Getting into crochet has been a great spark for me. I love learning and trying new things and experimenting. I love to push my own boundaries, too – so when I kept seeing amazing images of arm-knitting and arm-crocheting, I needed to try it!
Basically, arm-knitting and crocheting is when the material you’re working with is so large that your arms become the needles or hook (or, if you’re really crafty, you make the tools yourself!). This larger-than-life technique isn’t new – it’s been a perennial favorite of installation artists who work with everything from fiberglass to 1,000 strands of yarn at once. But it is new to me.
I had a wad of plain Wool of the Andes roving sitting around, and on a whim I grabbed it, split it into two halves lengthwise, and tested what could be done with it as yarn. The sample didn’t look like much, but it was promising. So, in my typical go-big-or-go-home fashion, I ordered 20 hanks of Full Circle roving in quarry and set out to make…something!
To understand the doily, you must make the doily.I really get this now. As a kid and even into adulthood, my brother and I would use ‘doily’ as a way to denote that something was old fashioned or fuddy-duddy. (e.g: “geez, dad, why don’t you put those vinyl records with your doilies?”)
But then along came Curio, and everything changed.
Since beginning my crochet quest earlier this year, I’ve really come to love the intricate patterns in fine gauge crochet items like doilies and trims. Not that I didn’t find them beautiful before, but being able to really see the work in them was a new experience. With Curio gleaming like a new day on my desk, I couldn’t help it. I looked for some free vintage doily patterns, and started wading through my first attempt.
Doppelgangers have enormous appeal for me in all forms: professional celebrity impersonators, Dostoyevsky’s The Double, Nabokov’s Despair, houses with miniature/to-scale versions that serve as mailboxes—the list goes on and on! But my current Top-of-the-Heap favorite is crocheted toy twins.
To begin, a question: What makes a good doppelganger? Ideally, it should be both precious and eerie in its sameness—but with most small toys, you’re also painting with a broad brush. Therefore cats (and the like) are a terrific subject, because very simple changes can be made to a pattern to mimic their varying fur and markings.
Recently, I found Claudia van K.’s joyful “Mr. Tibbles the Cat” free pattern on Ravelry and I knew exactly who to model it after…
Meet Harvey, my boyfriend’s cat. He enjoys dirt, moths, making Snoopy noises and sleeping on his very own military cot:
Now, meet Mr. Harvey the Cat. He enjoys eating polyfill and being very quiet: