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