Freeform Steps Outside the Pattern Book Box

prudence mapstone’s freeform -

Find a box and step right into it. Take your hook and yarn with you. Sit down and follow all the rules. When you get tired of following all those rules, make a few of your own. Then, you are a freeform-er.

Freeform crochet is the simple act of creating scrumbles. What’s a scrumble? Well, it’s a piece of freeform crochet. How’s that for a circular definition? But it’s true, if not informative.

Freeform crochet takes all the rules of crochet that you were taught – match the hook to the size of yarn or thread, ch 2 (or 3) to start a row of DC, follow a pattern. To really appreciate crochet, one of the easiest first steps is to create a MAGIC BALL. Take all your partial skeins of thread and yarn and tie them together, end to end. Don’t worry about the size or color or fiber content. Then roll the ‘new’ yarn into a nice ball.

Then, get yourself a set of crochet hooks – from size E to I, for starters – and a couple of dice (or one die). Assign a # to each stitch – 1 = sl st, 2 = sc, 3 = hdc, 4 = dc, 5 = tr, 6 = ch 3, 7 = bouillon. Of course, you can designate any number to any stitch you want. Roll one time to determine which stitch. Roll the second time to determine how many stitches to do. Every fifth roll of dice, change your hook size. Start by creating a circle or by working in rows. Whatever. Anything will work. When you’re tired of it, bored, or finished, finish off. Leave the tails dangling or weave them in. Add charms, buttons, beads, etc to suit your taste. Voila! You have your first scrumble.

Experienced Freeformers like Prudence Mapstone and Margaret Hubert (to name only two) will take a bunch of scrumbles and make a sweater out of them. It’s a great technique and they have books to show you how to pull this off. It’s not as hard as it sounds from my brief and likely inadequate description.

My very first scrumble wanted to be heart shaped. I made it on a flight from Paris to the US in 2004. Since I crochet with a lot of pinks and reds, those were the colors in my magic ball. When I returned home, I added some charms and beads. It was definitely a heart! So, I gave it to a friend who uses it as a decorative doily on the back of a parlor chair. It found a nice home. Wish I had taken a picture…….


  1. says

    This book is on my list, why haven’t I bought it yet?? LOL I think I’ve been a bit intimidated by them!

    I’m gonna try your instructions this week. I have tons of yarn and it looks so fun! Thanks for posting this!

  2. says

    Thanks for the good ideas, have wanted to try this for a long time. I’m going to print this out and play around with it and see what I come up with. Thanks for encouraging me to step out of comfort zone!


  3. marcy allen says

    i just wanted to say i do crocheting myself i am starting a new project i am working on a new curvie hanger i will let you know how it looks when I get done. marcy allen

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