Bosnian Crochet
Crochet Sweater Book
Other Garments
Organic Patchwork
Spiral Scrumbling
Square Scrumbling
Waistcoats (Vests)
What else?


Our Work :: Techniques :: Yarns

Our work

A typical piece might be a large curtain or wall-hanging or a small piece of crochet jewellery. It is most likely to be wearable – coats, cardies and sweaters as well as hats and scarves – but it includes anything from afghans or throws and cushions to bags and other accessories. The work shown here was made between 1977 and 1997


The crochet fabric is often constructed in a free and intuitive way with no regular structure and in that respect it has much in common with traditional 'Irish Crochet', which we always loved and also collected when we could. In every other way it is quite different, rarely being lacy or made with fine, cotton or linen thread in white or écru, but more usually involving relatively thick, multi-coloured and multi-textured yarns. The names we use for these techniques are 'scrumbling' and 'organic patchwork'

Crochet is very much our main love. Sylvia used to knit well and I can manage basic knitting skills and we have occasionally included hand- and machine-knitting techniques (and sometimes even of the odd piece of fabric or suede) in our work, but otherwise everything is made with a crochet hook

Pink Moth Cape Yarn swatches

Above: Some of Sylvia's own hand dyed, multi-textured yarns as used in the Pink Moth Cape


Our enthusiasm for yarns of all kinds has always been fundamental to our passion for making crochet fabric. In our time we have both been immersed in hand-spinning, mostly with wool, and dyeing with both natural materials and synthetic dyestuffs. We have also used commercial yarns extensively and, in particular, for more than fifteen years we have been in love with hand dyed, luxury yarns from Colinette Yarns, created by Prix di Rome painter, Geoff Sansbury.

Multi-coloured Yarn Play

Multi-coloured, space-dyed yarns such as Colinette will give even plain, basic fabric a gorgeous colourfulness, but we like to play with the yarns in ways which simple crochet stitch techniques make irresistible. In 'The Crochet Workbook' we said:

"Whether you spin and/or dye your own yarns or find them them ready-made, the most dynamic arrangements of colour and texture will flow from your hook if you are free enough to exploit the opportunities they offer. With multi-coloured yarns one of the most beautiful and intriguing thiongs to do is to make a simple fabric in short basic stitches, e.g. dc [US: sc], but to work a bobble or raised feature of some kind whenever the yarn changes to a particular colour (you decide which). The size of the bobble is selected and adjusted to use up exactly in one stitch or cluster all the yarn of the chosen colour there happens to be for the tiome being, and therefore to leave the other colours to form the 'background'. If the length of yarn in each colour and sequence vary all the time, the result is an apparently random arrangement of bobbles in randomly graduated sizes – colourful, dynamic and exciting, and all without your having to make decisions about when or how big to make the bobbles!"

Yarn Play 1 Yarn Play 2 Yarn Play 2  





Yarn "One": All three examples above are made from the same hank and mostly in dc [US: sc] to form a flat 'background'; in #1 whenever the yarn turns red, bobbles are made (as described earlier), but in #2, instead of bobbles, long raised stitches are worked with the red parts. In #3 the red drops back into the background and it is the scarcer/shorter, dark aubergine parts, which are made into bobbles

Yarn Play 4 Yarn Play 5 Yarn Play 6 Yarn PLay 7





Yarn "Two": Examples #4, #5, #6 & #7 are likewise made from the same hank (a different one!). In #4 the red parts are quite short and infrequent – only enough to make a single long-ish stitch out of. By contrast in #5 the situation is reversed: brief snatches of red make the flat background and the much longer lengths of the green and yellow make frequent, huge, puffy, bobbles. Obviously this piece of fabric is much thicker and heavier than the previous one and the entire colour/texture effect is totally transformed. #6 and #7 are opposite sides of a third swatch – this is made in plain, regular rows of dc [US: sc] which are always worked into the back loop only

There are some more conventional examples of Multi-coloured Yarn Play in the 'Bosnian' section

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