Lifestyle, Patterns, Stories, Travel

ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM AND CROCHET. WHY NOT?

Abstract expressionism and crochet…. I bet a lot  of people will find my statement total blasphemy.

I don’t mind, if that is the case, and I apologise in the very unlikely eventuality that an art critic has stumbled upon my blog. The purpose of the entry is to tell the story how this blanket came about, and   how I have used  saturated colours.

It all started with a pile of yarn , and the notion  to try something out of my comfort zone for a change. I wanted to use a pattern with a strong visual impact so I opted for  bull’s eye  which is a circle inside a square. If you google bull’s eye crochet square, the search engine will come up with several versions same basic design but slight differences due mainly to the thickness of the yarn ,which will determine  the size of the square, the number of stitches and the numbers of rounds .

I made a few samples ,with one strand  of DK but it turned out too flimsy and far too many rounds , so I opted for 2 strands together and fewer rounds. That created a more distinctive texture and visual impact. that made  the blanket  not only bold in colours but also bold in texture and weight!. ( in the photo above the one strand sample)

lets go back to the colours…

I wanted to use bold strong saturated colours and most of all  what are often considered ‘difficult ‘colours such as midnight blue , emperor, burgundy for example. 

Colours that very seldom I choose to add to my selection. I toiled with different combinations without much success I have to say, Then ,while in London last  September , I went to see an exhibition with my oldest daughter Francesca at  the Royal Academy of Arts called ‘Abstract Expressionism’  a selection of works by Hofmann, Pollok, Gottlieb,Willem de Kooning, Rothko,Kline,Still and many others.

I am not an expert or an art critic but just looking at those paintings as an ordinary person  what  I found astonishing  was how colour do exist as an independent element, and how colours project a mood and  also , how simplified forms and geometric shapes plus the use of saturated hues  create such a strong and bold statement.

I know that  it might be a bit ridiculous to compare crochet to works of art , but it is all about what catches your eye and what do you see and inspire you, it doesn’t have to be a painting at all ,  it can be someone else amazing blanket, can be nature, can be a pininterest board or a scrap of fabric or your favourite jumper.

That afternoon three paintings made quite an impression on me: one is called ‘in sober ecstasy’ painted by Hans Hofmann ,then ‘penumbra’ by Adolph Gottlieb, and  Williem de Kooning ‘untitled’.

I  couldn’t take pictures  obviously so I bought one of the catalogues of the exhibition and went home .

Now I  wish the pictures could give justice to the original but it can still give you an idea where I am coming from. what I saw in Hofmann was the amazing combination of colours and how those  brown/reddish rectangles  just made the painting sing, so it occurred to me that  a ‘dull’ imposing block of colour with a very strong geometric form can make  the other colours sing beautifully. hence dull colours  handled correctly can make a fantastic impact.

I loved Kooning’s  painting for the colours choice and  the  impact  of circles and squares  together and last in Gottlieb’s painting the red ring around the the black dot. can you see where I am coming from?

Bottom line of all of this is:

Just look around you and just pick what you like, and I mean it, pick ANYTHING that inspire you, because that will make any of your work personal and your item will tell  a  lovely story which is not my story but  it is YOURS.

Now few details because I have been asked to write down a pattern for it and the colours selection.

The blanket measures: 200cmx150,  there are 35 squares of 25cm each one.

I used Stylecraft special dk 2 strands together and a 5,00 hook.

the colours are: camel,midnight,tomato,gold,claret,emperor,fuchsia purple,storm blue,lime and pale rose. each square is made by a round centre squared up , I think a shape you are probably quite familiar it is also called bull’s eye.

my version is made of 9 rows:

row1 to row6 for the central circle and the last 3  rows squares it up.

PATTERN:

ROUND 1:

make a magic circle, inside 12 trebles,

ROUND2

2 trebles  together in each of the trebles of the previous round close with an ss on the ch3 of the beginning (24 trebles in total)

 

ROUND3:

ch3repeat this sequence: *1 treble, 2 trebles together* all around ( 36 trebles in total)

ROUND4:

repeat this sequence: *2 trebles,2trebles together* all around (48 trebles in total)

ROUND5:

repeat this sequence: *3 trebles, 2 trebles together*  (60trebles in total)

ROUND 6:

repeat this sequence: * 4 trebles,2 trebles together* all around ( 72 trebles in total)

those 6 rows make the internal circle. be aware that the sequence remain the same for all the blocks but  in each individual block some of the rows are in simple crochet and NOT in trebles! so please refer to the details of the the individual block to know which of the rows are in simple crochet.

ROUND 7/8/9 they will square the circle as follow:

ROUND7

start this row with *1dtr, 3tr,2htr,5 sc,2htr,3tr ,1dtr* then we do the corner as follow: in the same treble we crochet: **2dtr,ch1,2dtr** repeat 3 more times the all sequence that will make 4 corners (2dtr,ch1,2dtr) and 4 side of the square (1dtr,3tr,2htr,5sc,2htr,3tr,1dtr)

ROUND8

start this row at the corner . in the ch1 space make *2dtr,ch1,2dtr* this make the corners, then  the side is 20 trebles to reach the other corner and repeat the sequence all around.

ROUND9

start this row at the corner in the space ch1 of the previous round and make the corner as follow: *1tr,1dtr,2ch,1dtr,1tr* 23 trebles for the side and the corner again.

note: I say at the beginning 1 treble but the first treble is substituted ,as always happen at the beginning of each round, by 3 ch and if it is a rounds of sc will be 2 ch. also I close every round with an ss on the first group of chains.

normally I would say choose the colours as you please but in this case it makes a different if you use them in a specific order so I am going to list the different blocks as follow:

there are 10 different blocks in the blanket : this is the list:

then combine your 35 blocks as follow in the picture, and join them together with 1 strand of yarn only and  a simple sc in the back , now I m a bit of a perfectionist so I didn’t want the seam of the joining to be detected so when you join the block together please make sure that the colour of the yarn you are using matches one of the colours of the last round of the block. which means if you have 2 blocks to join together  which the last row is one lime and the other emperor use emperor to join. I know you will have more ends to sew but it does make a difference trust me.

the border is 9 rounds using 2 strands of yarn together.

first 8 rounds are sc and the last round is crab stitch .

colour sequence border:

ROUND1 : camel

ROUND2: gold

ROUND3: midnight

ROUND4/5/6/7/8 : claret

ROUND9: midnight.

QUANTITIES of yarn…I am afraid that is going to be a bit empiric but I tried to make a block to see the quantities, you will have to add it all up ….

round 1 and 2 together : 4 grams

round 3: 3 grams

round4:4 grams

round5: 5 grams

round6: 6 grams

round 7/8/9 together: 26 grams

the border I have no idea but I recon is at least 100 grams of claret.

sorry for the quantities, it wasn’t my plan  to make a pattern out of it, it was just an experiment blanket, so if you want to make one please make a sample of the block , that will help you to decide how much you need.

all the best

Luciaxx

 

 

 

 

9 Comments

  1. Evelyn Bennett

    January 31, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Lovely! Thanks for the inspiration! I am always wary about putting colours together but am determined to look around at things I like and follow you example!

    1. admin

      January 31, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      you are welcome Evelyn !that is why I am writing the blog to share my love for colours!! xxx

  2. Lucy

    January 31, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Absolutely love the bright bursts of colour! I have been toying with making a “bullseye” style blanket and may pinch your idea of really bright colours mixed up together!

    1. admin

      January 31, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      thank you Lucy!xx

  3. anna

    January 31, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Brilliant post! Very inspiring. And the blanket looks great!

  4. Amy

    January 31, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! I love how your mind works with colors.

  5. Ingeborg

    February 9, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    This blanket is so ultimatively stunning, thank you for sharing, Lucia.
    I discovered your blog only recently, I am so happy you decided to have one.

  6. Leslie Redman

    February 28, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    A brilliant alternative to standard squares and love how you encourage looking at everything with a crochet eye! I only recently discovered your blog and will be watching it regularly..thank you

  7. Deserat

    April 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Beautiful and what a great inspiration. Some people have the color gene….I don’t so I copy others’ ingenuity. Thank you for sharing this.

Leave a Reply to admin Cancel