Category Archives: Free Form

Getting Started in Free Form

Since the recent (and wonderful) classes with Prudence Mapstone on the east coast of the U.S., there have been many discussions on several of the online groups I belong to about how to get started with free form. While I am far from an expert, I thought I would try to help those who are looking to take their first free form steps.

First off, give yourself permission to break all the rules you have been taught! We all spend our lives in school learning to “stay inside the lines” that when you are told to go free, it is hard to color outside the lines. That was (and sometimes still is) the hardest step for me. Combine yarns, colors, textures and stitches to create something wonderful and all your own!

Next, I suggest you check out the International Freeform Crochet Guild website. There are great resources, links and examples of free form to help get you started. There is also a link to the official discussion group of the Guild. The members of this group are wonderfully supportive and love to help each other get started and as they progress through their free form projects.

There are some great resources available for helping to get started. A great book by James Walters and Sylvia Cosh called The Crochet Workbook. Sylvia and James are considered one of the first noticed in the free form movement. While this book can be hard to find, if you are able to get it, I highly recommend it! Another great book by (none other than) Prudence Mapstone is Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting & Crochet. This book shows stitches you can use to create the motifs known as “scrumbles” and how to connect them to build your masterpiece! She also has another book to help with the dreaded bullion stitch. Bullions & Beyond: Tips and Techniques for the Crochet Bullion Stitch is a great primer for mastering this stitch, which is often a mainstay (but obviously not required) in free form. The wonderfully creative Margaret Hubert has a wide variety of books available on both more “traditional” crochet, as well as free form. One book of hers I own is Fun with Free-Form Crochet. This book not only shows how to do different stitch and how to combine them, but she also has several complete projects, which is a great way to learn how to take those scrumbles and apply them directly to a project!

Last, but certainly not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful (and my mentor) Myra Wood. Her first book, Creative Crochet Lace: A Freeform Look at Classic Crochet, takes traditional lace and gives is  free form flair! Her latest book, Crazy Lace:an artistic approach to Creative Lace Knitting, focuses on free form knitting. Both are wonderful books and should be a part of every free form library! I did an interview with Myra about her first book, which I was very excited to do!

There are also great web resources such as Margo’s Crochet Corner, Jenny Dowde and of course, James Walters, Prudence Mapstone, Myra Wood and Margaret Hubert.

I hope this is a good primer for getting started in free form. Please be sure to share as you begin your journey!

Learning Free Form Crochet From the Master – Prudence Mapstone

Even Ghandi was cold today!

Today I had the pleasure of finally having the opportunity to take a free form class with one of the masters of the art — Prudence Mapstone! I have had the opportunity to get to know Prudence over the last few years and couldn’t wait to hear about her process directly from her. It was quite cold when I left the house (10 degrees Fahrenheit) this morning at 5:45 a.m. to meet up with a fellow free form buddy to catch the bus to New York City.

Within the hour we were a few blocks from the Lion Brand Yarn Studio enjoying a wonderful breakfast! Afterward we headed out into the wind and cold to walk the last few blocks to the Studio. We arrived at 9:25 a.m. for our class. To our disappointment, the woman working refused to let us in saying we were there too early. We tried to explain that we were told by arrive by 9:30 a.m., but she was adamant and wouldn’t let us in and said to come back at class time. Annoyed and cold, we walked another block to a coffee shop and sat another little bit to sit and warm up. We let 15 minutes pass and decided to walk back and tell her that if class is supposed to start at 10:00 a.m., they would have to let us in ahead of time to be ready. Well, to our surprise, the shop was already bustling! I was quite miffed! When I asked why it was now OK, she said (and I quote), “well, you got here at 9:25 and I wasn’t opening the doors until 9:30.” Um, really? She knew I was less than pleased and ignored her and headed over to see the person I wanted to see and visit with most of all…Prudence!

We all immediately started chatting at once like school girls! It was wonderful! After a quick catch-up, we settled down, ready to begin.

Prudence’s amazing wall hanging!

She already had some of her wonderful scrumbles out, her wraps, beautiful coats and an amazing new wall hanging!

I cannot describe how helpful her guidance for free form projects was today! She shared how she develops her scrumbles, assembles her garments and connect scrumbles to each other. At one point I became somewhat stuck with the piece I was working on when I asked her for assistance. She simply said “it has finished telling you what to do with that piece right now–put it aside and start another one.” She also advised to never pull apart a scrumble because you don’t like it at the moment. Set it aside and start a new piece. It has finished “speaking to you” at the moment. Give it some time…a few days to even when you are ready to do something with all your pieces. You never know how they will all work together!

 

One of Prudence’s amazing scrumbles!

The hours passed by quicker than you could imagine. After a few quick purchases, the ladies of the International Free Form Crochet Guild posed for a few photos. We said our goodbyes so Prudence could prepare for her afternoon class and headed into the cold again (now a balmy 30 degrees) to catch the bus back to New Jersey.

I cannot thank Prudence enough for her time, her encouragement and her creative thought process. I plan to send her photos as my scrumbles progress and turn into whatever they tell me they should be!

If you would like to see more photos of today’s class, please join my Facebook page.

Stitching at Starbucks in Rockaway

The next get together will be this Thursday,January 28th, 7:00 p.m. at the Starbucks coffee shop next to Pier Onein the Target strip mall at the Rockaway Mall, Rockaway, NJ. We arehaving a great time getting together every few weeks and would love tohave more join in on the fun! I can’t wait to see everyone again!

Many of us are also attending the Prudence Mapstone class at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City this weekend and we will be discussing the upcoming day!

If you are on Facebook, search under groups for Stitching at Starbucks and join our happy little group! Hope to see you there!

The Four Seasons – The Book

I am very excited to announce the latest global free form project – The Four Seasons – is now available in beautiful book form! A total of 52 artists from around the world and interpreted the four seasons through free form and fiber.

One of the best parts of this project is the 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Global Fund for Women. This wonderful organization fights for gender equality around the globe, including support for access to healthcare and education.

I can’t tell you what a wonderful global group of artists the International Freeform Crochet Guild is and I am honored to be a part of it! I must also give a special “thank you” to Myra Wood! She is an amazing fiber artists in California who took the reigns on this project and managed the entire process and worked on the book layout. She is an amazing woman and I am proud to call her my friend!

I hope you check out the online exhibit as well as consider purchasing a copy of the book. You will have a wonderful art project in hand while helping women around the world gain equality.

Magic Ball Wrap Complete

So a few weeks ago I posted a photo of my magic ball. I had been accumulating bits of yarn for ages and kept connecting them together to make the magic ball. To me, this is the ultimate in free form. There is no rhyme or reason to its assembly. Actually, it is a lot of fun to use! As each bit of yarn unravels it is a wonderful gift!

Well, I am happy to announce that my wrap is complete! The bummer about it is that I finished it during my three days home sick, but at least I feel like I accomplished something!

What I think really makes this fun is that there are no ends woven in! I left all the ends very long so they provide a “fringe look.”

So what happens next? I start saving my bits of yarn for another magic ball! I highly recommend this type of creativity. It is like an homage to our grandmother’s “granny squares” and the idea of “waste nothing.” Every little bit of your yarn goes to good use!

Earth Air Fire Water at Lion Brand Studio

Well it is official! The 2007 International Free Form Guild project is on display at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City. The piece will be on display for the summer and I can’t wait to get in and see it up on display!

In honor of the project, Margaret Hubert will be teaching a free form class in July. You can find out all the information on the Lion Brand Newsletter.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be a part of the Free Form Guild. They are an incredibly talented group of people that I am proud to call my friends. If you would like to learn more about the Guild and the art of free form, you can check out the guild’s website: http://www.freeformcrochet.com/. You won’t be disappointed!

Busy, busy, busy

Wow…I really wonder sometimes where the time goes! I have been very delinquent with my posts so I must apologize. I have been hard at work putting the finishing touches and sending in my submission for this year’s Free Form Guild project. Shortly the online gallery will be available for viewing and the book will be available later this summer. I can’t wait to see everyone’s work!

You can also check out a previous year’s project (Air, Earth Fire, Water) this summer at the Lion Brand Studio in New York City. It is a wonderful place and definitely worth a visit! You can check our a previous post of mine documenting my first trip to the Studio.

If you would like to learn more about the Free Form Guild and free form in general, you can check out our website, http://www.freeformcrochet.com/. It is worth the look!

The Magic Ball

So I have had a burst of creative energy recently and am starting another new project. This one is going to use the magic ball I have been accumulating for about a year.

Now for those of you who are not familiar, a magic ball is created when you connect piece after of piece of yarn, end to end. This is a great way to use every bit of yarn you have!

You can make one all in the same color family or just go wild! The magic ball I have is about 23 inches in circumference and I have left long tag ends to give a “fringe” look.

What am I going to make you ask? I plan to make a triangle shawl. I think it would be a great way to show off all the different yarns. I’ll keep the “fringe” on one side so it can be reversible.

Each piece of yarn holds a special memory of a project – whether it was for a friend, family member or yourself. A magic ball is a great way to keep a connection to those projects.

I will be sure to post my progress. I can’t wait to get started!

Why You NEED Yarn

A great member of the International Free Form Crochet Guild posted a recent list justifying why you need to purchase yarn. Well, it was so great, I had to post it here! Enjoy!

  1. It insulates the closet where it is kept.
  2. It helps keep the economy going. It is our patriotic duty to support cotton farmers, shepherds, and textile mills.
  3. It is less expensive and more fun than psychiatric care.
  4. Because it is on sale.
  5. A sudden increase in the moth population might wipe out the wool crop for the next 10 years.
  6. I’m participating in a contest – the one who dies with the most wool wins.
  7. It keeps without refrigeration; you don’t have to cook it to enjoy it; you never have to feed it, change it, wipe its nose or walk it.
  8. I need extra weight in the trunk of my car for traction on snowy, icy roads. This is important even in Florida or California – you never know when the weather will change.
  9. Because I’m worth it.
  10. Like dust, it’s good for protecting previously empty spaces in the house, like the ironing board, laundry hamper, dining room table…
  11. When the Big Earthquake comes, all the yarn shops might be swallowed into the ground and never be seen again.
  12. Stress from dealing with the Yarn Control Officer (my Husband[wife/ SO]) made me do it.
  13. It’s not immoral, illegal or fattening. It calms the nerves, gratifies the soul and makes me feel good.
  14. Buy it now, before your husband[wife/ SO] retires and goes with you on all your shopping expeditions.
  15. An ounce a day is all the yarn shops of America/Canada/ Europe/Aussie/ Asia ask.

So the next time you SO asks why you purchase so much yarn, you are armed with multiple answers!

Freeform: Through Our Eyes

As I have written before, I love freeform. For the last few years, the International Freeform Crochet Guild has done an annual project focused on a specific theme. This year the theme was “through our eyes,” where guild members were challenged to interpret the theme in any needlework technique. Thirty-five members accepted the challenge and the results are truly amazing!

You can view the entire installation online by clicking here. Each participant also write a short piece about the inspiration behind their creation.

You can also see the past exhibits on the site as well. You will truly be amazed by the talent these fiber artists display! They are a real inspiration and am proud to call them my colleagues in fiber and my friends.