Unlike crochet laces, floral crochet permits the worker to utilise her artistic perception and sense of colour. She can conform to the purely natural effects obtained by copying the real flowers, or she may branch out in a broad conventional design. So unlimited are the uses to which this decorative crochet can be put, that it ought to rival its long-established relative in popularity.
Almost any material may be used as a background for the flowers. A pure silk should be employed when the crochet is to be applied to silk or satin of rich texture. Mallard floss is a suitable silk for. this purpose. On any woollen material, cotton fabrics, or silk mixtures, D.m.c. Colon Perle is an inexpensive thread, which looks well when worked into the design. The smallest flowers require a finer thread of the Filoselle type.
Any ordinary crochet-hook will be found suitable, about size 3, or 1 1/2 , if a coarser hook is preferred.
Nearly all the flowers, leaves, buds, stalks, and stamens are worked separately, and afterwards placed and sewn in position on the design. Sometimes, when the leaf and flower are small, the stalks, buds, and smaller leaves may be worked in ordinary embroidery stitches upon the material to be decorated.
Building up the Design
When all the necessary pieces are crocheted, build up the dissected flower, always starting with the stem, and be careful to regard the blossoms as real flowers, to be treated delicately, and arranged with a light hand. They should look fresh, and literally stand out from the article they adorn; not damaged and crushed, or faded like flowers thirsting for water.
The crocheted parts of the flower require fixing with few stitches, yet very securely, and with no ends visible. When embroidery stitches are employed, great care must be exercised to prevent the slightest suspicion of puckering. Hence, many workers will find it necessary to use an embroidery frame as an assurance against any such accident.
All these little details need to be strictly borne in mind if the ultimate effect is to be one of naturalistic beauty.
The colouring is an important feature of this work, and its charm lies in the choice of shades and the graduating of tones in the flowers and leaves.
With the green silk selected work for the stalk 70 chain, miss the first stitch by needle, and do 1 single stitch into each of the next 8 chain, 9 chain, miss the first stitch by needle, 1 single stitch into each of the next 8 chain, 1 single stitch into next chain (this forms the first branching stalk to which the blossoms are secured); 1 single stitch into each of the next 6 chain, and repeat from * 5 times, and work 1 single stitch into each of the remaining chain.
The number of the little branches should be varied, increasing the initial 70 chain to 90 or more, and repeating from * 8 times instead of 5.
Commence upon the blossom with the white silk, work 4 chain, and join into ring with a single stitch.
1st row.-8 double crochet into ring, turn with 1 chain.
2nd row.-1 treble into each of next 4 double crochet, 2 treble into next, 1 treble into each of the next 2 stitches, 2 treble into next; turn.
3rd row.-1 double crochet into each of the treble of previous round.
4th row.-* 3 chain, 1 single stitch into each of the next 2 double crochet, * repeat until a scalloped edge is formed all round the cup. Fasten off neatly. Turn the flower inside out very carefully, using the little finger or the points of a pair of scissors for the purpose; although this little operation may seem unnecessary, it adds greatly to the bell-like appearance of the flowers.
For the buds work 4 chain, join into ring, work 8 double crochet into the ring, 1 double crochet into each of the previous double crochet, join up with single stitches until the tiny cup is closed into a ball.
The very smallest buds may be embroidered on to the material, or crocheted by omitting the second round of double crochet.
Begin the leaf with 65 chain, 1 double crochet into second chain from hook, 1 double crochet into each of the next 5 chain, 1 treble on each of the next 44 chain, 1 double crochet into each of the remaining 14 chain, 1 double crochet into each of the first 14 stitches along the other side of leaf, 1 treble into each of the next 44 stitches, 1 double crochet into each of the next 5 stitches, 2 double crochet into extreme end.
2nd row.-1 double crochet into each of the next 10 stitches, 1 treble into each of the next 39 stitches, 1 double crochet into each of the remaining stitches, 2 double crochet into extreme end; slipstitch along the first 8 double crochet the other side of leaf, I double crochet into each of the next 2 treble, 1 treble into each of the next 35 treble, 1 double crochet into each of the next 6 stitches, 2 double crochet into the end.
When fixing the stems and leaves into position, care should be taken in arranging them in natural curves and folds. The flowers require to be attached very delicately. Pass the crochet-hook through the centre ring of the blossom, and draw the little branching stalk through just sufficiently to reveal a centre tint of green; then secure it in position with the aid of needle and silk.
The illustration suggests a prettily grouped spray, and shows how the leaves and stalks should be curved. Mimosa
Mimosa is the favourite of some embroiderers, but a far more realistic effect is obtained in crochet. It is a singularly adaptable design, and can be used for many decorative purposes.
The colours required for these flowers are pale yellow and two shades of green, and also a little cotton-wool for padding.
The Blossom. With the yellow silk make a ring of 4 chain, into ring work 8 double crochet, 1 treble into each of the previous double crochet. This will form a cup like the lily bloom. Take a tiny piece of cottonwool and fill the cup; then draw together with single stitches to close up into a ball. Fasten off neatly, drawing the end through the centre of the ball by means of the crochet-hook.
The balls may be enlarged by increasing the number of double crochet worked into ring.
The Bud. Into a ring of 4 chain work 10 double crochet and join up into a ball. The smallest buds for the extreme end of each spray are made by working several French knots, or embroidered with simple embroidery stitches on to the material. To be continued.
Crochet lily'of'the-valley with leaves applied to a theatre-bag of old gold satin