Category Archives: Freeform

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!

Fiber Artist Prudence Mapstone Comes to New York City

The amazing fiber artist, Prudence Mapstone, from down under will be teaching a class on free form knitting and crochet at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City on January 31, 2010. I already signed up and just can’t wait!

I have always wanted to take a class with Prudence, but never had the opportunity. I truly admire her work and know this class will exceed all my expectations!

You can learn more at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s web site. If you are able to attend, trust me when I tell you…you will NOT be sorry!

San Luis Valley Folk Arts and Fiber Festival Hosts the International Freeform Crochet Guild Exhibit in Monte Vista, CO

Released by the San Luis Valley Folk Arts and Fiber Festival…

The San Luis Valley Folk Arts and Fiber Festival kicks off its third year on June 23, in Monte Vista, with an exhibit of fiber artists whose work spans the globe. The SLV Fest is a celebration of the handmade and traditional arts.

Admission to both the exhibit and festival are free. Saturday and Sunday convene with two, full days of vendors, food, music, demonstrations, exhibits and contests—including the favorite wool spinning races.  There will also be children’s knitting classes on Saturday.

From the International Freeform Guild website:
“… 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 outcome is a piece of art like no other, not only functional, but beautiful as well. Freeform includes 2-D and 3-D art, clothing and useful items.”

Fifty-two artists contributed to the original show; At least fourteen will participate in the Monte Vista exhibit. Many of these artists exhibit locally and internationally; several have been published recurrently.

“Four Seasons” will be published in book form later this year. A calendar is also planned. All proceeds from the sales of both will benefit Woman to Woman, a non-profit organization that provides aid to women in war-torn countries. 

Participating Artists:
• Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten, Rockaway, NJ USA
• Orla Breslin. County Kerry, Ireland
• Marie Castro, Guarulhos,Sao Paulo, Brazil
• Kathie Cureington, Alabama, US
• Margaret Hubert, Pawling, NY US
• Myra Wood, Sherman Oaks, CA US
• Kerri Lincoln, Oneonta, NY, US
• Perry Lowell, Framingham, MA, US
• Renate Kirkpatrick, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
• Prudence Mapstone, Brisbane, Queensland AUS
• Sheryl Means, Richmond, TX, US
• Laura Murphy, Monte Vista, CO US
• Zelda Pheonix, West Salem, OH US
• Susan Wolf Swartz, Highland Park, IL, US
• Leslie Nelle Urinyi, New Jersey, US

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.

The Four Seasons Free Form Style

I am both honored and excited to announce the 2009 International Freeform Exhibit is now available for your viewing pleasure!

This year’s theme is “the four seasons.” A total of 52 artists from around the globe participated this year. The artists were given the choice of creating one or more freeform pieces interpreting the four seasons. Unlike other years, they were not restricted to scrumbles and many of the pieces are wearable art and sculptural as well. None of the artists saw each other’s pieces until this online show.

Later this year, a professionally printed book will be available highlighting the entire project and all the artists who participated.

You can check out the online show at the official 2009 Four Seasons Show web site. You will definitely not be disappointed!