Well I did you warn you there might be a crochet post in the pipe-line! And with extra time in my day from no riding, and the reduced horse-related cleaning (it’s rather nice not needing to clean tack, saddle pads, etc. and the reduction in jodhpur washing is also appreciated – here is the silver lining I’d been looking for) I have been trying different things with crochet. I’ll describe them in chronological order.
A few weeks ago I had no idea that scrumbling, or freeform crochet even existed, but if you search the internet for it you’ll see that people make some beautiful random creations out of crochet. I’m not linking to any because a) these images belong to people and I wouldn’t always be sure I was crediting the right person and b) my stuff will look rubbish beside theirs!
The only rules are … there are no rules! Anarchic crochet.
Common themes are spirals, three-dimensional effects and using up the random bits of yarn left over from other projects. So I had a go at making a little scrumble of my own.
I glued it to pale purple card for a thank you letter card, which is why I had to keep it quite small. Also, as a new crocheter I have a limited supply of random yarn ends!
I have to say I found it thoroughly enjoyable to just make it up as I went along and I definitely want to do a lot more scrumbling. To that end I visited all of the charity shops in town looking for odds and ends of wool. I didn’t find nearly as much as I expected – I seem to remember that charity shops always used to have wool but when I looked I found so little. I realised the reason for this when I went on eBay – these days so many people can sell it on the internet when in the past they would have given it away when they had no use for it. So I bid on some mixed batches perfect for scrumbling and will not bother with the charity shops again.
To be honest this barely deserves to be called a mini-project, but it made the post title easier.
The biggest thing I felt my scrumble skills lacked was some ruffle techniques. At the time I didn’t manage to find any free instructions for the kind of ruffles I wanted, so I just decided to experiment. The plan was to make a one-piece ruffle, worked in the round, that would take me towards a the fullness of a sphere-like shape.
I managed this:
I don’t think it’s bad considering it was all experimentation and no knowledge! I began by chaining 6, making a loop and filling it with as many single crochets as possible. In hindsight a smaller loop might have been advisable. Then in the next round I increased once in each stitch. Then I got impatient and increased twice in each stitch in the next round, making my ruffle mathematically inelegant. I now know I should have stuck with the same factor of increase throughout. But by that point I had this much rufflyness, which was, after all the point of the exercise, so I changed colour and added a single crochet in each stitch for the final (now very wiggly) round.
You can squash it about so you can see the initial loop like this, or leave it “bouffant” as in the first image. I think it’s interesting, although ultimately useless. Still, now I have the skills and experience to try ruffling again in a scrumble or just for its own sake.
It turns out that what I was attempting to do was hyperbolic crochet. Mathematicians were all tied up in knots by trying to physically create models of hyperbolic planes, when in the late 1990s one mathematician who could crochet realised crochet was the solution.
If you want to learn more, try http://mathandfiber.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/introduction-to-crocheting-hyperbolic-planes/ You can also find instructions there.
Another term worth image-searching is the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project. That is some seriously impressive crochet!
I will definitely try some hyperbolic crochet at some point because the end results are fascinating. Maths+crochet = far cooler than the sum of its parts!
I’ve recently started following http://elvirajane.wordpress.com/. Her sculptural crochet patterns have been intriguing me since I stumbled across her fairy mushroom pots patterns. She recommends her sculptural pot as a good starting point so I gave it a go. As usual I didn’t have exactly the right yarn or hook to hand, so I improvised. I used an 8 ply cotton yarn (originally bought for a pony-hat before I decided I didn’t want a cream ear-bonnet on a horse with a black and white face) and picked a small hook to make it easier to keep the tension tight. Having begun with the wrong tools, I then made copious counting mistakes! It being the first time I’d worked in continuous rounds, it was somewhat of a learning curve. It wasn’t until I got to the final couple of rows that I realised how much accuracy was important in the early rows! I also have a feeling I threw in a whole extra row at one point… probably not advisable! Anyway I have to say considering everything I think it’s OK for a first attempt.
Although the shape is not perfect I find the texture and stiffness fascinating. Perhaps because I used cotton not wool/acrylic, it feels and sounds somewhat like papier-mache and I find I can’t stop handling it. Turning it over and tapping the bottom it’s like a tiny tactile drum.
It seems so opaque but when you hold it to the light…
On the other hand I’m not sure I want to make another one. Keeping the tension this tight is physically stressful and I actually have a crochet blister from making it! Also I suspect that patterns which require lots of counting might not be my strong point.
I have begun a couple of larger projects, but it may be some time before I have pictures to share of either of those, particularly if I keep getting distracted by mini-projects!