Free Form Crochet Fern

As part of my current project #100daysofmycrochetgarden over on Instagram, I recently decided to have a go at free styling a crochet fern. The beauty of free motion crochet is that you can go wherever your hook takes you and make the finished item look however you want it to. Both of the ferns below are made using the principles set out on this page, just varying them slightly to achieve different looks.

This free tutorial explains how to create your own version of a fern, but if you would prefer to follow a row by row pattern to create the fern on the right, you can find it available on Love Crochet

You will need:

I used Anchor Crafting Creative Fino 205 and 1.5mm hook, but you could also use Yarn and Colors Must-Have in Peridot or Schachenmayr Catania in Apfel, both would look equally striking.

You can also substitute the yarn and hook to make it much larger, the choice is yours.

LoveCrochet

Overview of Basic Steps

We start the fern by crocheting a stem with chain stitches. If you want the fern to stand upright then you will need to do this around wire.

After the stem, you crochet the small sections which make up the tip of the plant, before moving on to each individual branch structure down the left hand side, before heading back up the right hand side.

To retain the fern shape, you need to make sure that each branch or pinna gradually gets longer as you go down the stem. This is achieved by simply crocheting more ‘little leaves’ or pinnules.

Step 1

Crochet your desired chain length for the stem. This will determine the overall height of the fern. Remember you want it to be long enough to have a stem, as well as leave space for each branch or pinna. For mine, I used chain 48.

Step 2

The tip of the fern is made by a series of small lengths of chain stitches, You need to slip stitch into each stitch to end up where you started. These need to decrease in length as you head to the very tip, and then increase again on the other side of the fern.

Step 3

After you have made the tip of the fern you move on to each branch, making them longer as you go.

Step 4

After your final branch on one side, slip stitch down the stem and then back up to reach the other side. You’ll simply need to replicate the branches you have already made in reverse.

Step 5

Slip stitch and pull the yarn through. Weave in all of the ends.

Example Pattern for Simple Tip of the Fern

Row 1: Ch 48
Row 2: Ch 6, sl st in each ch back down (5 slip stitches in total)
Row 3: Ch 5, sl st in each ch back down (4 slip stitches in total)
Row 4: Ch 6, sl st in each ch back down (5 slip stitches in total) and slip stitch down the stem.

Simple tip of a fern

To increase the number of small pinna at the top of the fern, simply chain and slip stitch more rows as below.

Example Pattern for Intricate Tip of the Fern

Row 1: Ch 48
Row 2: Ch 6, sl st in each ch back down (5 slip stitches in total)
Row 3: Ch 5, sl st in each ch back down (4 slip stitches in total)
Row 4: Ch 4, sl st in each ch back down (3 slip stitches in total)
Row 5: Ch 5, sl st in each ch back down (4 slip stitches in total)
Row 6: Ch 6, sl st in each ch back down (5 slip stitches in total)
You then repeat these rows in reverse, Row 6 – Row 2 and slip stitch down the stem.

Adding more rows with the same technique gives a more intricate fuller tip.

The Lower Branches or Pinna

Each branch (pinna) can be made in different ways, to create a fern that is intricate and fuller looking you need to make the little leaves (pinnules) with a series of chain stitches and a slip stitch into the first chain to close it into a loop. This creates a new leaf. In order to space the leaves out a little bit for a more simple version, then you need to add an extra chain that you don’t work into before your slip stitch. The fern on the left does not have chain spaces between each leaf and the fern on the right does.

A Simple Leaf or Pinnule

Ch 6, sl st into the 2nd chain you made, repeat this until you have your desired length. Then repeat this for the opposite side of the branch, but adding a slip stitch into each leaf you already have, and a slip stitch into the chain 1 space.

An Intricate Leaf or Pinnule

Use the logic of the simple leaf, but vary the amount of chains throughout to change the size of the leaves. I used a combination of ch3, ch4, ch5, ch6, ch7 and ch8 to make the version on the left. You also want to slip stitch into the starting chain of each leaf to remove the chain 1 space.

Example Row of Simple Fern Lower Branch or Pinnule

Sl st 4 down the stem, ch 5, sl st into the 1st ch. (Ch 6, sl st into the 5th chain) Repeat x3 in total. Sl st into 3rd leaf, ch 5, sl st to 3rd leaf, sl st in the chain 1 space, sl st into the 2nd leaf, ch 5, sl st to 2nd leaf, sl st in the chain 1 space, sl st to 1st leaf, ch 5, sl st to 1st leaf, sl st to the stem. (7 little leaves in total)

Example Row of Intricate Fern Lower Branch or Pinnule

Sl st 5 down the stem, (ch 6, sl st into the 1st ch) Repeat x7 times in total. Sl st into the 6th leaf. (Ch 6, sl st into the stitch you started at, sl st into the previous leaf on the other side of the branch) Repeat x6 times in total. Sl st to the stem (13 little leaves in total).

You can use these example rows to guide you. Just simply decide how many leaves you want your branches to have, how spaced out you would like them and let your hook take you on an adventure.

I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to free form crochet. It is really liberating not following a pattern as you can control how you want the design to look. It also doesn’t matter if you make a wrong move as no ferns are the same anyway. Experiment and play around to see what you create.

I’ve been using this approach to crochet all the flowers I’ve made so far.

Please tag me in your makes on Instagram @southdevonstitches as I would love to see your designs. Remember if you would like the full pattern for the fern you can find it on Love Crochet.

Disclaimer: The links in this post include affiliate links. If you purchase products from these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ompompali says:

    I only just found you on instagram and am quite happy to have found out that you also have a blog. I prefer blogs to instagram, not quite so hectic. Your work is amazing especially the flowers you have made up to now. Really stunning and beautiful! So looking forward what you will come up with next! Not only did I find your blog but I also had the lovely surprise of finding a tutorial for the fern you made. Thank you so much! I must see if I can manage that one! Enjoy making your lovely work!

    Like

    1. Ahhhh what a lovely message. Thank you so much 😊 Yes, I agree Instagram is a bit busy and I’m finding it tricky to keep up on there. But I am pleased you found me and I hope I’ll be able to share more crochet patterns from this project in the future.

      Like

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