It is time to finally get this party started!
I’m making a small felted bag, in free-form crochet. It should measure about six inches square after it’s felted, so I’ll need to make it about nine inches square before I attack it with boiling water and soap. You’ll want to keep a ruler handy. It will have a cool red shoulder strap, and, I’m hoping, a hand-made button to close it. If I wind up using a purchased button, I’ll make sure it’s a really cool one. I don’t know if I’ll work this in separate front and back pieces to be seamed together, or a long rectangle to be folded and seamed. I’ll wait for the piece to guide me.
I don’t know what level everyone crochets at, so I’m just taking notes, and sharing them with you all. If you’re an experienced spinner/crocheter, please bear with me…I’m sharing notes for those who need a little guidance in crocheting free-form. Can we call it a pattern? I suppose we can…loosely. Very loosely!
We’ll work the first in a series of motifs in this post, and add to it in other posts, putting it all together either on the fly, or later on, as the piece sees fit. With free-form, you trust your instincts, your eye, and the piece you’re working on. This first motif will tell me when it’s time to stop, and move on to something new.
So, grab some yarns, some hooks, and let’s GO!
I started with darkest purple. Ball winding note…I don’t have a yarn swift, so I put the big round hank around my neck and take care winding it off the hank and onto the ball I build around my thumb.
I decided to start in a corner…lower right corner, I guess…it’s a free form piece, so that lower right corner can eventually become the middle!
I made a small half-round in single crochet stitches, using a “J” hook. I’m working with moderate to “a little loose” tension, as this piece will be felted. Too tight, or too loose, and it won’t felt evenly.
To keep from rambling aimlessly and confusing the project, I’m leaving out how to make the individual basic stitches, but leaving you with this website on making the basic crochet stitches, if you need them. About.com has a great page for the beginning crocheter, with clear instructions on how to make the stitches. You can get that here: http://crochet.about.com/od/learntocrochet/tp/crochet-for-beginners.htm or go to You tube and search “how to crochet.” Remember, The Gods of Google are your friends!
To start: ch (chain) 2, make 3 sc (single crochet) in the 2nd chain from the hook.
Row 2: ch 1, turn, 2 sc in ea of the 3 sc. (6 sc in this row)
Row 3: ch 1, turn, sc in first sc, 2 sc in next sc, (sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc) twice. (9 sc)
That’s where I stopped. To crochet more rows: On each new row, continue to add one more sc in between each increase (an increase is: 2 sc in next sc).
Now, what to do about that flat bottom edge? I want it more finished, easier to work into, eventually. So, at the end of my last row, I chained 1, then turned the piece so that I could work evenly, in single crochet, across the bottom.
When I got around to the end, I made my single crochet stitch (still working in the bottom) then chained one and drew it through to finish it off, clipped the yarn. Lots of color changes and lots of yarn ends to weave in later, with free form, but it’s unavoidable…and worth it.
Next, I picked a skein of the purchased stuff, in a nice dark purple, because its smooth texture will lend nicely to an outline. Until I change a hook, I’ll continue to work with the size “J” hook. I started a new row in the first stitch of the previous row. Just attach it to the row with a slip stitch, and chain 1. Then, work 2 sc in the first stitch, 1 sc in each of the next two stitches.
Keep doing that, across to the end of the row. Chain 1 and fasten off.
Next row, I want some texture, and I’m changing colors again. I picked up my lightest purple and attached it with a slip stitch to the last stitch I made…turn the work…chain 3. In that same stitch, I made 1 single crochet. In each of the remaining stitches, I made 1 treble crochet, and a slip stitch. Because I’m working on the “wrong” side of the fabric,
the baubles I’m creating will pop up on the “right” side.
We’ll mark the right side of the piece later. This particular stitch is always worked from the “wrong” side of the fabric.”
Note: If my pictures look backwards to you….they probably are. I’m left-handed.
Now that row is done, and it’s time to add some color! I picked up my purchased red wool and attached it with a slip stitch to the last stitch I made. I want the purchased red wool because…smoother texture against the knobby texture of the hand spun stuff…more pop!
I can not believe I just said, “pop.” Ugh…how utterly trendy.
OK, so in the interest of having more…schmoozelfleugen! … I’m putting the smooth red purchased wool against the knobby hand spun light purple, attaching to the last stitch I worked, with a slip stitch. Now what? Well, for starters, I don’t like this J hook with this red wool. TOO loose. So, going down a size, “I.”
And let’s just stop right here…remember marking the right side? Have you done that yet? I haven’t. SO…I’m turning my piece so that the knobbies from the last row face me, and looping a short piece of red wool into the middle of the piece, so that the tails face me. Insert your hook through the front of the piece to the back, then back up to the front.Grab a short (just about 3-4 inches) of folded-in-half wool and pull the loop through. Using the tails, yarn over and pull the tails through the loop.
There. It’s marked. Now I can stop obsessing about it. You can leave the markers in until the whole bag is finished, then pull them all out before you felt.
Back to my regularly scheduled ramblings…I’m attaching the smooth, purchased red yarn to the last stitch (purple knobbie) I made, with a slip stitch. Now what? I really want to continue with this half circle/fan thing pattern for a little while longer, so…
Turn the piece. Working into the back of these knobby things is a challenge. What I do is, I turn things so that the top of the row faces UP…I’m looking at the top of the row, and I can see more easily treble crochet stitches are. I’ll be working into that big loop formed by the treble, next to each slip stitch.
I want to keep the half circle going, so I’ll work 2 sc into each of those loops, as I indicated in the picture. If you find that it’s starting to curl, drop an extra sc into the row here and there to keep it on the straight and narrow. Feel your way.
In the next row, I wanted to continue working with this red, and wanted to add a new shape. So…at the end of the row I just worked…chain 1, then turn the piece. In the first SC from the last row, I worked a slip stitch. Then, *a half double crochet in the next stitch, a treble crochet in each of the next two stitches, a half double in the next, then a slip stitch in the next.* I got a pretty cool wave/fan/shell pattern! From there, I kept up this pattern, except for the beginning slip stitch. I found I didn’t need it, so I dropped it. Work the pattern repeat from the *, to the ending * all the way across. In one spot, the row starting curling under, a sure indication of more stitches needed, so I just dropped an extra treble in, at the top of the curve, and that straightened it out. Now, at the end of the row, lo and behold, I had one stitch left unworked. What I did was, I undid the last half double, dropped an extra treble into that stitch, and finished the pattern. If you have more than one unworked stitch left over, but not enough for a pattern repeat, use your judgment. You can always work a half pattern of half double, treble, slip stitch, or whatever it takes to make you happy with it. This row, for me, wanted to start and stop with a slip stitch. Whatever happens in between is up to you!
I now have a pretty cool little half circle, banded with colors…but I need a square bag, so it’s time to box this bottom off a bit. I’m going back to my size J hook, and picking up that delicious ice blue yarn (going to need more of that!) and attaching it to the outside bottom edge of the piece. I’m attaching the yarn to the right side of the work, but you can go the other way, if you like. Chain 1, and make a single crochet.
Working evenly along the bottom edge, work slip stitches, singles or half doubles, as needed to fill the bottom edge in and even it out.
Finish off, and cut the yarn.
Now would be a good time to stop, get a big needle, and weave in some of these ends! I’ll borrow one from Earl.
“I have a needle! I’m a Peen-Koo-Sheen!”
Know what? I think my bottom right corner just morphed into my bottom center…for now. My ends are all woven in, my bottom edge is all evened out, and I’m calling this one, “good for now.”
I’ll put it aside, and start a new motif…and a new post ;-)…in a day or so.