Today I’m talking about a fun project that I completed just before Christmas, an innovative design which astounded me in its simplicity and speed, and you know how much I love speedy projects! However, you also know that I like a long blog post, so perhaps go grab a cuppa quickly. It’s a big one!
Towards the end of 2017 the creative director at Scheepjes introduced me to fellow Australian designer Jenny King, and her magical garment making workshop Get Squared. Essentially, we take a few very simple measurements, punch it into the formula Jenny has created, take any yarn, grab a 6mm hook and within a few hours – really, a few hours – you’ll have a garment.
I mean, of course I was skeptical. A garment in a few hours? Not a chance. But then she pulled out her own example, after just two hours of work, and I was blown away.
Of course I had to try this for myself, so I ordered a pile of Scheepjes Cahlista, asked a friend for her measurements, and went to town.
It was at about this point that I realised I had my measurements wrong. I had noted the correct measurements of my friend, and I had the correct magic number from Jenny’s formula, but I hadn’t measured my work properly!
Usually it would be around this time that I would have screamed, screwed it up into a ball and thrown it across the room, but that bottom half in my pic was less than an hour’s work! So I happily ripped it all back, measured correctly and merrily went on my way again.
Within a couple of short evenings in front of Netflix I was here:
Only the sleeves and edging to go, which was done in a jiffy. I’m not even kidding, I’ve never made a garment this quickly before. I truly have at least three half done garments in a box somewhere that I just can’t face. It’s too much work. But this was a dream!
When I gave it to my friend at Christmas, we discovered that the sleeves are too long, and I should have taken her inner arm measurement as well, but it’s easy to fold them back, and the cardigan looks great!
Jenny’s Get Squared is terrifically innovative. Using her magic formula, anyone can make a garment, with just about any yarn, in basically any size, by grabbing a few simple measurements. It’s a comprehensive video course, where you will learn to make 5 different garments. I love a good long cardi, so I chose the Gossamer cardigan, but there is a basic sweater, a bolero and a couple of variations, including creating a round neck and a V, and a cross-over. The course itself is $39.90 AUD (so that’s about 26 euros) and it’s adaptable, once you have the foundation down, you’ll be able to make any garment you can imagine.
Once I was done, I had to reach out to Jenny to share my cardi, and to tell her just how happy I was. While I was at it, I also talked her into a little interview!
Tell us about you, how you came to crochet, and how that evolved to designing and your own yarn!
I was 8 years old and I wanted a bun cover like ballerinas wore I their hair. So I nagged my aunt to show me how to crochet. I learnt how to chain and double crochet from her. Later my cousin from the other side of the family was making a granny square blanket and he showed me how to do that. I made it into a 4 square poncho and put a funnel neck on it. No one told me I couldn’t so I just did.
And what about Get Squared? How did that evolve? I’m blown away by your formula and would love to hear how you came up with it.
Trial and error and a lot of experience. I owned a yarn store then and noticed that I could vary the sizes of many of the garments by changing the hook or the amount of rows if working from the top down. Many people who could Crochet only did granny square blankets because they only know how to go around and around. Many didn’t know what the stitch was called and liked the blankets because they were easy relaxing Crochet. I wondered if I could marry the 2 ideas and started playing. It was a bit of an epiphany with lots of hard work checking and rechecking the maths. I probably did my first top down published design in 1999 and quite a few in between so that is where the experience came from. Then I experimented with every yarn I had on hand from lace weight to chunky and it kept on working. It was like magic
I’ve made the Gossamer cardigan so far, and was astonished at how quickly it works up. I had even gotten half way down the body and realised it much too big so had to rip it back, but what would usually have left me swearing and potentially abandoning the entire project wasn’t a problem because I knew that within a few hours I’d be almost finished. Was the speed by design, or is a happy coincidence?
The beauty of the granny stitch is that it is quick, you work into the Big Holes as I call them so it is no effort. The J hook/6mm also helps. We are making fabric that drapes. Of course speed is important, if we want a new garment we want it now. I think that is why people churn out blanket after blanket until the family has had enough. So I wanted to put that ease if sticking into garments that people love. I used a lace weight yarn in my gossamer cardigan and you used a chunky cotton yarn and they both look wonderful. That is the beauty of Get Squared I think.
Kids Squared has just been released, and I’m so happy – I can’t wait to use your formula to create outfits for my daughter – tell us about how that came about?
It was in the back of my mind as the first top down garment I ever made was for my son who is now 33. But I had to put it on hold until Get Squared was done and I had explored every single design shape I could; I ended up with 90 Get Squared garments. I made my first Kids Squared garment 5 years ago at the same time but it is only this year that I teamed up with Scheepjes to finally get all the designs filmed and written
The Get Squared concept is based on the Granny (shell) stitch. I think I’d love to use the V-stitch for my next garment. How flexible is it to adapt to using other stitches, do you think?
It is very adaptable. I have devised about 8 stitch variations so far. And I that will be my next video. I have done quite a few designs already; it is very exciting. In saying that nothing is as speedy as the granny (shell)stitch. The V stitch will work either in the chain space or in the middle tr of the shell. Only the drape alters. It is all about making the fabric. I want people to make clothes quickly and easily and wear them out so I will do anything to get that to happen effortlessly and stylishly.
What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
Get Squared the New Stitches, or the “next generation” I may call it . I have started working on it. It will use the magic sizing of Get Squared so that it will fit up to 64 inch bust, and have the same simplicity without seaming but it will look so different. It is a whole other design journey. What fun!
Thanks so much for joining us today, is there anything else you’d like to share? Tips or tricks?
If you ever have to seam up for Crochet designs can I recommend you explore the chain seaming technique which is shown isn’t the Kids Squared video or as a free PDF at my site. It may just change your world.
And finally, where can we find you online?
Thanks Jenny! (I’ve already downloaded her seaming technique pdf, I’m excited to see it in practice.)
Jenny also sent me some of the images from the Kids Squared series to share with you, and here are a couple that I cannot wait to make for Raina!
For my cardigan I used about 10 balls of Scheepjes Cahlista in 393 Charcoal which you can pick up at Wool Warehouse*, Caro’s Atelier* or any of the great Scheepjes stockists n the Benelux.
Full disclosure: I was gifted the Get Squared workshop by Jenny, but all the opinions are my own, and I have happily purchased the Kids Squared series as a result.