Monday, 5 May 2014

A Flower a Day: Week 5 - Flowers by Lucy at Attic24

Materials: Acrylic DK
Techniques: Crochet, Sewing

So, what with all the colourful inspiration and joy at playing hookey, I am finding myself pretty much addicted to crochet flowers.  I had queued up all of Lucy Attic 24's flowers on Ravelry to work through, but ended up sitting with her blog, since that's where all the tutorials are.  Lucy does superb tutorials, with well lit and focused close-up photos and clear instructions, including descriptions of how to work the different stitches and tips for refining techniques. What more could anyone want?

I started with Lucy's pattern for teeny tiny flowers. Gosh, these are addictive, possible because they are so quick to do.  If you don't count weaving in ends, one flower takes approximately 3 minutes.  Yes, really!  So I made one in each of the flower colours I'd chosen for this project.  And then one of the tiny leaves in each of the chosen leaf colours. Lucy also suggests playing with hook size. I had noticed that the Woolcraft luminous peach DK yarn is rather coarser and woollier than the other flower colours, which I think are all Stylecraft DK. I used a 3.75 mm hook for all of the flowers, and then made an additional spice coloured one with the same hook, and an additional peach one using a 4mm hook. The resulting difference in size means that the flowers layer quite nicely.
The leaves took me a little longer, simply because they are small enough to be fiddly, there is a strand to weave down the centre of the leaf, and a couple of my leaf colour yarns are a bit soft and splitty.  (I feel a post comparing acrylic DK yarns coming on, but flowers first!)

And so onto the Crochet Flowers and Leaves.  Having used a magic loop rather than chain 4 centre on the tiny flowers, I decided to go back to a chain centre for the first of these flowers.  Ugh! I just cannot get my first round stitches evenly around the chains! I did the double layer flower first, and liked the way that the second layer is worked on top of the first, rather than having to fiddle around behind the flower to add a layer. I decided I would also do the single layer flower with a magic loop centre and ended up with seven rather than six petals where I forgot to skip a stitch.  Never mind, it's fine. The leaves are easy enough, on the same pattern as the tiny leaves - chain a number, work your way back with ascending and then descending size stitches, turn and repeat.  Emboldened by that, I chained an extra 4 and added a couple of double treble in the centre and another couple of treble on the other side of them.

The little picot flowers are cutely ruffly.  I went back to the chain centre just for practice, but after the first couple, ended up doing magic loop centres again. I love the way that Lucy eggs the reader on to do more than one and it is a good idea. You get to practice!  It gave me a 'what if' idea for a flower, exploring the potential for a picot of three chain on top of trebles into the centre rather than doubles (the peach centre with pomegranate petals).

I hadn't noticed them before in the list of patterns, but little crochet daisies looked pretty so I had to have a go at one of them. I went back to magic loop for the centre and found that I just could not manage to get the hook under both loops of the chains in the petals. This was something which I had tried and failed on the leaves done before, and had thought perhaps it was just because of the soft, splitty yarn. I had another go at a chain centre and going through both loops of a chain while making the little leaf, and was much more successful with a coarser yarn.

Moving onto the triple layer flower. These use five colours.  I magic looped the centre The seven petal flower created for the first layer was very cute just by itself, so I made another one. The flower would work just as well with two layers, but I carried on to finish the flower. Although these crochet flowers are destined for my flower garden scarf (or whatever), this triple layer flower would make a great brooch.  I also had a go at the leaf, although my attempts were a little haphazard.  I found it easiest to do the central vein with the 4 mm hook and then go down to the 3.75 mm for the main part of the leaf, but I seemed to end up with more chains than expected and started to improvise with the numbers of various stitches.  Still, I feel that's the best bit of using patterns like this, using the basic methods as a stepping off point to start playing with different stitches and numbers of repeats.

It's May, perhaps a little early for roses, but let's do some May Roses anyway. The coppery-spice one was made with the 3.75 mm hook and the coral-shrimp coloured one with the 4 mm and with a larger double crochet centre. I also made a couple of leaves, forgetting the second treble into a chain in the first leaf and then experimenting with a longer leaf with longer stitches, using the way that one yarn end is passed back down the leaf to change its outline slightly.

The Japanese Quince are still flowering, (although not as beautifully as those in Lucy's photo!) so that was the last pattern for the week, (even though there are more flowers on the blog). Again, I played with the yarn and hook size, doing the pale pink, lighter DK with a 4 mm hook and the coarser peach DK with the 3.75 mm, just to see the difference. I was intrigued by the propeller-shaped greenery, so I had a go at that, got carried away and did one with four arms instead of three.  Oh well, it's all good!

 Clockwise from top left:

Triple layer flower
Crochet flowers and leaves
Little crochet daisy
Japanese quince
Little picot flowers (with my larger one)
A drift of teeny tiny flowers and leaves
May Roses

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