The Adventure of the Fallen Flowers: Part Three
For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.
For the first part of this adventure, click here.
So began the rolling of the dice and the oh-so-gradual emergence of my carpet of crochet flowers.
By freeform standards, my form was not all that free. I was using one motif; albeit in two different weights with two different yarns, the finer of which (Schoppel Wolle Zauberball®) was gradually changing color.
Even so, I struggled.
My earliest blossoms were lopsided and scrunched, with a tension that could be kindly described as clenched.
I elected to use the “flat join” from Edie Eckman’s Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs, which allowed me to join as I worked, and more importantly discouraged me from ripping out too much. I told myself the rustic nature of the Zauberball® helped to disguise that, and from time to time almost believed it. There’s even a mutant flower in there with five petals (or was it six?) instead of four. I can’t seem to find it now, but I know it’s in there.
But this is a freeform piece, so I elected to let it go. Nature mutates, so why not my crochet?
That sounds so laid back, doesn’t it? Que sera sera. Laissez-les bons temps rouler. So terribly Zelda Fitzgerald leaping into a fountain.
In truth, it was forced out through a clenched jaw. I had no idea of my innate attachment to uniformity until I tried to let it go.
In spite of my best efforts, I’d pause and note that my “random” blossoms were still lined up in neat rows and the edges of my scattered carpet were frustratingly even.
Still, I pressed on.
I thought of a society dame in an old New Yorker cartoon by the legendary Helen Hokinson, putting the finishing touches on her flower show display and saying with exasperation, “I am trying to achieve the effect of a sombrero carelessly thrown down!”
There is a lot of blather about knitting and crochet being forms of meditation. For the first time, my needlework really reminded me of meditation. Specifically, my earliest attempts at meditation, when that hour spent on a cushion full of buckwheat hulls felt like a month in a pit full of vipers.
Still, I pressed on.
I felt like this thing I was making might truly stink, but I wasn’t going to write two columns about it only to present you with a finale showing a bunch of cut up flowers and the caption, “Nevermind.”
It grew slowly, but it grew.
My tension relaxed and steadied.
My joins grew more adventurous.
I began to break away from the unconscious habit of working in parallel rows.
Without knowing when or how, I relaxed into the work.
When the fabric had reached dimensions that might serve as a cowl, I paused to assess.
Now, it’s okay. I don’t hate it. I also don’t love it–yet. I was going to bring the adventure to an end here, but after rummaging around in my stash I’ve found some Hikoo® Rylie and Hikoo® Simpliworsted, and with those I’m going back to work it over a little more. I think it needs variety.
I’ll have put four very different yarns all in one piece. I’ve never done that before.
This, however, is freeform–so I am free to do it. Exciting.
See you in two weeks.
Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue
Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman (Storey Publishing)
Schoppel Wolle Zauberball® (75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon), 420m/100g ball. Color: 1993 (Chocolate Cream)
Hikoo® Tiara (10% Kid Mohair, 5% Wool, 49% Acrylic, 22% Nylon, 10% Bead, 4% Sequin), 188 yd/100g hank. Color: 74 (Amethyst)
Hikoo® Rylie (50% Baby Alpaca, 25% Mulberry Silk, 25% Linen), 274 yd/100g hank. Color:
Hikoo® Simpliworsted (55% Merino Wool 25% acrylic 17% Nylon), 140 yd/100g hank.
addi® Olive Wood Crochet Hooks
Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.
He travels constantly to teach knitters
at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has
been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue
Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and
the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.
Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.
He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon,
one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average
day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays,
cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.
lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a
Schacht spinning wheel, three looms, and a colony of yarn that
multiplies whenever his back is turned.