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