When a person is said to be “bi-stitchual” in the fiber arts, it means they have the ability to create stitches in two crafts, e.g. knitting and crocheting. “Aratika is bistitchual, she can knit and crochet.”
The bag and the pencil case shown above are made in knitting and crochet stitches, and can therefore be called bi-stitchual items as well. Actually, the pencil case might perhaps be called tri-stitchual, because there is also some needle-weaving in that one…
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself”. Or rather, he said it in German of course: “In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister”.
And although I would hesitate to claim I became a ‘master’ of anything in making these colorful bi-stitchual freeform items, I learned a lot in the process of making them.
Three factors especially contributed to that.
First, the fact that they are bi-stitchual.
Combining knit and crochet stitches in a freeform piece requires making some decisions on how and where to switch from one to the other technique. Where and how to pick up stitches to add some knitting? Where and how to insert one’s hook to continue in crochet? How to get a good visual flow between the two?
Second, a limited color palette was used for each piece.
For the pencil case, only three analogous yarn colors on the warm end of the color circle were used: red, purple and blue.
Working with only three colors poses a special challenge. Careful color placement is needed to make an interesting piece that manages to capture and hold the viewer’s attention.
For the bag, an analogous color scheme on the cool side of the color wheel was chosen. A total of 5 yarn colors was selected in the green-turquoise-blue range. One additional color was added to work the strap in tunisian crochet, to mimic the color of the blue cotton fabric that was used for lining both the bag and the pencil case.
One might think having more colors to work with would make color placement easier. It doesn’t. If anything it requires one to consider more carefully if any and if so, which, color should dominate the others and if and how an even color balance can be achieved.
Third, a limited selection of stitches was used for each piece
For the red-purple-blue pencil case, the ‘palette’ of stitches was limited to 3 knitting patterns, 2 crochet patterns, plus needle-weaving.
For the green-turquoise-blue bag, a different ‘palette’ of stitches was used, limited to 3 knitting patterns, 2 crochet patterns. Additionally, a leaf ‘motif’ was included in the ‘palette’ of things to work with.
Apart from this being freeform, and stitch patterns can therefore be varied upon (e.g. one can choose to show the ‘wrong’ side of stockinette knitting stitch on the right side and so forth), the limitation of stitches requires one to get everything one can out of the limited stitch ‘palette’.
This challenges one’s creativity and ability to think outside of the box like few other exercises one might try.
All in all these exercises in bi-stitchual, limited color and stitch palette greatly improved my confidence in freeforming. Thank you, moderators of the UK Freeformers group on Ravelry, who were the ones to come up with these challenging ideas! I can wholeheartedly recommend anyone interested in freeforming to challenge themselves likewise.