Thursday, December 27, 2012


Figured that I'd better get another scrumble posted to the blog pretty soon, seeing that it is almost the end of the year already.  Where does the time get to?

I suddenly realized that the last one was posted here back in March, so my resolution to post photos reasonably often throughout the year didn't quite work!  Perhaps I will manage to update on a more regular basis in never know ;-)

Apparently I am still in red-and-orange-mode, by the look of it; this one, like the previous scrumble, is very much in those tones.

This piece was actually the trial scrumble that I recently made when I was trying to decide on which yarns to use in a new freeform vest I am currently creating.  Most of the threads that I have used here are going into the actual garment...but not the one that was used for the slightly lighter, soft and bubbly section just under the bullion stitches towards the top right.  That yarn turned out to be a bit too soft,  and it felt as though it might be likely to snag, and also the colour looked lighter and had a much more pinkish tone when viewed in daylight (although at night it definitely seemed to go well enough with all of the other oranges)...but I wasn't intending to keep the vest for evening wear only, so unfortunately that particular yarn will just have to bide its time in the stash for a little longer.

Most of the yarns used are 100% cotton, and some are handpainted, but I have also included a little bit of angora in a fabulously bright mix of oranges with hot pink undertones, plus an interesting synthetic, tape-like one that I bought in San Francisco about 10 years ago (that's the dark bit on the left) and another bright orange rayon mixture that I found in the marketplace at the CGOA conference in Reno a few months ago.

This scrumble is nearly all crochet, but I am adding a bit more knitting to most of the others that I am creating for the vest.  Doing that, along with keeping things fairly 'open' by using lots of lacy crochet stitches, will help keep the weight down a bit, and make it more suitable for our summertime in our sub-tropical climate.   It will be one I know I will wear a lot, but it is also being done to help illustrate another book, which I hope to get done in the not too distant future.

Once again my new year's resolution will be to update the blog a little bit more often.  I hope that everyone reading here has managed to fit some creative fibrearts into their lives this year, and fingers crossed that we will all have time for even more in 2013.

and as a PS, and because I guess it's OK for me to do bit of self-advertising here...since I have almost run out of reprints of 2 of my books, and because I have decided that I won't be printing hard copies of either of them again, then I'm going to add that we have just made 'Freeform: serendipitous design techniques for knitting & crochet' and 'never too many Handbags' available as e-books...both can now be purchased in PDF form through   ;-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scrumble #47

here is a scrumble for March much for my original idea of weekly scrumbles!

Maybe I will get another done before April, but at least I am aiming for a minimum of one a month this year...and since this is the 5th for 2012, I have already done way better than last year ;-)

I always seem to have a problem photographing oranges and reds, so in the picture the centre of the scrumble has lost a little bit of definition. The piece started with a small knitted section behind the ruffle (just above and right of centre), and then I crocheted on the raggy-looking orange bit (Indian recycled silk). Much richer in real life than in the photo.

I then continued outwards with little areas of both knitting and crochet, working multi-coloured stripes for most of the knitting and back post stitches and slip stitches for a lot of the crochet, with the aim of avoiding too much of a stripey effect. The tw0 little crochet flowers were made separately and attached onto the surface.

Lots of stash yarns, both new and very old, were used in the making of this scrumble; they include wool, silk, cotton, rayon and a few blends, plus a bit of man-made stuff for added sparkle (which probably doesn't show up much in the little thumbnail, but should be apparent if you click for the larger photo)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Scrumble #46

My latest scrumble has been made from quite a variety of different yarns, nearly all of which were man-made!...but there is a little wool, mohair and a soy/wool mix in there as well, to add a bit of stability between the synthetic fibres.

This one has plenty sparkle and soft texture in purples, pinks and greens....worked mostly as crochet circles (or part circles), plus a few sections of knitting, some done in stripes.

I crocheted from the wrong side and around the posts of the stitches when working the outside rounds of the double circles. This was because I wanted the centre rounds to stand out on the surface.

A lot of the crocheting was intentionally done from the wrong side of the patch, so that the fluffy and textured yarns could 'bloom' naturally towards the front of the piece.

As usual, the entire scrumble was made without any sewing. Each area was either worked directly onto an edge, or (in the case of the full circles and the spiral), were slip-stitched into place once the motif was finished (using a crochet hook and working the slip stitches from the wrong side). A few areas that were looking a little plain or flat were further embellished with crochet slip stitches on the surface, to complete the piece.

I just noticed that the number of followers here had passed the 500 mark - hope you are all getting the chance to experiment too, and having fun with your crochet and knitting!! Let me know what you have been up to ;-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scrumble #45

Here is my latest scrumble, finished last night.

It started with the strip of crochet bullions in the centre, which I had just unearthed at the bottom of a suitcase I was repacking. I didn't have any other grey yarn on hand, so decided to create a purple scrumble around them....but in the light of day I'm not altogether sure if that was a particularly good idea!

This morning the grey doesn't tone with the purple nearly as well as it did in the night I may need to add a few other grey bits to the surface sometime, when I come across some more yarn in that tone.

The bullions had originally been worked in a straight line, using a smooth cotton yarn. To give them a better 'flow' I intentionally skipped stitches in some places, and added extras in other spots, as I worked the other yarns along the sides. There are a few knitted sections done moss (seed) stitch using a bamboo yarn, but the rest is all crochet, mainly in wools and mohairs, plus a few little areas in silk and angora. To add dimension to the piece some of the crochet stitches were worked 'around the post', and slip stitches were occasionally worked on the surface, too, for the same reason.

The scrumble was made in one piece, by picking up and joining on the stitches each time a new yarn was added (i.e. no sewing was involved). To give it a 'completed' look I finished off with a couple of rounds of short crochet stitches, being careful to increase or decrease wherever it was needed so that the piece remained flat.

As I think I may have mentioned on the blog before, bordering a piece like this is something that I rarely do for scrumbles that are going to become part of a garment, but I don't mind doing it to 'frame' a smaller artwork.

This is because putting a 'fence' around a lot of different fibres is often asking for trouble further down the track...even if the stitch count appears to be perfect when the piece is newly completed, if it contains a lot of different yarns you could find that some are likely to relax and expand a bit whilst others might shrink and contract slightly (even just in normal wear, let alone when being laundered), and this could cause the fabric of the garment to distort and go out of shape.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Scrumble # 44

This scrumble is perhaps not quite as unusual as the last one, but still it was interesting to make.

I used lots of leftovers in pinks, oranges and greens, and most of these bits were totally used up in the process, as I only had a tiny amount of each of the yarns when I started it.

In real life, even though I have used both orange and pink yarns, the colours tone in much better than they appear to do in the photograph. For some reason the orange area on the right appears to have more yellow in the picture, and therefore looks more harsh than it actually is!

There are some natural fibres (wool, mohair, cotton and mulberry silk), some recycled Indian yarns (these were rayon, not silk), plus some synthetic chenille, a glittery eyelash and 2 types of man-made ribbon.

Some of the yarns were fairly new, but others had probably been in my stash for at least 20 years; a couple were the leftover bits from yarns I had received in an online group exchange a few years back.

There are 4 small areas of knitting, and the rest is crocheted. Even though both of the mohairs were bouclés, the chenille was softly textured, the eyelash and recycled silks were 'fringy', the wools were either slubby or hand dyed, and I used the smoother mercerised cottons for fancy bullions stitches, the scrumble seemed to still be lacking something until I added a few areas of surface crochet at the end, to give it a little more life.

As usual, I welcome your comments.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Scrumble # 43

This scrumble was really interesting to make, and quite a departure from any of the previous pieces I have done for the blog.

I started by using a variegated yarn and crocheting the small central circular motif. Then I worked another circle around it, using the same yarn, doubling the number of stitches and making the second round of stitches into the back loops only of the previous round.

After I finished off the crochet I then knitted the area with the pink radiating bars of garter stitch. Working short rows in each of the brown/gold sections of stocking stitch, I shaped this knitted piece so that it would fit neatly around the crochet circle.

I intentionally cast the knitting off before it was long enough to totally surrounded the centre, and then I stitched it in place. The sewing was done into the back loops only of the crochet stitches, so that each of the circles now had a round front loops visible on the surface, and into these raised stitches I next worked the two rounds of crochet crab stitch.

Using a bulky multi-colour yarn I then knitted the 'tail' area, increasing and decreasing occasionally at the beginning or end of some of the rows, to shape it organically. Once it was finished off it was stitched into the gap between the beginning and end of the round section of knitting, and a row of crab stitch was worked onto the surface, lengthways down its centre.

Three little crochet domes attached to the edge, and a round of crab stitch right around the knitting, completed the piece.

All of the yarns used were either wool or blends with a high wool content, and were worked at a fairly tight tension, so the finished piece is quite firm and stable, and holds it shape surprisingly well.