Free form Crochet

Every since the Fibre Fest I have been wondering about free-form crochet. There was a lady there with loads of rugs and cushions in free-form, and I just though they were terrific.

For any of you that don’t know, freeform crochet is like painting – the hook is a brush and the yarn a paint. The result can be abstract or realistic. Freeform is original design, not a reproduction of another person’s pattern, – it goes beyond the realm of patterns and restrictions that usually apply toward our art.

The technique allows the crocheter to explore the creative and artistic possibilities of the craft in unexpected ways.

Traditional crochet is typically orderly; you’d expect it to be worked in well-organized rounds or rows. You could expect to work from a pattern, and the end result would be a useful project.

The freeform crocheter can toss any or all of those expectations out the window if (s)he chooses. Forget the pattern; (s)he’ll make it up as (s)he goes along. Forget the orderly rounds and rows. (S)he will draw up a loop in any spot (s)he chooses, helter-skelter. The end result of these efforts might, or might not, turn out to be a functional project, depending on the designer’s vision. It is fantastic if a useable project is created in the process, but it is also acceptable if the resulting object is completely useless.

There is an age-old debate about where to draw the line between “art” and “craft.” Some will argue that crochet could never be “art,” but the freeform crocheter would likely disagree. Freeform crochet could be compared to sculpting with yarn. If sculpture is “art”, then so is freeform crochet.

Whatever the distinction may be, the outcome is a piece of work like no other, it is not only functional, but beautiful as well. Freeform includes 2-D and 3-D art, clothing and useful items.

I am really interested in this idea of just letting yourself go, and liberating your art form, but am also worried that if I stray from the pattern I’ll just end up with a big mess! I have great vision, but actually creating it is my downfall!

I think I should definatly start a little project, maybe a small cushion for the sofa. I have some half finished crochet squares and flowers, so maybe I could start there. I guess it’s a bit like yarn bombing your stuff. All mismatched and colourful, but still keeping an underlying tone to the work.

I’ve found some books on amazon that might be helpful, and a website that has links on it.

These are some really great uses of the free-form…

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Autumn-Rhapso

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A DIY Spinning Wheel

So I really, really, really, want a spinning wheel. Trouble is, they are very, very, very expensive, and this is sad for me as a soon to be unemployed teacher. However, there is hope…..

I found a DIY spinning wheel pdf online (just google dodec spinning wheel and its the first link) and sent it over to my wonderful dad – who is a carpenter- and now we have a summer project!

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Apparently there is infomation missing which can be found at the dodec Ravelry group page Dad seems to think its all there though, so if you download the PDF you should be ok. He is currently altering the design a bit to improve the look of the wheel. I’m so excited to get started on this in the summer and will blog it’s progress as it happens.

I hope I can paint it green!

The Girl spins a yarn

Drop Spindle Kit, - Learn to Spin- 135g (4.8oz) roving, batt, fibre, a spindle and beginner instructions

I’ve been meaning to get started on this kit that I purchased from Hilltopcloud on Etsy for a few weeks now. I thought I would start my spinning journey using a hand spindle before I go on my spinning wheel course in June.

Everytime I think about it another project gets started and this goes to the backburner. But yesterday evening I finally took the time to get started on this. The kit contains:

50g (1.8oz) of North Ronaldsay Fibre – Cream
35g (1.2oz) Handcarded Merino, British Shetland Batt – Green
50g (1.8oz) of Hand blended British BFL (Blue Faced Leicester), Merino Roving – Green
plus spindle and illustrated instructions all in a presentation box.

So I take out my spindle and attach the North Ronaldsay fibre to the leader as instructed and start to spin the spindle clockwise…. weeeee…. off I go…. having lots of fun….

Then the fibre broke….

then the fibre went all crazy and uneven….

then the fibre started untwisting itself the other way…..

then I cried and threw it on the floor….

then I went online for tips…. (What did we do before YouTube!?)

then I picked it up, and started again….

It’s still wonky, but the websites call it “Artisan”

It still untwists, but I just move my hands further apart

It doesn’t break, so I must be doing something right!

I finished one ball of artisan spun wool, it looks crazy, but in a cool sort of way, and I’m looking forward to starting the second ball this evening. Then I can ply them together and get some double crazy chunky wool to knit something super fun with. I might even try and add some glittery bits into it, if I can, as it’s a bit of a plain colour for me.I might even spin a few of the coloured roving first and spin them into the white wool.

So here are some images of my nice new spun wool. I spun the North Ronaldsay and some of the BFL merino roving over the last couple of days. I still need to ply them together, bt first I need to finish all the roving as I plan to ply the cream and the green roving together, rather than just the NR or the BFL. I’ll let you know how it goes!

photo 1Green BFL Roving before a spin. You must seperate out the fibres and put it into small handfull batches to make your spinning easier (i found that out the hard way!)

photo 1 (2)This is my drop spindle with 3 of the spun balls of wool. 2 of the NR and one small ball of BFL roving

photo 2 (2)Here you can see the leader of the spindle and one of my “artisan” balls

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This is some more of the BFL roving on spindle

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3 finished balls in need of plying…..

So if you are trying to get the hang of it, don’t give up! It can be done, we just need to practice. Pick up a spindle. You’ll be surprised how fun and relaxing it really is (after you’ve stopped yelling at it!).

You might even start looking at your knitting as sucking away your spindle time.

For the LOVE of jewellery!

Ok, I’m getting a little obsessed with knitted jewellery at the moment. I’ve been spending every evening knitting little bows for necklaces and brooches for my stall at the end of June…..

Image….and then I made more felted bow ties for necklaces also…..

Image…then I made some lttle crocheted hearts again neckalces and also keyrings…

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….and now I’m making a range of seaside inspired necklaces to celebrate the summer!

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All the above are available on my Etsy store as well.

I brought a whole load of books off amazon, and took evry book I could find in Dorking library, and now I have more ideas than time!

Still it’ll keep me going when I am forced out of my job in July. Always a silver lining!

Have a great sunny day, enjoy it, it’s meant to rain tomorrow!!!

The Fibre Fest. Chipping Norton

So today was the much awaited Fibre Fest in Chipping Norton. Up early ready for the first thing on the list, a walking tour to the Bliss Tweed Mill

We arrived at the town hall for 10am and after giving a small donation took a walk to the Mill. It is gorgeous. A beautiful old building, with a rather strange chimney on top (it sort of looks like a plunger) …. It closed it’s doors in 1980, and was sold to a private company that converted it to very very beautiful high ceiling flats, with tennis courts and an indoor leisure centre for residents.

If you’re interested and have a spare £400,000 floating around then…. flats for sale It was a very interesting tour, run by a local historian who’s family all seemed to have worked in the mill at some point. Normally you are not allowed in the grounds (the residence pay good money to be left alone it seems), the tour guide himself is only allowed to do tours around it 3 times a year!

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Lots of beautiful pictures were taken by myself and Kasia (Instagram @kneedlesinahaystack and @kasia_piekut) of the mill and the beautiful countryside, so please do take a look.

Afterwards it was back to the town hall to soak in the creative vibe happening there. Here is lost Lasia, Mark and Pete, who went to the pub to soak in the sunshine and drink cider. i didnt even notice for a good hour or so! I spoke to some spinners and tried out some of their wheels. My dream wheel (Ashford Joy) is far far far too short for me (I’m 5’10”) and it was recommended that I try an Ashford traveller. So that’s what I plan to look for now. So glad I got to have a try, would have been very upset if I’d spent £500 on a wheel too small for me. I picked up some lovely alpaca/blue faced Leicester blend roving for spinning, and a lady was kind enough to show me how to use my drop spindle correctly (that will be my bank holiday Monday job then!) everyone was super friendly and willing to give their advice and share there experience.

I also got a beautiful felted leaping fox brooch from a stall by Evie and Birdie it’s very cute and bright blue! They had some lovely dolls for sale too. I’m totally inspired by them. So check them out!

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If you missed it, that is sad times. However there will be another called Fibre East in Bedfordshire at the end of July more info found here it would be great to see you there!

Have a great bank holiday everyone.

The girl gets excited about a festival!

This weekend I am off to Chipping Norton, there are two reasons for this. 1, my best friends live there (lucky devils!) and 2, the village is hosting its first fibre festival

I’m really excited about this. There will be local farmers and sheep there (I’m hoping to be able to talk to someone there about purchasing some fleece!) and lots of knit-minded people. If there is someone there with a drop spindle then I defiantly need them to show me how to work one. I got one the other day, but I just can’t follow written instructions. If not then its off to YouTube I go.

I am also dragging my husband Mark, Pete and Kasia along too, not sure if they are as excited as I am, but I booked us all on a walking tour of Chipping Norton and the old Bliss Tweed Mill. Pete is into his local history and Mark and Kasia like to take photo’s so I am hoping everyone gets something out of the day.

So if you’ve never visited the outskirts of Oxfordshire and fancy a day of fibre fun, make a trip to Chippy. But if you can’t make it worry not, I’ll be posting all about it later.

The Girl Learns to Felt

Today I learnt how to felt. Something I’ve been meaning to do since I moved to Dorking in 2011 and visited The Fluff-a-torium. A wonderful store, just off he high street, full of magical fluffy wonders. All beautiful pinks and sparkle, I’m not even sure these words have done it justice. If you ever visit Dorking, either for a picnic on BoxHill, a trip to Denbies vineyard, or to browse the numerous antiques stores, pop into The Fluff-a-torium and you won’t be disappointed.

Back to the felting….. I brought the Bow Delicious felt bow clip kit. The main reason for choosing this was that it was a complete kit (everything included) and it said “suitable for kids”. Seeing as I’ve never felting before, I decided I could handle this kit.

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This is the kit (including another that I brought as a present for my mother-in-law). It’s big, bright and exciting, it costs £19.95 and you can find it here you can buy it instore and online (they ship worldwide too!)

First thing you do when you start, read, re-read and then read again the instructions. Set out a nice space on the table and organise all the bits you need.

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Then get a nice glass of wine (optional). The instructions were really clear, even for a complete novice like me. All in all the kit was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the soapy mess you got to make turning fluff into felt, and the scientist in me enjoyed how the whole thing came together. I allowed myself some poetic license on the colour scheme adding extra colour highlights that contrast well.

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After creating the rectangles of felt I had to trim the edges to neaten it all up, you then shape them into bow shapes. Then using a strong glue you tie the middle fluff around. The kit calls for you to glue on hair clips (they come with it) but as I have very short hair I decided to attach some silver necklace chains to each to make some brightly coloured summer jewellery. Then you must leave it to dry. The photo below shows them drying (which is why clips are attached where I’ve glued). They are still drying now……

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And here’s me wearing the finished green bow….

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