Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ravelry August CAL--Blackberries

Last month in the Irish Crochet Lovers group on Ravelry, the CAL (crochet-a-long) was the Blackberry Design pattern from Priscilla Irish Crochet book 1.  You can find it HERE on the Antique Pattern Library.  At first glance, I thought this was an intimidating little sprig.  So many stems to get twisted, so many Clones Knots to unravel on me, and how on earth are those berries even constructed??

This CAL inspired many of us to join in, and I would like to share some of our results.  The journey of the Blackberry Design gives us a perfect example of how a crocheter might interpret patterns and spring off into her creative permutations.  It's so interesting to me where we take these challenges.  Some crocheters stayed true to the pattern, while many others tweaked and adjusted.  All the results are fabulous!

Eileen, bless her, came up with another amazing tutorial on the stemmed berry construction, on the full berry, and also shared tips on making Clones Knots.  I don't know where we would be without Eileen and her generous spirit.

Eileen's images inspired ashropshirelass to give Irish Crochet a try, and she completed her blackberry group in no time.  Can you believe this is her FIRST attempt at Irish Crochet???  I know, I can't get over it, either.  Notice how she used Clones Knots for the thorns on the stem, rather than picots.  Wonderful!
in progress
ashropshirelass' first attempt at Irish Crochet--amazing!

Eileen's tutorials certainly helped me with my blackberry attempt.  I went for a minimal berry composition, using 80 thread.  I was very concerned that I do the motif "correctly" and am thankful for the reminders that we can work the thread as we see fit!  I finished the berry while on a road trip, and was so excited by all the knots, that I just kept practicing them on a chain, experimenting with the number of "overs" and the tension, and positioning of the hook.  My husband thinks I'm crazy.
My daughter says the berries look like broccoli!

When I was done with the elements of the group above, I thought I would continue with the rest of the pattern.  Then I was inspired by Fatima's gorgeous interpretation of the blackberries.  She turned hers into jewelry!
Fatima's blackberry necklace
Fatima's project in progress

Sally stirred things up on the forum when she posted pictures of real blackberry plants, and we all agreed that the original pattern had the berries out of scale, compared to what we are used to seeing in nature.  Turns out UK and US blackberries look pretty similar, in case you were wondering!  I think Sally has created berries, leaves and flowers with more realistic proportions.  She not only made more petit berries, she modified the leaves to make the holes align with the center stem of the leaf, rather than going across.  And adding the picots to the leaf edge was brilliant.  The evolution of the design from the antique pattern to each of our final interpretations enthralled me.
Sally's in-progress work

Lori also minimized the berries in her piece, ending up with a more proportionate group.  I love how she made this her own, keeping to the pattern for parts of the motif and changing the rest to suit her vision.  I am such a rule-follower that I need reminding that it's OK to veer off the page and explore.  I'd like to share a quote posted by Eileen, from an Irish Crochet book found online by Susan:
” The aim of the worker should be to produce the most artistic work she is capable of if by altering a curve or adding a leaf to any spray she can create a design more pleasing to herself she should not hesitate to follow her own inclination”  --T.E. Beuthner
Lori's blackberries

Melba interpreted the pattern into her own design, keeping the berries more in scale with the flowers.  Melba is a free-form crocheter too, and she always comes up with wonderful versions of the antique patterns.  I envy those free-form crochet skills!
Melba's blackberry sprig--I love how she finished off the stem with a little loop

I really enjoyed following everyone's progress.  Some of us stuck to the pattern while for others, the design evolved into something more personal.  It was so great to see what sparked a crocheter's imagination.  We all had moments of frustration (learning time!) and bursts of inspiration too.  I think this CAL exemplifies why I appreciate Ravelry and my fellow Irish Crochet Lovers so much.  Without our discussion and photos, comments and questions, and inspiration and frustration, I would not be able to move forward as I have.  Everyone provides such a unique view of the creative aspect of our craft, that I can't help but learn something each time I read through the forum.  I know there are many more folks out there who worked the CAL or followed the thread (no pun intended), learning along with all of us!  So THANK YOU, to the Irish Crochet Lovers who are so willing to share their knowledge.



Lori McNamara said...

Thanks so much for posting all these here Kim! Its so nice to see them all together!

Lori McNamara said...

Testing the comment thingy for you! I see I still have to post I am not a robot, LOL!

Anonymous said...

I love what you did with the challenge, Kim - So intresting to see everyone's work together like this with your commentary to guide us on our tour! Debra

Irish Crochet Together said...

Fatima writes:

A great summary of the CAL, Kim!

I've also started to appreciate the importance of a good CAL, and the IC Lovers Group have amazing people who are always ready to help. I learned a lot in such a short time through the group. I love being there! :)