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Filet table set

I discovered a whole new arm of crochet recently: filet crochet. Have you tried this before? I didn’t know much about it, but just assumed it would be difficult, old-fashioned and boring. How wrong I was! It’s actually really easy (using only chains and trebles), it has loads of creative potential, and I think it’s particularly suited to creating modern geometric looks that are so popular now.

So I set about proving that it’s quick and easy to make modern goodies using filet crochet, hoping I could set others a good example by making some of my own! First, I made this chunky table runner:

Table runner

Table runner

Filet crochet has been around for at least a hundred years, and it was originally worked using very fine yarns and tiny hooks, to look like lace – the most sought-after and expensive fabric at the time. Filet crochet was much easier to work than traditional lace so it was a great money-maker for poorer families and especially women.

Nowadays, filet crochet still tends to be worked with finer yarns (such as 4ply), but usually to create images and scenes within the mesh. To make my filet crochet table runner more 21st-century-friendly, I used for a chunky yarn in the bold, modern colour of hot pink, worked into a simple geometric pattern. There are so many other eye-popping geometric patterns you could work though – I sketched out several designs using zigzags, pinwheels and cross-hatch patterns, before deciding on this one. (Top tip: I found patchwork patterns a great source of inspiration!)

My focus on filet crochet was sparked by being commissioned to write a two-part feature on how to do filet crochet for Simply Crochet magazine. For the second part, I covered lacets and bars, which again I thought would be really tricky. Wrong again! I’ve fallen head over heels in love with lacets and bars, and made these little coasters using DK yarn:

Filet coasters

Filet coasters

What I love about these coasters is that the stitch patterns look pretty complicated, but they’re so straightforward. I think the simple checked lacets design (the top two coasters) is my favourite and I’d love to make a light summer scarf using this stitch pattern. I also love the lacet trees though (the bottom two coasters) and I can imagine working a row of these across a child’s jumper. Both stitch patterns are made by following a chart, but it’s much easier to follow than any other sort of chart – it’s just like following a code where each symbol represents a combination of chains, trebles and double crochet stitches.

If you’re interested in learning more about the technique or making either project, you can find them in issues 32 and 33 of Simply Crochet magazine – see here for more info. And I’ll post the pattern here as soon as I’m allowed!

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Posted by on June 3, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Creative string

Sorry for the delay in posts, we had a week’s holiday in Cornwall – beforehand we were busy packing and working, then afterwards we were busy unpacking and working. So the blog got neglected, but I have still been crafting!

We went on holiday to St Ives in Cornwall, which was typically chilly and rainy for November, but it was still beautiful and relaxing. On the most rainy day, we went to the Tate in St Ives. Their exhibitions are always interesting and usually include some pieces by Barbara Hepworth, a talented sculptor and artist who lived and created in St Ives and was made a Dame for it.

This time, there were some wonderful sculptures by Hepworth on display, using string in really interesting ways. Understandably, you’re not allowed to take photos of the art, so go here or here to see the kind of thing I mean – these aren’t the exact ones that we saw, but they’re very similar.

I love how she uses the string to imply a connectivity and tension between two objects, like the invisible strings of our own lives pull us towards the people, places and activities that we love.

People sometimes refer to yarn as ‘string’ and I kind of like the idea that modern knitters are continuing to be creative with string, like Hepworth was.

Her sculptures also reminded me of the geometric Spirograph pen drawings (like these) I used to make as a child – they were so much fun, I’d spend hours doing them!

I was also reminded of a string art picture that I made when I was around 10 or 11 – it was a kit that included a thick piece of chipboard, some black felt that went over the top and a ton of nails that you hammered into the chipboard according to a paper guide. Then you’d wrap the string around the nails in a specific way to create a picture. Mine was an owl…

Owl string art

Owl string art

When we got home, I decided to dig it out of the attic and was surprised at how well I’d made it! Here’s a close-up…

Owl close-up

Owl close-up

With my new-found perspective on string as art, I bought a special frame for it and I’m planning to give it to a special owl-loving family member for Christmas. I hope she likes the creative string art and the legacy that it comes from.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Crochet, Knitting, Other Crafts

 

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