A Ribbed Tree

I’ve been taking pictures of interesting tree trunks in order to come up with more ideas on how to make the trunks of my trees. I really liked this one, with its deep ridges:

Inspiration for the Ribbed Tree

This reminded me of the deep open ridges of brioche stitch, which can easily be worked in the round. So I started with my usual 32 stitches for a binary tree, and worked the first two sections (with 32 and 16 stitches) in brioche stitch. For the third section (8 stitches), I switched to a simple 1×1 rib, and the last section is i-cord, as usual. This is what I ended up with:

Ribbed Tree - Trunk

It’s a fairly fat trunk, since brioche stitch tends to spread quite a bit, but I like the effect. For the leaves, I wanted to try to create something along the lines of a weeping willow. I grabbed three different green threads, cut longish sections, and knotted six strands at a time into the tips of the branches, with three sets per tip. To do this, double up your bunch of threads, insert a big enough crochet hook into the branch, pull the doubled up loop through, and then the ends of the bunch throug the loop. Tighten up the knot – easy and fast! This is what the result looks like:

Ribbed Tree with Added Leaves

After stuffing and with the help of gravity, here’s our weeping willow:

Weeping Willow - Finished

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More Vines and Lianas

I’ve been playing with my crochet hooks again… trying to come up with different ways to create hanging vines and lianas that can fall over the edge of the platform. It’s fun, and a bit addictive. Basically, I took a sturdy yarn and worked a couple of rows of single crochet to serve as a foundation, and now I’m starting a vine from every stitch in the row. The foundation is the light brown piece in the pictures below. It has a tendency to curl, but it will be easy to pin down straight when I’m finished.

Here’s the first variation:

Liana with leaves

I took a dark brown and a variegated green sock yarn together and made a chain using a 3mm hook. Periodically, I made a pair of leaves only using the green and a 2mm hook. The leaves are the same ones as in my last post, just worked with thicker yarn. They do curl up a bit, which isn’t a problem since in the end this will all just be a thick tangle of vines and leaves. You can also see that I just looped back to the foundation at the end rather then cutting my thread and starting new. Even if that’s not like nature would do it, it does give me two lianas for the price of one, and the thread ends up where I need it next, for the second variation:

Hanging vine with loops

This is the simplest vine I made – I dropped the brown yarn and only used the green. As before, I started chaining, and added simple leaves by making more chain stitches and connecting them into a loop with a slip stitch – basically an oversized picot. I eventually looped back towards the top again, this time periodically attaching my chain with a few slip stitches to the downward leg and working a few smaller loops to make things more dense. This is a pretty simple way to get some satisfying results!

And because I just couldn’t resist, here’s a binary tree liana:

Binary Liana

In fact, this is a perfectly balanced complete binary tree directly from the textbook. Again I used the brown and green together for the stem. I started with four chain stitches for each section, and the tree is four sections deep. So there’s 16 chain stitches to start, then I worked two leaves – again following the recipe in this post – worked four slip stitches up the previous chain, another four chain stitches down to the next set of leaves, then 8 slip stitches up to the next division, 8 chain stitches down and so on, until I had a complete tree. This was done completely regularly, but of course you could play with making the branches different lengths, or leaving some branches out, to get a more natural result.

There’s quite a few more foundation stitches left, let’s see what happens next! I think just playing with using different yarns and the same ideas could give enough variety to keep my entertained for a while!

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!

Tatted vines

A few weeks ago I came across a blog post describing how to make a tatted houseplant. Basically what she does is to make strings of tatted rings connected by chains, and then arranging them in a little flower pot to look like a plant. Go look, it’s lovely!

My mind immediately went to how those same strings of leaves could serve as lianas, vines, and leaves for hanging plants for our model. So of course, I started to play with the idea:

Tatted Vines

I basically filled my shuttle with pearl cotton (no. 8 for the left four vines, no. 5 for the rightmost one) and tried out different variations of the basic pattern. Depending on how many leaves you put in the same place and how long the chain between leaves is, you get fairly different results, all working from the same recipe. The two vines at the left have picots added to the leaves, giving another possibility for variations.

For the vine in the middle I tried adding beads to depict flowers or berries. To achieve this, you need to add the beads to your thread before filling your shuttle:

Tatting with beads

Start working your leaves, leaving the beads pushed towards the ball of thread. When working the chain with the thread coming from the ball, slide a bead up to your work at the place where you want one, and then work the next double knot, leaving a picot with the bead behind. This only works with beads on the chain, though.

I’m sure there are lots of other variations possible! I love to play around and see what you can do with a pattern, and a simple one like this is a great starting point. And since we’re imitating nature, you can’t even miscount! It doesn’t matter if your leaves and chains vary in size or if not every picot looks the same – nature’s messy like that! This would be a perfect practice project for a beginning tatter. The writer of the original post is needle tatting, I work with a shuttle, and the simple pattern works perfectly for both techniques.

Here’s the vines hanging over the edge of the platform:

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