Patterns, or the lack thereof

Let’s talk about patterns a bit, shall we?

Patterns are good things to have.  Wondrous instructions, and sometimes even pieces, to help you create something beautiful.  Or something ugly, you can make whatever you like.

I’ve been sewing since I was very small, maybe 7-ish years old, and I was great at following patterns.  And like most people, the older I got, the things I liked to make grew more complicated.  But more often than not, my go-to pattern has been an extraordinarily simple one that included a top, a skirt, and a pair of pants, both bottoms with an elastic waist.  I’ve altered that pattern six ways from Sunday to make all kinds of garments – changing the sleeves, altering the neckline, making shorts, creating several variations on that skirt.  The bloomers I made last year started with that pattern.  So long as I had a guide of some kind, I was confident I could make anything.

Creating something out of trial-and-error, however,  just wasn’t something usually I did.  An idea would come to me, usually fully formed, and whether I was painting or sewing or doing some crafty thing for my home.  Making it, then, was a skill, as I merely bade my hands to make the things I saw in my mind.  While it sounds easy to have it just pop in there all complete and shiny, it means that I’m not real good at just messing around with stuff.  At least when it came to designing things, anyway.

But somehow that wall has vanished, the same wall I’ve been trying to get through for years on end.  For instance, the crochet piece I’m working on now that is a new concept for me, as well as it also utilizing materials I have not worked with.  I know how I want part of it to look, so I’m making that part first.  The rest?  Well, I’ll see where the first part takes me and decide on that later.  What’s more is … I’m not worried about it.  I don’t need to know what the piece will look like completed, nor can I say for certain exactly what it will be.  This is actually a style that has a name: freeform crochet (or see examples here).  It means that you make parts that you put together later, without following a pattern on how to make a complete piece from A to Z.  Considering it was just last summer that I caught this crochet bug, I’m rather pleased that I can just sit in front of the television with a hook and a spool of crochet thread and make it up as I go along.  It’s more fun than sketching, which I was only in the habit of doing when I was in art school years ago.  “Painting with yarn” is a handy description that I like quite a bit.

I’m really enjoying this organic method of making things without a real idea of what to do beyond the parts that are already in my hands.  It still feels a bit foreign, but somehow in a language that makes sense to me.

And because I haven’t written in awhile of things I’m working on, here is a montage of pictures of a few pieces.  I’m pleased to say that, yes, I have been working in more colors than the 3 colors below, there just aren’t photographs of them yet.

a collage of images of things I've crocheted in thread

a grid of some recent crochet projects, and yes, I have made things in more colors than these

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