Saturday, February 9, 2013

Exploring the Process of Crochet Design


by M. J. Joachim
I wanted to take some time today to discuss the process of crochet design. The other day, I posted a new circle in hexagon design here on the blog, followed by a floral circular motif posted on our website.



Both of these patterns were the result of an initial design process.
In my mind, I wanted to make a multi-sided shape. Through trial and error, I managed to come up with a basic design. This was only the rough draft, however.
Rough Draft
As I looked closely at my stitches, I visually picked them apart, noticing everything that could possibly be wrong with what I was trying to make. Then I stepped back, played some cards with the family, and let my thoughts settle until I could sort them all out.
Upon close scrutiny of my design, two things stood out very boldly to me:
I had a hexagon.
Those outer stitches were way too tightly woven.
The hexagon was actually quite nice, which is why I came up with the post to go with it. But I still wanted to make my original design.
The process of tearing out and remaking stitches had to begin. Upon inspecting and fiddling with my design, I realized I could increase stitches in certain areas, while leaving the same amount in others, which would ultimately create a similar effect, while loosening up my pattern.
Take a close look at both pictures. Study them to see how adding stitches loosens up the design, and makes the pattern more delicate and pretty.
Now it’s your turn. Follow these steps and make a motif.
Step 1:  Start with the center – make a small chain, form a loop or center, by crocheting in the 1st chain. Use your basic stitch count – 1 for sc, 2 for hdc, 3 for dc etc. to begin each round. Join rounds with slip stitches. Apply all standard rules of crochet to your work.
Step 2:   Build outward, increasing your motif in size, by adding stitches around it. As your motif gets bigger, add more stitches in strategic places, to naturally increase its size. Consider if you need or want to add corners, and if so, add extra stitches where you need them to be – 3 stitches per corner is a good rule of thumb. However, you can also do something like this: {stitch, stitch, chain(s), stitch, stitch}, similar to how we make corners in granny squares.
Step 3:  Once you have a rough draft, study it. See how you can make improvements to it. Notice what other things might readily be apparent in your design.
Step 4:  Implement your observations, in a separate final copy of your design. Fiddle with any section of your pattern that you simply don’t like. Make the obvious changes first. If your stitches on the rough draft are too tight, loosen them up by adding more stitches. If they are gathering too much (creating ruffles you don’t like), decrease the amount of stitches you have.
It takes time to design nice crochet projects, but it is more than worth it. You will master the art of crochet, by learning through trial and error. Practice makes perfect. Each time you take a rough draft design and turn it into a final project you can be proud of, you have the opportunity to learn many things from the process.
I hope you will take this particular post to heart and experiment with design work and technique. It’s a lot of fun to come up with original creations, using a variety of stitches. It’s also exciting when, through the process, you come up with a few things you didn’t expect – like circle in hexagon motifs.
The best is yet to come from all this. I’m working with both projects mentioned here today, to make yet another project to share with all of you. It wasn’t planned, but through the design process, it soon became apparent that that’s what I should do.
Thank you for following Lots of Crochet Stitches.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing.
M. J.
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