Goodness me, this particular Ta-dah has been a long time coming! I had to search waaaaay back in my Drafts Folder to find these images which I uploaded a whopping eight months ago. Even though I was/am deeply in love with this particular creative endeavour of mine, I put off sharing it at the time cos I really wanted to make a pattern/tutorial to go with it. And as this is quite a complex pattern, somehow I never found a big enough time slot to make it happen. Also (as is often the case) I visualised, sampled and created the Happy Flower decoration in a complete whirlwind of excitability one weekend. So the pattern never really became a pattern as such, it was all conjured up out of thin air without a trace of evidence left behind. Not one scribbled word or number. You would think by now that I would have learnt about this sort of thing. Would have learnt to at least jot down a few pattern notes as I work. But no. I still very much go-with-the-flow when I've got an idea bursting to come out.
My Happy Flower wasn't an instant idea by any means, I chewed over the idea of it for quite some time before I actually got around to making it. When I think back to how it came about, I realise a need to credit several inspirational sources. My Creative Mind had obviously been grazing on ideas without me quite realising it. I find the whole business of designing endlessly fascinating. I love the way that my own thoughts/ideas work their way through a Journey of Inspiration before arriving at the Final Destination, and I often wish that more designer/makers would share their journeying process.
So here, if you are remotely interested, is a little bit about this particular Creative Journey of mine. Please feel free to skip over it if you wish, it's very linky I'm afraid..............
Around about the same time I also fell in love with a sweet flowery crochet picture created by Jacquie. Funny old thing, this inspiration business. Cos I've long been inspired by the fabulous work of print designer Jane Foster. And reading Jacquie's post, she used Jane's flower picture as a starting point for her crochet version, after reading about Jane's work on my blog. I then came along and picked that all up, twirled it around a bit and carried it onwards to make it my own. Around and around the inspiration goes, weaving it's creative magic spell.
One last piece of the Inspiration Puzzle was this sweet and gorgeous little hanging decoration made by the lovely Meme Rose. More twirling of the Inspiration Wheel....the Japanese Flower motif I was making at the time gave Meme Rose the inspiration to create her lovely hanging. And then in turn, I was inspired by the way she had combined her flower with hearts and beads, and that was it. I was off and running with it.
The above picture shows my first samples where I was working through my idea. I wanted to create a simple flower shape, and try out an idea for a two-colour leaf, possibly then making the leaves and stem together if I could find a way.
I went on to develop the original samples slightly, adding an extra edging row to the flower, and making the stem much longer to accommodate extra leaves (I need Orly Kiely style leaves I declared! Pairs of them in different colours! YES! I have to make it that way, nothing else will do!)
I did also work out a way to crochet the leaves and stem together as one piece which really took some doing, I flogged lots of brain cells for that one! I made the dark green inner stem first, then worked around it in pale green, branching off at intervals to create the leaf veins. The coloured leaves were then crocheted around the pale green veins, and it actually worked out way better than I had hoped. Result.
For someone who loves to embellish with buttons and beads, my personal button and bead stash is surprisingly small. I am not really a stash-builder, honest I'm not. I think I would quite like to be, but I've just not got around to it.
Luckily, my taste in beads and buttons is not at all sophisticated, and I adore those that are made for children. So when I'm in need of some beady supplies, I just opt for a little light theft and head straight for Little Lady's jewellery making set.
Aren't these weeny little plastic beads delightful? They are very small indeed, just a few millimetres across, but they're really useful for prettying things up in a weeny, colourful way.
There's something very unpretentious, sweet and nostalgic about plastic beads. I sometimes think I should really grow up a bit and get myself a selection of beautiful coloured glass beads to use in my crafting. One day maybe. But for now I'm more than happy with the cheap and cheerful option.
A little technical bit of natter now, as we need to talk about Stiffness.
This hanging decoration does need to be made with a fairly robust yarn, something that's not floppy when crocheted up. I always opt for my favourite Rowan Handknit Cotton for this type of project, it's perfect when you want good colour, good neat stitches and a little bit of stiffness. For added measure, I pinned out my flower when it was made (wrong side uppermost) and brushed it very carefully with some white PVA glue. I was careful to keep the glue sitting lightly on the reverse side and not to let any seep through the holes to the front. I left it to dry for 24hrs, by which time it had turned hard and crusty and stiff on the wrong side. It meant the leaves stayed sticking out flat and didn't flop forward or droop downwards. It was a pretty important part of making this decoration I'd say.
Pulling the whole thing together was heaps of fun, I had such a great time doing it. I made a little crochet circle and one of my teeny tiny hearts (with an extra edging colour worked in back loops only). I also added a few pretty little plastic buttons here and there, then strung everything together with thread and beads.
There............that's it, all put together.
Hanging loop, flower, stem+leaves, beads, circle, beads, heart, beads.
A long string of colourful hooky, beady loveliness.
Ta-dah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (had to say it!)
I was/am rather smitten with my Happy Flower.
I love the slightly childish element of it. I love that it's so useless. I love that it makes me smile every time I clap eyes on it, even eight months down the line. It really is a Happy Thing.
I knew straight away where I wanted to hang it. There is a piece of wall just inside the door to the living room that has one of my most-favourite pictures hanging on it. Its a textile picture that was given to me for my thirtieth Birthday. The work of a very dear and talented friend who I studied art/textiles with at college in the late 1980's. I thought my Happy Flower would be very happy indeed hanging underneath my Charlotte picture. They sit together beautifully.
Now then my lovely Hooky peeps......I know (cos you keep gently reminding me) that this sweet little project is something that many of you would like to try making for yourselves. I hear you. You know I get huge thrills out of inspiring, sharing and enabling anything of a decorative, frivolous hooky nature, and it'll be a pleasure to get this pattern/tutorial made for you. But it is quite a complex project. Not so much the flower, but the stem/leaf construction might take a bit of explaining. I will do my level best to un-complexify it for you.
So here's the plan :: next week, the kiddiwinks are on half term hols so they'll be home, along with J. I anticipate that it'll take me a whole day to create the tutorial, so I'm thinking I could smile sweetly at my gorgeous hubby and request some time out of Mummy-duties for a day. Sit myself in the Big Chair in the light of the bay window to hook, photograph and write. I promise you I will try very hard to make it happen. Promise ♥