I have still got quite a lot of my naturally dyed yarn, so I began making more circles, more or less as a way of learning to crochet different textures and patterns. Before I knew where I was I was making myself a vest and thought I’d experiment with scrumbling a whole garment.
Several people have asked me what scrumbling is, and mostly it’s just playing around with making something with no pattern or design. I can’t read a crochet pattern, so this is the perfect way for me to create a garment. You do not work back and forth in rows, and colours are changed constantly. Texture is encouraged and little bits can be built off the existing shapes. It’s all about visual interest. It does come with lots of ends, but I have plans for them. This is also known as freeform crochet.
I needed a pattern so used the Pattern Union Felix Jacket as it has set in sleeves and I wanted armholes. When I began I thought I might put the sleeves in and turn it into a cardigan, but I’m rather loving it as a vest. I just traced off a whole back and one side, rotated out the dart, and laid the pattern pieces under my crochet as I built it out. I even remembered to reverse the pattern piece for the left side.
Before we go any further – I know I have a bullseye where I don’t want it, and my planning was probably pretty poor, but I am telling myself that such things were unavoidable with this type of pattern and who’d notice anyway?
I didn’t quite get the bottom even, and I did start trying to even it up, but the vest just got longer whilst maintaining it’s asymmetrical bottom, so I abandoned that idea.
I tried to get a bit of a ruffle happening at the back, but was largely unsuccessful.
I used a pin made from an old tortoiseshell (plastic) knitting needle. I bought one and then spent many hours trying to replicate it. I made them from several different styles of plastic needles, but they get quite fragile and break easily. This one has lost its knob at the top, but still works quite well.
It works well left open as well, and this is how I’ll probably wear it most of the time, especially as the bullseyes aren’t as obvious.
Most of the crochet was me experimenting with learning to do things. If I look closely I can see that I’ve used popcorns, spirals, crab stitch, overlays, two colour spirals, bullion stitch, magic circles (no hole in the middle), box stitch, and possibly others which I’ve forgotten about now.
Some of my crochet is less than perfect, but I am learning, so I’m not being too hard on myself. I used a couple of thrifted books to get me going, plus a few YouTube videos.
Basically I’m pretty pleased with this vest. I got stopped twice the first time I wore it, once by a lovely lady who asked me if I’d made it, and which resulted in a long and happy conversation, and then by someone I knew who wanted to know where I’d bought it and, after I said I’d made it, asked me if I’d make her one. I did say yes, but it would cost around $2,500 for the amount of time and effort involved and luckily she looked aghast. I asked her what she thought it would cost and she thought about $100. I just laughed! People who would not do their own work for free (she’s a tax accountant), somehow think that anything handmade should be given to them for virtually nothing, as though the time of the maker is worthless. Oops, on my hobby horse. Jumping off now. Sorry!
I teamed the vest with my Pattern Union Molly Tee made from mustard merino, and a skirt I made from suede scraps years ago. I call it my Wilma Flinstone skirt as it reminds me of something she’d wear.
For the record I used the following to get these colours: coreopsis, oxalis, madder, indigo, liriope berries, onion skins, avocado, and rosemary, with iron water, copper water, soda ash, and vinegar as modifiers. Combining colours was also fun – oxalis and indigo with copper water to give me a strongish green, for example, and modifying just the oxalis with copper water gave quite a vibrant green, which I can’t find in this vest so may have used it all in the scarves.
It also looked ok with my bleached, self-drafted ,black denim skirt, tights, boots and a very old self drafted top. I wore this outfit to have a catchup with sewing friends.
I’m so happy with this vest, but I still have a whole bag of dyed yarn left! Stay tuned for my next lot of experiments – I’m off to learn how to do an Afghan square and a plain square.