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Fruits Hat

I had such fun making a lovely warm hat for my head.  And the bonus is it doubles as a teacosy 🙂 It’s perfect for walking Jasmine out on the windy hills, really snug and wooly.

This hat is inspired by the absolutely beautiful freeform hats Renate Kirkpatrick makes – check them out on her blog Rensfibreart.

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I started off with a bunch of basic circular and spiral scrumbles in shades of red and pink.

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I made a hat shaped mesh and attached the scrumbles onto it using single crochet. The pink area was made to flop over the top like a pixie hat.

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Then I hit the really fun part.  Decorating the hat and letting my imagination run wild. This is also the part that takes the most time! I filled in the gaps with more crochet, buttons and beads and added a funky tassel. Building up a range of textures and adding surface crochet to areas of interest.  The hardest part is knowing when to stop……

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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.

Scrumbles Bracelet

Scrumbles are  my latest addiction.  I love the little pieces of crochet joined together to form freeform pieces of art.   Mishmash of colours and textures make these pieces really unique. Such a brilliant way to use up ends of yarn or to just try a sample of new wool without committing to a huge project.    Each step of creating a part gives that little buzz of achievement…..no need to wait 10 hours for the finished shawl buzz.  And with my many and increasing WIPS getting a few mini pieces that I can class as finished is such a bonus 🙂  I now have a little bag  filled with samples/flowers/embelshments crocheted in different yarns and shades, waiting for me at mums, all ready to be combined into artwork.

My first attempt at a “finished piece” was a scrumble bracelet made in blues and greys colours that evoked our summer rainy day sky’s in the UK.  The freedom of creating little crochet embellishments and then combining them and adding garnishes of gems and beads was very enjoyable.

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My inspiration ( a very small selection):

I just love all the blogs I follow they always give me  inspiration and motivation to further develop my crochet skills.   Wether its a wonderfully toned colour selection or the most adorable little motifs they get the brain whirling over what I could create myself.

stitchedupmama has some absolutely beautiful scrumble pieces that combine different textiles and I especially love the beautifully decorative and organic woodland artwork    This really opened my eyes to the versatility of crochet.

There’s a good selection of scrumble and freeform crochet on pininterst – I fell headfirst in love with the bags and scarves pinned  by taarna.

And of course Ravelry features wonderful examples of freeform scrumbles.

An afternoon of Corsages and Tea

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I needed an easy project to do that would only take a  few hours as a break from crochet necklaces.  A “quick” look at Ravelry (quick meaning I didn’t spend the whole afternoon browsing the wonderful creations on there but only an hour or so) and I found a pattern for a beautiful large corsage.  I skimmed the pattern notes and saw it looked simple enough.  But there were no other completed projects to see how others had faired.  I just love browsing through what others have done to see yarn and colour combinations and to read any hiccups and modifications in their project notes.   However I decided the lack of projects must be put right immediately and dived head first into my yarn stash.    I came out grasping 2 shades of blue which looked so complementary together. One a bright turquoise and the other a paler minty blue both Woolcraft New Fashion Double Knitting. This is a cheap and cheerful yarn perfect for mini projects/testing new patterns.

The pattern was very straightforward with just one (130+) row in each colour.  But I kept loosing track when counting to 8 for each petal set whilst trying to keep in my head which part of the stitch pattern I was on.   It was just a little too much information for my brain to hold on a warm afternoon whilst I indulged with tea and homemade tea loaf.  Next time a pen and paper will be utilised to keep track of where I am up to in the pattern. However,  happily as I’m sure I messed up in a couple of places,  it is very forgiving if you miss/duplicate stitches so any mistakes don’t really matter. I made a couple of changes to the finishing off of the pattern.  Crocheted the corsage onto the back piece rather than sewing and made it more ruffled up and on top of itself so it wasn’t as large a diameter.    I found a flowery pale blue  button which I attached into the centre to set it off as a statement piece.

Good fun project for beginners  as mistakes really don’t seem to matter too much at all.  The pattern is available on Ravelry by Jane Crowe.

Home made Tea loaf:

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Half eaten loaf

This makes a  rich tea-loaf perfect to spread with butter and have with your favourite cuppa.

As wheat is my enemy  I bake my own cakes and bread so I can achieve gluten free on a reasonable budget.  To aid me in this I have a wonderful breadmaker which allows me to chuck in a bunch of ingredients and return a few hours later to delicious baked goods, magic.    This is a recipe I’ve adapted from several recipes online which I find makes a good slightly moist loaf in my breadmaker. You can bake this substituting normal flour for the gluten free variety if you don’t have a wheat sensitivity.  If you don’t have a breadmaker you can mix this all together, beat in the egg and put into a lined bread tin and bake in the oven at Gas Mark 4 for about 45 minutes.

Ingredients

1 cup of tea (I used Tetley decaf  but any tea you like would be fine)

1 cup of  sultanas (or any mixed dried fruit)

2 cups of plain gluten free flour

2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp oil (I used Sunflower but any mild flavoured cooking oil would be fine)

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Directions:

Boil kettle and make up one cup of black  tea.  Stir in one teaspoon of honey.

Put sultanas in a bowl and pour over the tea and honey mix.  Leave to soak for around 1 hour until it goes cold.

Meanwhile, pour yourself another cup of tea,  add milk/sugar as desired and sit and  browse through Crochet magazines and online patterns to find your next must have item.

Once the tea is cold and the sultanas are nicely plumped.  Measure all other ingredients into the bread-maker.   Pour over the black tea and sultana mix.

Set the breadmaker to “cake”.

Sit and crochet your chosen “must have” accessory and go back to get your rewards from the breadmaker after 2 1/2 hours.
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In my impatience to eat I didn’t cut it very straight!