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|Patrice Walker, a native of Washington, DC, has been crocheting for over 40 years. Her mother, who taught her how to crochet when she was about 10 years old, also taught her how to knit, embroider, and sew. Always eager to learn new fiber arts, Patrice taught herself macramé and rug-hooking in her twenties, but decided in her early thirties that crochet would be her primary mode of expression. After joining the Crochet Guild of America in October 2004, Patrice discovered free-form crochet and was immediately smitten. She believes that working from commercial crochet patterns for so many years provided the foundation and the confidence she needed to step off the cliff's edge into the exciting world of freeform.
One of the big lessons I came away with from this experience is how "unpredictable" freeform can be. Once I got all the yarn separated into two main color groups, I was a bit overwhelmed and procrastinated for a few days, unsure if I was up to the task. But finally, I just jumped in and started "scrumbling" with one of the color groups which contained my favorite colors (I needed to fall back a bit into my comfort zone to help push me forward). I made those "itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny" motifs, and when I had a good number made, I started arranging them on my 8" x 8" piece of cardboard that I'd prepared to size the final product. Boy was I disappointed! I just couldn't figure out how to get what now appeared to be disparate colors (even though I was working in roughly one main color group) into a pleasing ensemble. So I put everything away, sat down in front of the TV and sucked my thumb. Then, as I was getting ready for bed, an idea hit me out of the blue. I actually "saw" in my mind's eye (that's how creative ideas come to me) a picture of some of the scrumbles arranged together. Problem solved! I knew how to finish the project. I could never have predicted when I started that my piece would turn out the way it did. I felt like an artist with a paint brush, combining colors and stitches into a great work of art. It may not be exhibited in an art gallery, but I can honestly say that it is MY work of art. Despite the unpredictability of the project, it has strengthened my trust in my own creative process and made me a bit more comfortable when facing the unknown.