Playing with shapes

Recently I attended a workshop on free form crochet given by Judith Swartz at Knit 1 in Chicago. She brought a few motif patterns for us to work with for the project and it got me thinking about shapes. Above you see some of the motifs I made using Noro Hitsuji bulky weight yarn.

I began fooling around with motifs that started in the round with a circle. It is amazing what you can do beginning with a circle and then altering it.

For instance, here’s a small flower, very simple, based off of a circular center.

Abbreviations using U.S. Terminology:

ch= chain

st= stitch

sts= stitches

sc= single crochet

hdc= half double crochet

inc.= increase

You can use any yarn with the appropriate size hook for the yarn.

To make this flower

make a slip knot and ch 4, join to first chain with a slip stitch to form a ring

ch 1, then work 10 sc into the ring, join with a slip stitch to first sc made. (10 sts.)

ch 1, then *(sc, hdc, sc) into the next st, slip stitch in next st, repeat from * around to create 5 petals. (20 sts.)

fasten off

When working in a circular fashion the increases for each row follow a formula.

After starting a circle by working an even number of stitches into a ring you usually increase in the following way,

1st round, work 2 stitches into every stitch.

2nd round, (work 2 stitches into 1st st, work 1 into next st) repeat around. This is 1 inc. in every 2nd st.

3rd round (work 2 stitches into 1st st, work 1 st into each of the next 2 sts) repeat around. This is 1 inc. in every 3rd st.

4th round (work 2 stitches into 1st st, work 1 st into each of the next 3sts) repeat around. This is 1 inc. in every 4th st.

You can continue in this manner, with each new round adding 1 extra single stitch between increases.

For the petals of the above flower I averaged an increase of 2 st. for every stitch (as per round 1 increase formula). I started with 10 sts. and because I placed 3 sts. in the first st. and 1 in the second, I still ended up with 20 sts. It worked! For me this was a minor revelation.

You can vary the kinds of stitches you use in the circle, as long as you keep the number of stitches increasing the appropriate amount per round.

Once you have started a circle you can, at any time, start chaining and work away from the circle to form non-circular shapes, and then come back to the base circle if you wish.

For the bird above I started with a circle, then chained away from the circle for the tail. Once I had a chain hanging out, I turned and worked stitches into the chain heading back towards the circle. Then I connected at the circle which became the body. I slip stitched around the edge of the circle to where I wanted the beak and then added some stitches there. Later I used some scrap yarn to sew on an eye.

I could give you the pattern for this but the point really is to encourage you to take out a hook and some yarn and try improvising with a circle yourself. You might be surprised with the ideas you come up with.

If you need more help with forming the basic circle shape here are some links to online tutorials:

Basic Crocheted Flat Circle

Learn to Crochet a Circle

Video: making a flat circle with single crochet

Video: making a flat circle with double crochet

A circle with a few picot stitches added at the end of the 2nd round.

A flower made using a circle with (sc, 3ch picot) in each stitch of the 2nd round.

A wheel. In the second round I made a dc, ch 1 (equals 2 sts.) in each stitch around.

I hope this will encourage you to give making your own motifs a try.

© Kathy Kelly 2011

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