3D-Crochet at the Edge of the Platform

With this project, I’m always on the lookout for things that add a bit of dimension to otherwise flat knitted or crocheted items. We’ll need rather a lot of fabric covering the ground as well as the edges of the platforms, and I’d love to see lots of variety there, showing an abundance of life.

The piece I want to show to you today actually has an Irish connection: The idea is taken straight from the dimensional rose pattern often found in Irish Crochet Lace:Irish Crochet RoseThis image is taken from Thérèse de Dillmont’s “Irish Crochet Lace“. You can find scans of this book on the Weaving Digital Archives, which in spite of its name has lots of goodies for all kinds of needlecraft.

The basic idea used for the dimensional leaves on this rose is to work a round of chain stitches, which get covered in the following round with shells made from different stitches. The next round of chain stitches is then worked not on top of the shells, but into the previous round of chain stitches, making the next round of shells appear behind the previous one. And this is exactly the principle my sample uses:

3D-Crochet Sample, finished

In this view, the sample was worked from top to bottom. you can see a base row of chain stitches covered by a row of single crochet. Into this I worked the first row of chain stitches anchored with a single crochet every 5 stitches. On the way back, I worked a shell of seven stitches into every loop. One obvious difference to the rose pattern is that I worked the following row of chain stitches not over the same stitches, but I moved the pattern half a repeat over, so the shells are staggered from row to row. This took some fiddling at the beginning and end of row, but does make for a nice ground cover.

Hmm, I might need to come up with a step-by-step photo tutorial for this one? Please let me know if you want one.

The yarn choice this time was taking two different variegated threads together: a nice solid crochet cotton for stability, and a somewhat flaky green/violet wool for visual interest:

3D Crochet: Yarns

I’d love to have more of this kind of dimensional stuff, no matter in which craft! Please let me know if you have any ideas.


Making lots of pompoms at the same time

So, I showed you my Fibonacci tree, with its pompom leaves:

Fibonacci Tree - Finished

Winding pompoms can get quite labour-intensive if you need more than one, at least if you make them around cardboard circles (like I learnt to as a kid) or those modern plastic contraptions that work the same. Then I visited a friend’s workshop, who’s among other things a professional pompom-maker (yes, that’s actually a thing). And there I saw a much more efficient way to make lots of pompoms, and when I started this project, I knew I had to play around with a home-made version of this.

I even remembered to take pictures this time, so here’s how you do it:

First, you need two dowels or similar that are quite a bit apart to wind your threads around. For that purpose I had acquired a pair of cheap clamps a while ago. Installing them upside down on my couch table gives me this:

Pompoms - Winding the Thread

I grabbed a nice collection of different yarns to give some life to my leaves:

Pompoms - Yarns Used

I didn’t use them all in the same proportion – I made a couple of rounds with the sparkly green only between each round with all the yarns taken together. After I thought I had enough yarn wound, I started to bind the yarn bundle in regular distances, in this case every 5 centimetres. This will yield a pompom of about 5 centimetres in diameter. Leave the ends of the binding thread hanging, you’ll use them to attach the finished pompom to the tree.

Now comes the fun part: cut in the middle between each binding thread, and you’ll get this:

Pompoms - cut apart

Almost done! A bit of rolling between my hands gave this result:

Pompoms - Finished

Looking like a pretty good set of leaves. For a proper pompom, some more rounds of winding would have been better, but for our purpose, I like the slightly open look. Since the tree took only five pompoms, I have lots of leftovers, for another tree of the same species or some bushes, which would also look well made from pompoms piled over each other.

A Little Pond

There’s a surprising amount of water on those platforms: waterfalls coming from high up in the tree, little lakes, irrigation channels for the fields. So, we’ll need water. I tried a bit of free-form crochet to come up with this little pond:

The Pond

Again I used two yarns taken together, a solid turquoise cotton/poly blend and a blue variegated sock yarn:

Yarns used for Pond

I basically crocheted a spiral in the round, making wavy lines by changing stitches from single crochet to half-double to double and back, filling in the holes from previous rounds while trying not to get too regular. The pond measures about 10*13 centimetres. Here it is on the platform, surrounded by the beginnings of some tall grasses:

Samples showing the some of the different crafts possible.


The Fibonacci Tree

In addition to the Binary trees, the folks from the Botanica Mathematica project also posted a Fibonacci tree recipe. This gives us a different type of tree to play with, and one that arguably looks more natural as well.

Here’s my attempt, before stuffing and adding leaves, including the yarns used:Fibonacci Tree - unstuffed, with yarns

Again, I used a solid brown held together with a variegated sock yarn. To give the bark a bit of structure, I used a very simple pattern: one knit, one purl all the way round, and then exactly opposite the next round. Again, I used the recipe as a rough guideline rather than following the exact numbers of rounds indicated. I started with 21 stitches and worked my way up. In order to avoid an ugly seam somewhere, all my branches have an uneven number of stitches, so the pattern comes out right automatically when doing one knit, one purl in the round.

Here’s a peek at the finished tree:

Fibonacci Tree - Finished

If you like my pom-pom leaves, I’ll write about how to make lots of pom-poms in one go next time. It’s way more fun than making one at a time!

Crochet Leaves

So, you made your trees. Now we need leaves, since it’s not the middle of winter. I find crochet a good way to create leafy things, and I’ll show you two different kinds of crochet leaves today.

For the first tree, I did something very simple:

Knitted Binary Tree

I grabbed a light green yarn, taken together with a strand of my favourite technicolour shiny thread, and started working chain stitch loops around the ends of my branches. start with a single crochet stitch somewhere at the top, and work in rounds around the end of the branch until leafy enough. You could vary the number of chain stitches for each loop, but I didn’t in this case. It’s ten chain stitches for every loop.

Other possible variations on this:

  • Make your loops much longer, so you have hanging leaves
  • Work leaves much further down the branches
  • Include something fluffy in your yarn choice

Overall, this is simple, easy and reasonably fast, especially if you use a fairly big yarn, as I did here.

The second type of leaf is directly derived from Michelle’s Bookworm Recipe (Ravelry link). I used a light green variegated crochet thread, the stuff you’d use to make pretty doilies and similar. Much, much thinner than the yarn for the first tree. Basically, every leaf is made like the body of one of the bookworms from the pattern. Work a single crochet stitch into the branch, chain 10, and work your way back the chain working two double crochet stitches into every chain stitch. Repeat until bored. The result is pretty, but not noticeably more impressive than the simple chain stitches on the other tree.

Bookworm Leaves

I like the result, but I’ll probably go back to something a little bit faster for the next tree. The lesson I’m taking from that one is that it’s not always necessary to go for the complex and detailed solution, if something simpler and faster works just as well.

Hyperbolic bushes – multicolour version

Those hyperbolic bushes seem to be addictive, I couldn’t help making another one! This time I tried to get a more naturalistic look by using different colours. Here’s the result:

Multicolour Shrub

And here are the yarns I used:

Multicolour Shrub - Yarns

From left to right I started the base and the first rows with the brown yarn as the branches. After a few rows, I doubled up the brown with the lovely multicolour green to depict older leaves growing on the lower branches. I then left out the brown and added the light green instead to show the fresh growth of young leaves.

For the last row, I stopped using the hyperbolic recipe and made a little fringe from the light green yarn only, working a single crochet in each stitch of the previous row with seven chain stitches between each single crochet. I think it works to make things look a bit less rigid:

Multicolour Shrub - Installed

I think variegated yarns, especially ones that mostly stay in one colour and don’t jump all over the colour wheel, are a great choice for making things look more organic. On the other hand, the way those hyperbolic bushes are worked “from the ground up”, it’s easy enough to switch and mix colours every few rows.