Climbing Vine

A few weeks ago, on one of the first nice spring days, I went for a walk, camera in hand, in search of interesting structures in tree barks. Basically, I wanted to find more ideas on how to make interesting trees. The first one I came across wasn’t about the tree at all, though:

Tree with Climbing Vine

It was the single vine growing straight up the tree that captured my eye. That might be a possible use for my tatted vines, or maybe I could find another way to make something like this?

Crochet is fairly fast to do and has the possibility to easily create free forms. There’s lots of ideas of what you can do with just a crochet hook in areas like Irish crochet lace or in thread crochet in general. So, here’s my simplified version of that vine:

Crochet Vine

The stem are simply chain stitches, and the leaves are worked in pairs as follows: chain 8, with the last chain stitch being for turning. In the remaining 7 stitches work as follows on your way back to the stem: slip stitch, single crochet, half double, double, half double, single, slip stitch. Do the same again for the other leaf. To keep the leaves closely together, I worked a slip stitch into the last chain of the previous piece of stem before continuing by making the next piece of stem.

Towards the top of the vine I made the stem pieces shorter and the leaves smaller. This works by just working 6 or even 4 chain stitches and dropping out the middle part of the leaf: For 6 chain stitches the sequence goes slip stitch, single crochet, half double, single, slip stitch, and for 4 chain stitches it is slip stitch, single crochet, slip stitch. Come to think of it, odd numbers of chain stitches would also work, you’d just end up with two identical stitches next to each other in the middle, which nobody will see at the end.

(All crochet terms are US, because the UK terms confuse me. Here’s a comparison if you need to translate into UK terms.)

I then used some embroidery thread to stitch the vine to my tree:

Crochet Vine on Tree

I think it’s a good way to add some more interest to your tree!

Swatches – My Secret Weapon

While looking for something completely different, I came across a decidedly squishy plastic bag. I was delighted by what I found inside:

Swatches - brown

Swatches - green

A whole pile of swatches for long-ago projects that had long fulfilled their original purpose. A wonderful heathered brown and a light green would be perfect for covering more of my platform!

I want the whole platform to be covered in something or other before adding the bushes and trees, so I started by deconstructing the current setup so I could rebuild it from the ground up. I could do that easily because I’m using pins to attach things to the platform, which works well through the fabric into the cardboard and allows me to move stuff around easily. Here’s what I ended up with:

Swatches - deconstructed platform

Looks like quite a lot, doesn’t it? When I started covering the platform, I found out that even with my newfound treasure it’s far from enough to even cover a single platform:

Swatches - back of platform

I mostly used the swatches for the backside of the platform, hoping for more interesting things for the front. Putting everything flat I have till now back on, the platform still isn’t completely full:

Swatches - platform from the front

In fact, there’s still lots of work ahead. It’s also becoming clear that knitting and crochet will have to be the main crafts employed – the embroidery pieces add interest, but they’re way too time-consuming to be effective for the bigger areas.

While there’s still more ground to cover, those swatches helped me to make quite a bit of progress. Do you have swatches from old projects lying around in the right colours? If yes, please bring them to Dublin so we can cover some ground with them and concentrate on making the interesting parts!

On the other hand, if you want to make ground coverings from scratch, please consider making your pieces not quadratic or rectangular. I think the current setup does need more bits and pieces with flowing outlines, so the result doesn’t look too artificial. While those platforms definitely have been at least partly formed by Raksuran influence, they do have a natural feel in my mind – think small-time agriculture as opposed to factory farming.

Lavender Field

While looking for more canvaswork stitches to turn into fields and gardens, I came across a post describing how to make “Victorian Fun-Fur“. Only instead of giant corduroy ridges, I immediately saw fields with carefully cultivated rows of produce.

Here’s my take:

Lavender Field

I used some leftover green and purple crewel wool taken together, varying the green with each thread, but keeping the purple. The result is quite muddy and dark, but has enough variation to feel natural, which was my aim.

Here’s a picture taken before I cut the threads open (sorry, the colour is awful in this one, much better in the image above):

Lavender Field before cutting

It really is magic when you cut those threads open and the whole piece transforms into something fluffy and three-dimensional! Fun to do and great visual interest for our model!