Scrumbling along

Scrumbling along

What have I been up to? While recovery mode I assumed I would be stitching but quickly found that it involved a little too much movement – twisting in one direction to reach that colour thread, then deciding that colour bead on the shelves behind me were needed then back to dig about in my lace motifs (in a box on another shelf).

I decided that I needed something that was not going to have me bounding from one side of the room to another – or even getting in and out of a chair – so I dug out my scrumbling. I love scrumbling but never seem to get enough time to do it. Some people refer to it as scrumbling and others call it freeform crochet and knitting. This is what I have been doing…

Recently I treated myself to Jenny Dowde’s book Freeform Knitting and Crochet so it was time to sit down and explore some new possibilities with this book in hand.

This is an unexpectedly mixed book. Mixed in the sense there is a section that takes the reader through step by step the basics of scrumbling. There are also some projects which would help a beginner start this form of work. The projects range from the very basic to the innovative such as crochet with wire and beads! However the book is not solely project based as there is a section on colour theory, how to choose your yarns and using a computer as a design tool.

There is material in this book that is useful for the more experienced freeformer too. You can add to your repertoire of textured effects in both crochet and knit in the FunkyFX section of the book.

Assembly, putting it together and finishing off techniques are also covered. There is a great section on buttons and closures which includes creating your own polymer clay buttons. That is what I meant by mixed, as there seemed a bit of everything – like scrumbles – that mix together and form a whole eventually.

It was with great pleasure that I read it, then set about experimenting with Freeform Knitting and Crochet at my side. I have had a good few enjoyable hours with this book and don’t hesitate to recommend it.

Here is a detail of my scrumbles. I am not sure what I am making at this stage – possibly a jacket. I plan to let it evolve. 

If you have not encountered this type of work before take a look at these examples of free form crochet

Prudence Mapstone has described an evolution of a scrumble . While on her site check out her gallery section particularly the freeform close-ups and the scrumbles section

Marlo Cairns has also published a Freeform Pattern to illustrate how scrumbles are built up. Myra Wood has another Freeform demo on her site. While there check out Myra’s freeform wearables and her blog

For heaps of inspiration (and getting lost for a few hours) browse the 8 exhibitions on the A girl can never have too many handbags site. Another series of exhibition can be found on the If the hats fits site.

Another inspiration site is A celebration of freeform crochet. Have a look at the scrumblers gallery

Yet more visual stimulation can be found on Bonnie Pierce’s site Elegant Freeform Crochet

60 Odd a Fiber Odyssey is an interesting site as it was a challenge in which 61 freeform prctitioners swapped 61 five yard bundles of yarn and then set about scrumbling. The results of the challenge are on the site

As you can see I am nearly back to my normal but not yet bouncy self – back doing some textile related thing and back blogging. It has to be a sign of health returning!


  1. Nancilyn I just checked out your blog and those images of ‘samplers’ are fantastic! what a source for inspiration.

    On your other comment – yes I agree I have Prudence Mapstone’s book and it is very good. I really would like more time to scrumble – but stitching and teaching (both stitching and at the art school seem to keep me away from it for long stretches of time)

  2. Happy to hear you are on the mend and enjoying the bliss of scrumbling. I have yarns languishing as I write. I concur with your praise of Jenny Dowde’s book, especially because it has a knitting section that is lacking in other references wherein the emphasis is on crochet. She has a new book out and it arrived today! It’s titled FREEformations: Design and Projects in Knitting and Crochet. I’ll let you know when I’ve had a chance to peruse it. I’ve taken f2f classes with both Prudence Mapstone and Margaret Hubert and utilize their books as well. They are excellent teachers. I often embellish my freeform with embroidery & beading, and others incorporate bits of weaving and macrame.

  3. Glad you are feeling a little better. Hope you can get back to CQ soon, but it looks like you are having some fun anyway. I never heard of this, but it looks like great fun.

  4. Glad to hear that you are okay now and on the road to recovery what better convalescent activity than being creative with your hands. Having looked at the website for ideas I now know what I can do with my bits and bobs of free form knitting samples, bags, bags and more bags! Have posted my cross stitch TAST on flickr.

    margaret steeden
  5. Hi Sharon,
    I hope you continue to make a speedy recovery … having an excuse to sit and crochet all day might be good, but not when the excuse involves having had to have surgery …
    I have a black/white/grey freeform UFO hiding in my sewing room somewhere … I really should dig it out and do some more of it … if I ever finish the thing, it will probably be a shawl/poncho/whatever type thingy (it will decide exactly what it is going to be sometime before I finish it πŸ˜‰
    btw … if anyone is looking at those hat and bag online exhibitions … there are some of my things in the 2nd bag one (June 2004) and, if you go to any of the handbag ones and then follow the link to “virtual exhibitions” on the top – there are also some scarf exhibitions too (yes – I have some scraves in one of those too … but, if you liked looking at the hats and/or bags, there are lots of scrumbled/etc scarves that are worth looking at as well)
    disorganised in Dunlop
    … who WAS just about to blog about my TAST stitching but my daughter wants me to go help her make a cheesecake … so the blog will have to wait …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: