Have you ever tried to crochet with string or grass or cow’s tail?
This was the challenge set for us when we fronted up to Jenni Doherty’s ‘Hooked Again’ workshop at Lyndendale Gallery. We were looking to see how we could incorporate crochet (possibly) into our art. Mission impossible??
Jenni brought the lovely quilt that she made from grasses from her garden. She hadn’t crocheted before she made this quilt. It took forever to make but it was a winner at the 2012 Bunbury Regional Art Galleries’ ‘Survey’. Not only is it very beautiful and extremely tactile but.. now, looking back from my vast experience of being a beginning crochet-worker, I am amazed that she would even attempt such a venture!
And the cow’s tail pieces she was making? These were quite exquisite and looked like small lace baskets. Jenni swears the tail hair was found on a barbed wire fence. Hmmmm.
And as an aside, a friend from Tassie tells me she is working in crochet with bull kelp!! whatever happened to tea cosies and bootees?
We started with a chain. Problem number one for me. Left-handed. Trying to think backwards was more difficult for me than becoming an honorary right-hander so that was the course of action. Slow, slow, slow.
Others passed from chain to double crochet (??) to half treble and even treble. By the end of the workshop I made it to half treble.
Our crochet expert, Lorraine, took on the task of making grass string to crochet. She also made string from strips of cloth. Have you ever tried it? It’s a bit like the old trick of patting your head with one hand while at the same time you roll your hand in a circle on your tummy. I never graduated to that – the string-making, that is. I had a go at ordinary string and that was tricky enough.
We had lots of laughs. We made some very strangely-shaped samples. Carol made a blue ‘hat’ big enough for a Barbie doll. Janne has one side of the top half of a bikini. This exotic garment -in-the-making was made from a plastic silver thread – can’t wait to see the finished article. (Actually, Janne says she wasn’t making a bikini at all.)
And through it all, Jenni remained unflappable and steered us gently in the direction of trying new stitches, experimenting with stitch combinations and trying new materials with which to crochet.
We never had a lovely quilt like Jenni’s at the end of our labours. But we know that her quilt involved hundreds of hours and many a late night. We gave it a day – and a short day at that.
However, we all had plenty to think about. There were so many ideas of how this technique could be used and how it is being used within art. At the end of the workshop I thought,’This won’t be for me” but as the days have passed (all four of them) I find myself considering just what I might do.
I don’t have to do it tomorrow. Just as well, because I am still slow, slow, slow.