Making micro-crochet look “right”


Last time I wrote about some problems in finding just the right thread for a specific micro-crochet effect, and this leads me to a much bigger overarching issue: the question of scale and abstraction. I think about this a lot but don’t yet have a coherent, theory-of-everything way of articulating it. The point is, in the quest to create a tiny model of something that looks “right,” you have to balance the abstraction required to reduce size with the detail required to create sufficient realism. Sometimes you can get away with a lot more abstraction and still have the piece look “right,” and defining exactly how to do this is one of the things that interests me.

I’m going to make this an ongoing project, and I will keep trying to derive ways of expressing it and sharing illustrations of what I’m talking about. I’ll include reposts of wok by other people that I think achieves some effect very successfully. This will be fun. It will also sometimes lead me to post photos of less-than-successful things I have made. This is hard to do. Please be kind.

Let’s start with…


Using materials with details at the actual scale of your piece, or as close to it as possible, helps a lot. Hair or fur at a realistic scaled size, or fabric with a realistic thickness and print size, tend to give a realistic, “right” look. I show here several examples:

  1. Successful: a 1-3/4” human figure with super-fine, 3/16” long hair strands teased from strands of thread, and
  2. Unsuccessful: a sub-2” long-haired dog with roughed-up but still excessively thick strands of fur, and
  3. Very successful: a great example from the doll artist @art_occoan, whose tiny tweed coat is made with many lovely details from a perfectly scaled fabric (which is not even actually a tweed). I’m not generally interested in fashion dolls but this artist makes such cleverly scaled clothes that I love her work.


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