As previously mentioned, I have fallen in love with mandalas and freestyle crochet; crocheting in the round has unlocked a creativity in my that I’m delighting in and a sense of inventing something form myself has awoken a desire to actually nail down my technique, record what I do and offer it out to other people. The Fritha Mandala (so named because it reminded one of my girls of the sun cartoon in the film of Watership Down) is currently being reworked by me, tried out by 5 or so testers and prepared as a pattern for me to do something with, possibly on this blog.
I enjoy the process of making the stitches fit and lie flat and forcing myself to consider what will work just as much as I’ve loved considering what will look good in terms of the colours that lie next to each other and how to add variety to the stitches without making the pattern impossibly wobbly. It’s been a huge learning experience.
The great delight though has been in discovering how quickly something in the round will work up – the first Fritha was done in 14 days but most of it was done in a very few sessions. And there is something incredibly satisfying about a large motif for someone who has up until now enjoyed making large blankets but has done them all in small squares to be stitched together at the end.
The creativity in this has been delicious – colour, design, tantalising flavours of both that make one have a hint of Aztec and another a hint of Egypt and the joy of it washing down over my knees as it grows, hanging nightly over the sofa for the girls to admire in its new form the next morning has been joyous.
To see it change each morning in new light as dark blue hits shocking pink and radically alters the colour balance has really inspired me in a way that the effort of juggling colours in small granny squares can frustrate me. Leafing through patterns and Pinterest to explore stitch ideas and finding other mandala lovers on Instagram has made it a community project and it is easy to see why the people doing Sophie’s and WaterLily blankets are enjoying that communal process too.
It’s a genuinely extraordinary thing for me; I’m learning accuracy and planning and care and artistic effort making Fritha in a way I never have before – and learning to properly complete, record and amend. It’s opened up a whole world of crochet I would not have dared to dabble in before – not least the mental agility involved in writing a pattern for others – and so I’m growing as a crafter as I do it.
My original intention was square it off but so freestyle was my first go that it was not quite even enough to really do that. I’m now realising how several Frithas and part Frithas would work well together if I scumbled them together into a throw made of circles of different sizes. I’m looking at that as something I could then square off rather more easily than this current large motif (it is 55 rows and a good bit more than a metre across) and would have an interesting look to it.
This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit www.deramores.com for more details.