Crochet as Art: Architectural Crochet

I really love to crochet and to design new crochet patterns (basically, I love to make things!). But not just the typical types of crochet projects: scarves, hats, ponchos, shawls, garments, potholders, coasters, placemats, jewelry, etc. Sometimes I like to design something different and challenging. I get bored doing the same thing over and over. That’s why I like to change what I do from time to time!

Did you know that you can make artistic, 3-D items in crochet? I’ve designed and crocheted several myself. I’ll show you those a little later in this blog post. But first, I’d like to show you some of the amazing things that some crochet artists are creating around the world. These projects are very inspiring and really amazing!!!

Lion Head from The Lionheart Project

The first artist I’d like to share with you is Shauna Richardson. Shauna spent 2 years and used 36 miles of Swaledale wool from the Derbyshire Dales to crochet three giant 29 foot lion figures, known as “The Lionheart Project”! These lions are an interpretation of the three golden lions on Richard the Lionheart’s coat of arms. These lions are amazing!!! It would be wonderful to see these in person! These are just a few of the photos of this amazing creation. In these two photos, Shauna is chatting with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire as they stand next to her project on May 1, 2012 in Chatsworth, England. The work will tour the East Midlands before moving to London’s Natural History Museum as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. There are more photos of Shauna’s work and this impressive sculpture here: www.shaunarichardson.com and www.lionheartproject.com. And here is a website where you can watch a BBC video on this project: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-17922125.

Display of The Lionheart Project

 

Crochet Pistols

Now for something a lot smaller! I saw these crocheted pistols online one day by Inger Carina and thought they were pretty amazing! I hadn’t seen any crocheted guns before I saw these. Isn’t it amazing what you can create with just a crochet hook, some crochet thread and some fabric stiffener (and some guns to mold them around, of course)? I would have never thought to crochet guns!!! Now that’s imagination for you! You can see more of Inger’s work at www.hellocraftlovers.com.

 

Piano covered with doilies

If you’re wondering what to do with all those doilies you’ve made and/or collected over the years, here is an idea for you. How about covering a piano with them? I think this covered piano is awesome!!! There are a whole lot of doilies covering this piano! Of course, I LOVE doilies!!! This was done by Joana Vasconcelos. You can see more of her work at www.joanavasconcelos.com.

These are just a few of the crochet artists in the world. Aren’t they amazing?

 

 

Well, my crochet art isn’t as nice as these fabulous pieces, but it’s not bad! First, here is my locomotive afghan and toy, which were published in the December 2009 issue of Crochet World magazine:

Locomotive Afghan

 

The locomotive afghan was made with 9 colors of Red Heart Super Saver yarn. It measures 48” x 60”. When designing this afghan, the first thing I needed to do was find a good photo of a locomotive at the desired angle I wanted. Since I had trouble finding a good photo, I took some photos of a plastic toy locomotive that we used many years before under our Christmas tree (it had optional smoke, too). After making a gauge swatch, I decided how many stitches and rows the afghan should have for the desired size. Then I imported the photo into my computer charting program and tweaked the colors in the chart to make a good intarsia pattern that didn’t have too many color changes involved.

 

 

 

Locomotive Toy

 

The locomotive toy was made with 5 colors of J&P Coats Royale Classic and Metallic crochet thread in size 10. Many parts of the toy are crocheted with 2 strands of crochet thread held together. I used plastic canvas, cut into various sizes, to provide a “skeleton” for the crochet to fit over for the body of the locomotive. I also used polyester fiberfill to stuff many of the pieces. Since I didn’t know much about locomotives at the time, I checked out some books at my local library with photos of locomotives. And I asked a friend’s husband with locomotive knowledge some questions about the names of the parts of the locomotive so I could label them correctly in the pattern! It was a long process, but I think it was well worth it! This locomotive toy was a challenge to design, but it was actually quite fun!

 

Here’s a tent, sleeping bag, beret, vest and ammo belt that I designed for a GI Joe (or similar) doll:

GI Joe Tent and Gear

This pattern was published in the August 2009 issue of Crochet World magazine (it was called “Camouflage Gear” in the magazine). The vest, beret, ammo belt and sleeping bag weren’t too difficult to design with the doll that I had received from the magazine editor to use. But the tent was a challenge!!! After trying several times to make the tent, I decided I needed to make a paper form of the tent first. Then I crocheted the pieces to fit the form. I cut a wire coat hanger and bent the wire a little to form the tent “poles”. I used pieces of a glue stick for the ends of the tent poles so they wouldn’t poke through the crochet pieces at the bottom corners of the tent. I even crocheted the door flap for the tent, with crocheted chains for tie straps to keep the door flap open or closed. I used Red Heart Sport yarn for the tent and sleeping bag and Aunt Lydia’s Classic size 10 crochet thread for the ammo belt, vest and beret. And I used bugle beads for the “ammo” in the ammo belt!

 

Here is my Majestic Butterfly afghan that was published as a web bonus in Crochet! magazine’s Spring 2012 issue:

Majestic Butterfly Afghan

This afghan was made as a request from Cari Clement at Caron yarns. She liked my locomotive afghan at the CGOA Conference the year before and asked me to design an intarsia afghan for Caron. So I started looking for photos of butterflies to use. I finally found one and used the same computer charting program to import the photo (after deciding how many stitches and rows the afghan would need). I had to do a lot of tweaking on this one to get the colors to work and not have too many color changes throughout the rows. I think it turned out nicely!

 

 

And last, but not least, is my Dragon Ship, which was published as a web bonus in Crochet World’s February, 2011 issue. The reason it wasn’t published in the magazine itself, but as a web bonus, is the pattern was way too long!!! I also won a Flamie award for this ship last year! The ship is designed to look like the ship in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” movie! The editor for Crochet World magazine at the time, Michele Maks, asked me to design this ship well before the movie was released, so finding online photos of it being built wasn’t all that easy!

Dragon Ship

The head on my Dragon Ship

This dragon ship was the biggest challenge for me so far! I made at least 3 different heads for the dragon before I got one that didn’t look dorky!!! The dragon itself has a head, neck, wings and tail. I included teeth and a tongue in the open mouth, along with a goatee under the chin, horns, ears and bead eyes with eyelids on top of the head. The crochet stitches I chose for the sides of the neck and the tail look like scales! And I used some post stitches for added texture on the dragon’s wings. The ship includes a hull with embroidered port holes, deck, stern cabin (at the back of the ship below the tail), 2 masts, a sail, flag, lookout and side railings. I used 7 colors of America’s Best Crochet Thread, size 10 for this ship. I added cardboard pieces under the deck and under the top and front pieces of the stern cabin for strength and added shaping. I put poly pellets at the bottom of the hull and stuffed the rest of the hull with polyester fiberfill. I inserted wire at the bottom of the sail to help shape it. I stiffened the flag, lookout and 2 pieces that I made to attach the masts to the deck. My only regret is not engineering the masts and deck so the masts would not flop around! But all in all, I think this dragon ship looks pretty good!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these pieces of crochet art (mine and the other designer’s pieces)! And I hope I’ve inspired you to try some crochet art in the near future!

Happy crocheting,

Susan

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One Response to Crochet as Art: Architectural Crochet

  1. Kara Lyon says:

    What an interesting post. I had seen Shauna Richardson’s work before but didn’t know that much about it. Thanks also for the insight into the design process behind your beautiful crochet work.

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