3 Ways Freeform Crochet Boosted My Crochet Confidence

Freeform crochet booth at the 2006 CGOA Conference
Freeform crochet booth at the 2006 CGOA Conference. The purple/blue piece in the center is my piece.

I first learned about freeform crochet back in the mid-2000s. I must have stumbled on it during an internet search because the exact details of how I discovered it elude me.

Freeform crochet combines a variety of colors, stitch patterns, and yarns to create a piece of fabric art. Except for a few guidelines, you are free to improvise and experiment as you build your fabric. In addition to creating abstract pieces of art, you can use freeform crochet to create and embellish functional pieces like bags (my favorite!), pillows, and garments.

Coat of Many Scrumbles, 2006 CGOA Conference
Coat of Many Scrumbles, 2006 CGOA Conference

Needless to say, I was mesmerized by the incredible art created by such freeform masters as Prudence Mapstone, Myra Wood , and Margaret Hubert, all of whom I met at the 2006 Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) conference where we manned the freeform crochet booth.

After returning home, I applied myself diligently to learning this technique and even entered pieces in two of the International Freeform Fiberarts Guild’s online exhibits. Pretty soon, I discovered I had become a much more confident crocheter.

3 – Freeform Crochet Took the Fear Out of Experimentation

Freeform crochet tote I made a CGOA Regional Conference
Freeform crochet tote I made a CGOA Regional Conference

Because there are no hard and fast rules in freeform crochet, it requires a healthy dose of experimentation and improvisation. In order to do this, I had to put a muzzle on my inner crochet critic because there were times when I didn’t like what I had created. But instead of beating myself up about how awful a piece looked, I searched for ways to do it differently to get the effect I wanted.

I also had to let go of my expectations of how the piece was going to turn out. I had an idea in my mind of what I wanted to create, but it almost never turned out that way. I learned to let that be okay. In fact, I was often surprised and pleased at the unexpected end result of many projects.

Experimentation and improvisation, letting go of expectations, and freeing myself from that nasty inner critic have given me the confidence to start designing my own patterns.

2 – Freeform Crochet Increased My Crochet Knowledge and Skills Bank

A birthday gift for my daughter
A birthday gift for my daughter

Freeform crochet encouraged me to draw on everything I knew about crochet to figure out how to combine different colors, shapes, and textures into a pleasing whole. But I didn’t know as much as I needed to know and had to learn new skills to complete some projects.

Of course, you can’t be expected to know all of the stitches that can be used in freeform crochet, so I came to appreciate how essential stitch dictionaries are, no matter what kind of crocheting I’m doing.

Now, if there’s something new I need to learn to complete any crochet project, I’m confident I’ll be able to, not to mention the boost in confidence knowing more gives me.

1 – Freefrom Crochet Taught Me There’s More Than One Way to Do Stuff

 

My entry in the 2009 International Freeform Fiberarts Guild online exhibit
My entry in the 2009 International Freeform Fiberarts Guild online exhibit

In freeform crochet, you use whatever skills and techniques are available to you that will result in the effect you want to achieve. It’s the most freeing aspect of this fiber art for me. I can basically do whatever I want because if my experiment fails, I’ll find another way to do it.

Now, if pattern instructions tell me, for example, to start a round piece with “Chain 4, slip stitch to the first chain” to begin the round, I usually ignore it and start with a  magic circle. I’m not afraid to change a pattern if I know of a better way of doing something. And I now have no problems altering patterns to fit my personal tastes.

Add Freeform Crochet to Your Crochet Skills Bank

I highly recommend freeform crochet as a fun way to become a more confident crocheter and create beautiful fiber art in the process.

Craftsy has an excellent freeform crochet class that I’ve taken and benefitted from. It’s taught by renowned fiber artist, Myra Wood. To find out more, click HERE.

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I’ve been crocheting for over 40 years and blogging since 2004 – two of my favorite things in the world to do besides walking the beaches of windward Oahu, Hawaii.

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