Sunday, November 2, 2014

Crochet a Revolution


Why content yourself with crochet patterns and following other people's orders when you could crochet yourself a revolution?  

Crochet is more than knitting your nephew a jumper  . . . in front of the telly.

No, crochet is more than that . . . 

Crochet is crucial . . . the crux of all matter . . .

Crochet is cosmic!


Is it a snowflake? . . . is it a fractal? . . . 

Or is it spooky evidence of the universe sharing the structure of life through granny's fingers . . . as she chats to the ladies, over tea . . .



Or is it an inter-dimensional vortex ??



If you were in two minds . . . just remember the snowflake . . . and think about it . . .


Because crochet is not only a life saving and indispensible activity in all ways . . . but moreover . . . it's spooky . . .

It's superior . . . 

to most things . . . 

and especially to football!


If you didn't get the message . . . here it is again . . . in Japanese . . .

(Kagibari wa futoboru yori ii)


So please, don't waste time, get your hooks and yarn out . . .

and do something useful . . .


Don't know the basics? . . . It's easy . . . Just check out on youtube the countless videos teaching you the four basic stitches.

To put a stop to the confusion out there on the right or wrong lingo, caused mainly by English and American ladies bickering about which gibberish is best when it comes to the numbers, dots and commas, contractions and all manner of headache inspiring scrawls . . . that they seem to call instructions . . .

Who needs a head full of ch 2, (hdc2tog in next 2 sts) twice, hdc in each of next 30 (35, 40) . . . and double treble whatnots when life is already sufficiently complicated and stressful. 

This type of behaviour has left a whole generation of ladies lost at sea, overwhelmed, bored to tears . . . and ulitmately powerless to learn the simple and marvellous art of crochet.



French, Portugese and Brasilian ladies sensibly call the stitches by names that give you a visual sense of what they are.

As this is a French blog (although oddly enough in English) . . . the French terms translated will do for the time being.

So, where the English say double crochet stitch and the Americans say single crochet stitch (and bicker about it) one could instead say Tight Stitch (maille serree).  This is because, compared to the taller spoke-like crochet stitches, this one is low, tight and compact . . . in Portugese they call it low stitch . . . which is also sensible . . . 

And where the English say treble crochet and the Americans say double crochet . . . one could say Braid Stitch (French: bride) . . . why? . . . because it looks like a braid, a girl's plat in her hair . . . which is really much nicer than a mouthful of numbers.

Here are some pink socks and slippers both crocheted using tight stitch.


 This is the first jumper I ever made (without a pattern), using tight stitch for the body and V stitch for the sleeves, V stitch being a great beginners lace, each V composed of a braid, chain, braid.



And here is one of the first jumpers I ever made in seed stitch, which is a lovely wavey stitch you get by alternating tight, braid, tight, braid in rows. 







And here is Norma, wearing a pair of daring beach trunks for boys or boudoir lingerie for girls . . . or boys, or other . . . whichever you fancy . . . the main part of which is composed of mesh stich which is a combination of braid, chain, braid, forming rows of square holes.  

I would say these were easy to make . . . but that would be a lie . . . 


Infact they were fiendish.  



Not for the stitches, they're easy, but for making the slopes of the crotch precise and just right.

Because to make any clothes freestyle, you take your favorite garment (in this case Simon's pants) and you simply crochet back and forth, in the stitch of your choice, copying the form of each panel of fabric on the garment.  You can create a paper pattern to follow instead of using the garment as a guide by pinning newspaper to the garment and carefully cutting out a copy of  its original pieces.  Once you have copied the shape of, say, the front and back of a pair of pants, you then sew them together.  

You can of course simplify and make the shape of your garment sections (eg front and back of jumper) as rectangular as possible, using right angles rather than slopes wherever possible, because the more slopes there are the more complicated it is.  Sloping requires a certain proficiency in doing 'decreasing stitches' and 'increasing stitches'.  Again, all these techniques can be learnt on youtube.  The red jumper's body was mainly composed of rectangular shapes, the body you put inside it gives it the curves!

Here's Norma's bottom . . . as you can see, she is many things, but not shy.





Here are some samples of laces you can do using the basic stitches in an infinite variety of combinations. You can see the braid stitches because they are like vertical spokes, tall stitches, joined with the horizontally worked chain stitch.

This is fan stitch which is worked in a back and forth way like knitting, in rows.  This fan lace jumper below is done with a very nice one hundred percent bamboo yarn I found going very cheap . . . you can just see the top of my simple unisex baggy trousers, I made them out of sheets!




This is the stitch chart for fan lace . . . see below for explantations of stitch charts.




This is V stitch and shell stitch alernated, all composed of braid stitch (UK treble crochet) . . . The bottom edge is tight stitch (UK double crochet) with picot stich for the nobbles . . .


Here is crochet worked in the round


Here I did the top part of the skirt in elongated V stitch composed of double braids (UK double treble crochet) and the lower part in rounds.




I have never learnt to read patterns, am crochet dyslexic . . .the only truly useful 'language' in crochet is the stitch chart (below)

You can make anything you like from crochet by learning to follow stitch charts for the basic stitch combinations to make the lace (or plain) motif.

Thankyou Japanese ladies for bringing this brain saving diagramatic communication into the crochet universe . . . We dyslexics would be lost without you . . .

In a stitch chart the 0 symbol is chain stitch, the crossed t symbol is braid stitch (UK treble crochet), the small square cross + is tight stitch (UK double crochet) and the dot . is slip stitch (usually used for joining one piece to another because it slips through the fabric without creating any depth).


I made this very useful string microgreens hanger with a large 6mm hook using this stitch chart 


And now I have organic sunflower micrgreens growing in my kitchen!





Here are some more hanging baskets I did for my dome as they are good for replacing drawers if you don't have space for too much furniture.


You can do anything with crochet as you can see . . . even a handbag out of string for your mum!




Here are a couple of close ups of bedspreads I found at the market . . . No doubt the work of some granny.

Much as I love them, you'd never get me making one of these bedspreads . . . way too much work . . .

But the stitches are easy and can be copied if you look very closely at them.  

Learn from the grannies . .  .







From the Permaculture Design section of her natural health blog

All artwork in Far Out . . . recent artwork in The Pier

Emma on Twitter

(above cheeky collage by a certain san fran artist who shall remain nameless)