Archive | October 2012

Competition

woolhogs

Hello fellow bloggers, clever creatives, makers & shakers

Join our monthly MADE IT challenge!

made it

It’s so easy to enter and it’s HUGE FUN – sharing, connecting and inspiring! Oh, and there’s a cool prize up for grabs every month! so, here’s what you have to do:

  • Look for something awesome to make (best part), remember it can be anything at all

  • MAKE IT! take pics along the way if you are going to be doing a tutorial so we can all see how it’s done

  • Blog it, post it, whatever – just get it online! (if you don’t have a blog, let me know and I will post it for you ***)

    Don’t forget to post a link to give credit to where the original idea came from

Submit the URL/link of your superb creation on “inlinkz” (check out the little click HERE or click on FROGGY below)

Don’t forget to check…

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Freeform Bag progress 2

As an attempt at “learning how to do freeform” I’m taking part in a free-form bag Crochet-along (CAL) run by Ravelry UK Freeformers Group .  I decided to blog along each step so I could follow what I did and my thought processes and repeat for future endeavours.  Hopefully anyone thinking of taking up freeform can see its not as daunting as it first looks. I’d highly recomend any one new to freeform joins in with a CAL so you can get feedback and tips on what you are doing, see how others are progressing and get lots of encouragement and support as you go along.

These are just my own interpretations/ideas around free-form crochet, there’s lots of different views about what does and doesn’t classify and how to do different things.  I’ve put a set of links to what resources I am using to learn on the links page.

Things I’ve  learned so far.

Flowers, leaves, stitch patches etc are all called pieces they are not scrumbles until artistically joined together. Therefore a scrumble is when you put pieces together to form something containing multiple pieces in different textures/stitches. Or crochet/knit a scrumble all in one go changing yarns as you go along. Scrumbles have no size or shape limits. It is all open to interpretation!

Random holes in the scrumbles are allowed, even encouraged. But you can also fill them with pretty sparkly beads and buttons.

Scrumbles can be put together to form free-form objects. Otherwise known as majestic, artistic creations.

Scrumbling is highly addictive and can make time disappear into a bright spark of creativity.

Looking at other people’s scrumbles is highly addictive and can make time disappear into a bright spark of inspiration.

Firmly rewind your yarns after each time you use them otherwise you end up drowning beneath a tangle of yarn and create a nest for the little dog to play in and further mess up yarns.

Yarn change regularly.  Learn to love weaving in loose ends or crochet them in as you work.

Fairy wings are awesome to create and curve beautifully around flowers.  Bullions however are nightmares invented to make you throw down your crochet hook in fury and storm off to make a cup of tea.

Freeform is pure artistic expression, there are no rights or wrongs, its about having fun and letting your imagination run wild.

Bag Progress:

When I posted my first scrumbles   I got some lovely feedback on the CAL forums that breaking up the big blocks of red and adding in more yarns would improve them.  My first attempt is shown in an earlier post.  The group is very supportive and there are ton’s of tips shared on yarn selection, how to create scrumble, what to improve, stitches and yarns used, how to line a bag etc.

So for my second set of scrumbles I endeavoured to use less red and try to balance them out more.  I followed the guidelines of creating about 5 pieces and joining them together to form a scrumble.   But as you can see they are still rather plain, and I felt looked basic compared to the beautiful creations I’d seen described as freeform.  The great thing about this was it gave me an excuse to do more “research” and look through a few hundred or so examples of what other people had created.  The sheer amount of talent was amazing. I came away feeling daunted but also incredibley inspired. The main site I used for an idea on how scrumbles could look was Prudence Mapstones A Scrumble a Week blog. Her creations are jaw-dropingly artistic. Go take a peek at her site for examples of just how beautiful freeform can look.

I was happy with the overall shape and feel of my scrumbles. So these scrumbles became the foundation from which to build upon and add in more detail.

For the leaves I  added outlines/extra parts  in different coloured yarns, often just using a row of sc or surface crochet.  On one leaf I weaved in a length of contrasting yarn to emphasise the stem.

Holes in flower centres were filled with glittering beads and buttons to add a bit more sparkle to the scrumble.

I covered over gaps with tiny flowers crocheted with crochet cotton.

Using a greater variety of yarn and adding more stitches to each one added more detail and interest. The hard part was then knowing when to stop before it all turns into a mess of yarn!

I now have the first scrumble that I like and can be classed as completed.:

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And two more which I’ll keep tweaking until I feel they are worked upon enough.

First steps in Tunisian Crochet

Taking a deep breath this morning I took the plunge to try out my first bit of Tunisian crochet. This piece didn’t have to be perfect as it was serving as a sample stitch “rectangle shape” for my freeform crochet bag WIP scrumbles.

I’ve been fascinated by Tunisian crochet since I started reading Kim Guzman’s blog and seeing the beautiful patterns she has designed. I initially started trying to work from my Complete Photo Guide to Crochet book, and as wonderful as this book is for normal crochet stitches I didn’t get how where I should be inserting my hook etc from the pictures and description.   Two cups of tea and several unpickings later I headed over to Kim’s blog to see if she had any guides.  I found Kim’s you tube videos and   this video guide combined with the step by step written instructions helped it all fall into place.  I carefully followed what she did and I soon picked up the basic Tunisian simple stitch.  I’d highly recommend  the videos to anyone wanting to learn Tunisian crochet, they show clearly what you need to do.

I don’t have a proper Tunisian hook so kept the stitch length short (20 stitches) so it didn’t slide off the standard crochet hook. I started with DK yarn and a 3.00 mm hook but soon increased to 3.50 as I was finding the stitches too tight to work with easily. I might try an even larger hook next time.

I lost stitches, not just one, several…. this resulted in one side of my rectangle having a distinct incline at the bottom and straight at the top once I got the hang of picking up all the stitches. Just look how the toe kicks upwards, thankfully it fit in-between the two “flower shapes”. I decided this was an erm intentional toe effect, just what I needed to match in with my leaf shape, after all perfect rectangles are boring aren’t they, artistic toey bits are much more freeform.

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Artistic patch showing my first attempt at Tunisian simple stitch

I then went on to try out the Tunisian Purl Stitch (wrapped) again watching Kim’s You-tube guide.    This one turned out a little better.  Although the going was slower with wrapping the yarn in front of each stitch.    I still lost stitches so had a bit of a inward curling edge.  But liked the pattern produced.

First attempt at Tunisian pearl stitch
Then I discovered my favourite stitch.  The Tunisian Double Stitch (TDS) which felt much more like crocheting along.   I also liked the looser fabric this created.  This was easily to manipulate into a nice leaf shape, which complements the flowers in my freeform scrumbles perfectly.  I made several more using this double-stitch done with single or knitted stitch.
I still need much, much, more practice doing Tunisian crochet.  But I enjoyed my first venture into using this technique.     I’m looking forward to the next steps of a nice scarf  once I get a proper Tunisian hook.
Leaf formed from Tunisian double stitch.

Chocolate Lime Macaroons and Freeform crochet bag WIP

I had a lovely Saturday visiting my sister for coffee, chats and baking.  We made the most deliciously awesome chocolate lime macaroons.   Based on the yummy sweets from our childhood – chocolate limes.    And I have to say these tasted even more scrumptious than we remembered the sweets.  The zing of lime, velvet chocolate and sweetness of sugary macaroons all perfectly compliment.   And these delicate little biscuit/sweets are gluten-free so I can  indulge all day (well lets forget about the waist-line).

These photo’s are a bit dark as it was early evening when we finished baking and none made it to the light of day, getting eagerly devoured by our family 🙂 .

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Brief  How-to recreate Chocolate Lime Macaroons:

To your favourite french-macaroon base add the zest of a lime and a few drops of green food colouring.   We followed a recipe similar to this one on the BBC to bake our macaroons.

For the filling melt the best dark chocolate you can afford (at least 70% cocoa) and add it to buttercream. This is a great recipe for chocolate buttercream:

Sandwich macaroons together and enjoy munching.

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Scrumilicious macaroon


Freeform Bag WIP

I finally have joined in a CAL on Ravelry after eyeing them for so long.  This one is for a free-form bag.  Something I have wanted to make for a while.  I’m hoping I can get lots of tips whilst I tackle this new challenge.   It’s rather daunting to jump into a world full of scrumbles, randomness and independent crochet.

I’ve started by picking out my yarn.  A mix of ends left over from other projects in shades of pinks, purples and reds.    Following from the technique from the mod I’ve started by crocheting the same little crochet pieces in different yarn.   I’d like it to be a mix of flower shapes. So far I have a circle flower shape (chain 5, R1 dc and R2 dc, 2dc, repeat)  a triangular flower, (magic loop, 10sc.  Row 1: dc and tc in same stitch, tc and dc in same stitch, sc, repeat),  a leaf shape (2 segments of Lazy J, from the complete photo guide to crochet p193), 1 spirally shape which has bullion stitches, and one rectangle sample (various stitches)  which I have done twice and joined together.  I had to pull out the joins a few times after realising I’d sewn stuff on backwards, got myself tangled in stitches and yarn and wondered what the heck I have got myself into with all the ends I need to weave in.   But it’s a start!!!!

First selection of yarn.

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First 2 scrumble patches….I’ve already added in another ball of red and purple yarn to the selection.