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.

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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.

Meshed-up Crochet Headband Pattern

A girl can never have to many hair accessories.  These headbands quickly work up into a stretchy mesh perfect for keeping fly-away strands out of the face.  Changing the colour, yarn thickness and adding decorative elements such as flowers gives a wide variation on the basic pattern.   Gauge is not important for this project. The headband can be created using any combination of yarn and hook you like to create your desired thickness. As it only uses a small amount of yarn its a good stash buster for using up those little ends left over from larger projects.

Blue headband was crocheted using 3ply blue acrylic yarn and a 2.5 hook using the wide meshed-up  Headband pattern.

Grey headband was crocheting using King Cole Haze dk in grey and a 2.5 hook using the narrow meshed-up Headband pattern.

 

Instructions are written in american crochet terms.  ( Ch = chain, dc = double crochet, sc = single crochet, tc = triple crochet)

Wide Meshed-up headband

Shown in blue in the pictures.

Chain 17

Row 1:  Ch 5  into 10th chain from hook do 1  tc, *ch  3 and miss 3 ch , 1 tc* repeat x3 to end of chain.

Row 2 : Ch5 (counts as 1dc and 2 ch),  1 sc into  3-chain-space, 2ch  1dc into tc, *2ch 1sc into 3 ch, 2 ch 1 dc into  tr* repeat to end.

Row 3: Ch6 (counts as 1 tr and 3 ch) , 1 tr into 2nd dc, *Ch3 1tc into dc, *  repeat to end.

Row 4: Repeat row 3.

Row 5: Ch  2 (counts as first dc) *3 dc into 3-chain-space, 1 dc into tr,* repeat to end.

Row 6:   Ch6 (counts as 1 tr and 3 ch) 1 treble into 5th dc, *ch 3 skip 3 dc, 1trc into dc* repeat to end.

Row 7: Repeat row 3.

Continue repeating rows 2 to 7  until you have a headband long enough to wrap around your head.

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 Narrow Meshed-up Headband

Shown in grey in the pictures.

Chain 9

Row 1: ch 6, into the 5th chain from the end do 1 tc, 3ch, miss 3 ch. 1tc into last ch.

Row 2: 5 ch, miss 1 ch, 1 sc into 2nd ch, 2ch miss 1 ch, 1dc into tc, 2ch miss 1 ch, 1sc into ch, 2 ch miss 1 ch, 1 dc into next ch.

Row 3: 6 ch, 1 tr into centre dc, chain 3, 1 tr into end dc.

Row 4 onwards. Repeat alternating rows 2 and 3 until the headband is the desired length.

Without twisting the chain sc the ends together.

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Me modelling the headbands (ignore the roots!)

I love to see any items that you make from these patterns for yourself, gifts for friends and family and charity so please do post links or add your projects to Ravelry. This pattern can be found in Ravelry here .

Feather necktie

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Capturing  leaves falling through the wind, decorated with  berries cascading and glistening  in the first drops of rain.

I wanted a scarf that was light and airy for the sunny first days of autumn where a chunky scarf is just too warm.  I hoped to capture the beauty of fall so looked for a delicate crochet pattern.  The feathers looked like fragile skeletal leaves,  so I used a light golden brown 2ply yarn to crochet the tie with.   To add a touch more  luxury I entwined exquisite beads onto the ends of the feathers/leaves and to decorate the edging.   I’ve only lightly blocked this to bring out the design, however for more definition a fuller block/starch would be beneficial (see the pattern for how it looks blocked).    But as I tend to twine scarves around my neck/head/waist I have left it a bit crumply.

I just love how versatile it is.  I’ve already worn it a number of ways, tied tightly around the neck like a necklace, worn loose as a scarf, tied around a hairband to create a jeweled headdress and  wrapped around the waist as a loose decorative belt.  It adds a wonderful hint of glamour to any outfit.
 This beautiful pattern is available on Ravelry: Feather Stole by Elizabeth Myers.  It was  easy to crochet following the chart  (just took me a couple of attempts whilst I got my head around what I was meant to be doing).  The original pattern creates a stole but is easily adapted to make thinner and wider designs, instructions on how to do this are even included in the pattern.  I used 3 copies of the feather to create a thin lacey scarf.  I also altered the edging to turn mine into a beaded delight.
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Ohh what fun. After enjoying spectating the Made it Challenge for the last couple of months I’ve finally put together an entry and linked in my crochet hook case. Can’t wait to see what others make this month. 🙂

woolhogs

Really? A new month?? Already???

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Yes, the months they do roll into each other rather quickly, don’t they!

But that doesn’t scare us! Naaaah.  Its SPRING here in the South Hemisphere, AUTUMN in the Northern and that gives us all an excuse to made something shiny and new, yipeee!

So, what ya gonna make?! Something warm and cosy? Something soft and floral?

Can’t wait to see what this month produces 🙂

We would like to thank you all for your previous entries for July and August – how awesome . Just take a look at all this talent!!!!

(click on any photo to take you back to the original post)

Please **** REBLOG this post*** and let’s get more lovely folk involved!

~ Oh yes, the PRIZE ~

I am going to “open the floor” and invite any of you to donate this months prize! It doesn’t have to be…

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Sweetpea Crochet Hook Case Pattern

I’ve been collecting a number of crochet hooks lately and always seem to be loosing them. I get a small collection back every time I tidy from ones that have escaped under the sofa, behind the cushions, and they always tumble out of the wool bags I hide behind the sofa. So I definitely needed a safe place to store some. I also wanted a method that would allow me to transport hooks and the essentials like needle, thread, scissors and safety pins around with me as I travel back and forth to my mums. After glancing through a few images of hook cases I decided to make up my own. This meant I could try out the Sweetpea stitch I had seen in one of my crochet stitch directories.

This case is very adaptable and you can add pockets or hook holders where you need to fit in your crocheting goodies. It could also be adapted easily into a pencil case or jewelry pouch. I’m considering making another to store my crochet necklaces in, replacing the surface crochet with more pockets.

As always feedback is welcomed. If you do run into any problems let me know so I can amend the pattern to make it clearer! Feel free to use my designs for gifts etc and please do link back here to the pattern so I can see what beautiful items you have made.

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I haven’t blocked my case yet, but this would make the case more squared and less likely to curl up at the corners. I’m not sure it needs it though as most of the time it is rolled up to store the hooks.

Stash Buster – Sweetpea Crochet Hook Case

This pattern is written in American crochet terms conversions and abbreviations are given at the bottom of the pattern.
As you can use up the ends of yarns and mix and match to create stripes etc. this is a great stash buster or way to try out a new yarn without committing to a large project.

What you need:
4.00 mm crochet hook
Double knitting weight yarn Colour A and Colour B
I used less than one skein of red Woolcraft New Fashion Double Knitting and a small amount of Black King Cole Haze DK.
One button, needle and sewing thread

Case:
Chain 37 (increase or decrease this chain depending on wool and hook so that the chain is about a couple of inches longer than the height of crochet hooks. Just ensure that your chain number is a multiple of 7 plus 2 extra – e.g. 7*5 = 35 + 2 ch = 37 chains)

ROW 1 ch 3, 1 dc into 4th ch from hook, dc along into each chain to end of row.
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Row 2 ch 3 (counts as first dc) 1 dc into 2nd chain of hook, *miss 2 dc, 5 dc into next dc (shell), sk 2 dc, 2 dc into next 2 dc*,
repeat from * to end of row.
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Row 3: ch 3, 1 dc between first 2 dc, *1 dc between 3rd and 4th of shell, 5 dc between the 2 single dc,*
repeat from * to end of row with 2 dc between last 2 dc.

Row 4: Ch3, 1 dc between first 2 dc, *5 dc between the 2 single dc, 1 dc between 3rd and 4th of shell, *
repeat from * to end of row with 2 dc between last 2 dc.

Repeat by alternating row 3 and row 4 until crochet case is desired width. I used 18 rows.

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Pocket:
Chain 12
Row 1: Ch3 tc in 4th ch from hook, tc in each chain
Row 2: Ch3, turn, tc into back loop only of 2nd tc and tc in each tc to end
Row 3: Ch3, turn, tc into front loop only of 2nd tc and tc in each to end.
Row 4 + repeat alternating row 2 and 3 until piece measures high enough to hold your scissors or other items.
Attach to the case using sc along sides and bottom.

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Hook inserts
These are worked using straight lines of single crochet surface crochet. I added 2 lines to hold my hooks (see picture for positioning)
Join the yarn and hold on the side with the pocket.
Insert the hook under the row to be worked and out to the front again, yrh and draw loop through, yrh and draw through 2 loops on hook. (One surface crochet is now completed).
Work a line of surface crochet until about 1 inch from the edge of the case.

If you are unfamiliar with surface crochet it is demonstrated in this video by CraftyAndy:

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Border and button – worked in Colour B
Row 1: With Colour B sc around edge of case.
Row 2: Ch3, (dc, ch1, 2dc) in same stitch, * sk 3 sc, (2dc, ch1, 2dc) in same stitch, * repeat from * all around the case.
Finish by adding a button to fasten the case into a roll.

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Abbreviations and Conversions

ch = chain
dc = double crochet (American dc is equivalent to treble crochet in English crochet).
sc = single crochet (American sc is equivalent to double crochet in English crochet).
shell = 5dc into one dc.
sk = skip
tc = treble crochet (American tc is equivalent to double treble crochet in English crochet)
yrh = yarn around hook

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My little crochet helper cuddling up to the work in progress. She loves to curl up on my lap whilst I crochet which unfortunatly adds a few dog hairs into the stitches!

I love to see what people make so please do link your creations to me. This pattern can also be found/linked to via Ravelry: