Thursday, 29 December 2011

Freeform Crochet

My hubby has given me a marvellous book for Christmas: “Freeform Crochet and Beyond,” by Renate Kirkpatrick (who is a lovely lady, by the way – so friendly and always willing to answer questions!) – this is not a book of crochet patterns to make specific items, so if you want to make a jumper or a hat and want a pattern, this is not the book for you. On the contrary – the only patterns are for basic motifs, but there are instructions for the more common crochet stitches, and how to join the motifs etc. too, and the book is full of inspiration, with numerous pictures of the author’s own work. It’s really a springboard for one’s own inspiration and creativity! It is absolutely mouthwatering.

I recently took up my crochet again, and made a few small motifs with fine cotton a few months ago, which is great, but rather tiring on one’s eyes after a bit. I wanted to have something small to pick up and do when I am on the settee, perhaps not feeling well enough to be in my ARTHaven, but well enough to want to do something, or perhaps just watching TV with my hubby. I’ve been thinking of reviving my knitting again too, but the thought of embarking on a full-scale project was a bit daunting. I used to do a lot of Kaffe Fassett-style knitting with loads of colours – I loved designing my own stuff – but it takes a lot of planning, and the knitting itself gets pretty huge and heavy after a while!

The discovery of Renate’s book was an inspiration in itself – I can’t remember where I found it – a link on someone’s blog, I think – but when my hubby asked what I’d like for Christmas, I said this book! (He also gave me another book, which I’ll post about another time.) The idea is that you make up lots of small “patches” in different colours and textures, and then join them together into whatever you want. This is not only highly creative and individual, and quite quirky, but ideal for me from a practical point of view – I can make a few small pieces in an evening and it’s not taxing, or too heavy to hold for any length of time.

This evening I made a start. On the right in the picture above you can see the pieces I made. Here they are in more detail (with the exception of the small red triangle).

This is the first piece I made – a small rectangle using various shades of pale pink, including some mohair, worked in double crochet.

I thought I’d start with simple shapes and then move on to more complex pieces, although I’m a competent crocheter and should be able to manage most things!

This is my second piece, another rectangle, also in double crochet, but this time with the addition of a scallop at the top.

After working on a simple triangle, also in double crochet, I moved on to spirals, one of Renate’s favourite motifs.

My first one is quite simple; a basic spiral with some surface embellishment in the form of slip stitches in pale pink mohair over a darker pink background.

The final piece I made tonight was another spiral, this time quite a bit bigger at about 4 1/2 inches diameter – I think from now on I’ll keep them to about 2 or 3 inches. I embellished this with more elaborate surface stitching which has turned out better than I thought it would at first. It’s gone a bit frilly around the edges and may not be suitable for incorporation into the project I am planning, but no matter – as Renate says, you can save up all the motifs you make, and they will slot into place in later projects if they don’t seem to be working in the current one.

This is the basket of yarns I selected a few days ago (being photobombed by Phoebe – kitties always manage to get themselves into photos of anything involving wool!).

Years ago I bought this jumper from a cheap catalogue:

It was very inexpensive and not made of particularly good quality yarn, and it’s rather short, but I’ve always adored the colours and textures in it, and even though it has been rather pulled with kitty claws over the years, I can’t bear to part with it! My thought was to knit it again in better yarn, but when I discovered freeform crochet, I decided to use that instead, and make a radically new design, but keeping the same basic colour palette. These first pieces I’ve made will probably be incorporated into this project.

Thank you, Renate, for launching me on this exciting new voyage of discovery in colour and texture!

This is obviously going to take a long time, so keep your eyes open for progress reports!


  1. Oh you Lucky Duck you :)

  2. I shall follow your project with great interest. I put the book on my Amazon wish-list when you mentioned it before Christmas, but I daren't order it yet. Since I had major shoulder surgery about five years ago, I have found it difficult to hold the weight of an adult size piece of knitting, though I am enjoying making little garments for my new great-grandson, so these little pieces of work should suit me much better.I love your colour scheme and you have made a good start with the first pieces. Kate x

  3. Dear Shoshi ... thank you so much for your lovely comment and visiting me after I've not posted for a while. I must say that book looks great and I love the way it has inspired you. There will be no stopping you now! Freeform is the only way I know ... as can't follow a pattern. I never seem to have the time to learn or perhaps I am just not ready yet. Instead ... I crochet rounds, pebble shapes and pieces that look like agates ... will show one day!!!

    bye for now and have a wonderful new year
    Carolyn xx

  4. I can see you in that jumper with all sorts of crochet added to it! Hope you are enjoying the festive season! (I guess you are!)


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