Introduction: Inside Out Woodturning X Crochet

About: In which I turn the thoughts from my head into objects in my hands

I recently attempted inside-out woodturning for the first time. It's a technique where you cut a shape into a set of blocks and then flip them so that the cut pattern is on the inside. With no goal or plan, I eventually just ended up with a thin walled ornament shape.

The idea to fill in the open faces with needlework didn't occur to me until I saw the knitting and crochet contest. I recently received a dremel set and just acted on the sudden stroke of inspiration. I eventually popped fairy lights into the final product to turn it into a mini lamp as well.

Overall, I'm happy with my result and enjoyed the process of figuring things out as I went :) It's a simple mixed media creation, to combine wood and fiber.


  • woodturning lathe
  • woodturning gouges (I used a roughing gouge, spindle gouge, parting tool, and scraper)
  • woodturning chuck
  • wood glue
  • hot glue
  • tape and/or hose clamps
  • Dremel or similar rotary tool, plus bits
  • pin vise and drill bit
    • The size of your drill bit depends on how big your woodturned shape is. You want there to be plenty of holes around the windows so that you have places for the crochet to connect.
    • I used a 1.8mm drill bit
  • crochet hook and thread
    • The size of hook and thickness of thread to use depend on the size of the holes you make in your woodturned shape.
    • I used size 20 thread with a #9 crochet hook

Step 1: Inside Out Woodturning: Part 1

The basic premise of inside out woodturning is that you cut a large block into a few pieces, rotate each piece so the insides face out, cut a design into this, rotate and glue the inside faces back inside (but now they have a cutout), and finally finish turning the outside. Carl Jacobson has an excellent video explaining how to do this; please use this as reference.

(apologies that I don't have many pictures for the initial bit of the turning process; didn't plan to do a tutorial when I started ;-;)

I started with a 4-1/2" square x 6" block of walnut and cut it into four 1-1/8" square x 6" blocks. I then rotated the blocks so that the cut faces now faced outward and put a drop of hot glue at the ends before gluing all blocks together. Make sure you keep the same order of the blocks so that you put them together in the correct order too! You can write numbers on the ends as reference. I wrapped the ends with masking tape as secondary protection, and then even used a hose clamp as final security. With the blocks secured, I slowly cut a cavity shape until I was satisfied, and then sanded to 320 grit and oiled it.

I used a chisel to tap the hot glued blocks apart and rotated the blocks so that the cavity shape faced inward before gluing them in place. I wrapped the ends with masking tape to clamp the blocks together as the glue dried.

Step 2: Inside Out Woodturning: Part 2

Once the glue was fully dry, I mounted everything back on the lathe and carved the exterior shape. First make a tenon that you can mount into a chuck though, so that the clamping can further prevent the blocks from ripping apart.

Because we want to add crochet to this, keep in mind that the edges should be thin so you can drill through and manipulate a crochet needle in the holes (I kept mine in the ~3mm thickness range).

Once you're happy with the shape, sand and oil before parting it off the lathe!

Step 3: Drilling Holes

You'll need holes along the periphery of the windows so that you can connect your thread to the wood. Use your rotary tool to start these, and then a pin vise to make the final size.

The bits I used come from this amazon set; they're standard shapes that you can find anywhere for rotary tools though. These are only single cut since they were super cheap, but I'd recommend you pick a double cut set if you can since they'll last longer and cut better.

I decided the hole spacing arbitrarily based on what looked visually appealing (close together so that there would be plenty of anchoring points for the crochet, but not too close that the wood would be too fragile). The holes ended up being ~5mm spaced apart, which I marked with a sharpie first.

I used a cone shaped bit to make pilot holes (Important! Otherwise bits will wander and mess things up) before using a small spherical bit to plunge in and widen it. Finally I used my pin vise to widen the dremeled hole to its final size of 1.8mm (arbitrarily chosen since it worked out). The 1.8mm hole worked well for my #9 crochet hook and size 20 crochet thread.

I recommend you test out the hole size and spacing with some crochet before you go around drilling everywhere. Also, blow away all sawdust! Otherwise it'll dirty your thread.

Step 4: Anchoring the Thread and "single Chain" Stitch

First, just poke the end of the thread through the first hole and tie it in a loop to secure the thread to the wood. Poke the crochet hook through that loop as shown in the first picture. Then wrap the thread around your hook tip and pull this through to make a single chain stitch. Here's another resource on how to do a single chain stitch. Do one more single chain stitch, and then you're ready for the next step!

Step 5: Creating a Rim: "single Crochet" and "slip" Stitches

To create the base rim for the rest of the crochet to anchor onto, we'll be using the single crochet stitch. To do this, poke the hook through your next hole and wrap the thread around the end of the hook. Pull the thread through the hole, wrap some more thread around the end of the hook, and pull that through to complete the stitch. Follow the pictures above for guidance! Based on the spacing of my holes, I found that I could do a single chain stitch in between the single crochet stitches in each hole as I went around all the holes.

To connect the last stitch back to the beginning, I used a simple slip stitch. Basically, insert your hook into the beginning, wrap the thread around the hook, and pull this through all the loops on your needle.

Step 6: Second Row: "double Crochet" Stitch

From your last slip stich, do three single chain stitches. Now wrap the thread around your hook, poke it adjacent to the base of where your slip stitch is, and do a double crochet stitch: wrap and pull through some thread, then wrap and pull thread through the first two loops on your hook, and finally warp and pull thread through all remaining loops on your hook. It's confusing to explain in words so follow the pictures above and check out the link.

Step 7: Second Row: "double Crochet" Stitch VARIATION

I actually did a variation of the double crochet stitch (I don't know the English name for it TT) because multiple double crochet stitches didn't taper off enough; they created too much bulk instead. This variation is similar to two consecutive double crochet stitches. For the second row, I alternated this variation stitch and a single chain stitch.

To do this variation, wrap the thread around your hook and poke it into the first row as explained before. Again wrap and pull thread through the first two loops on your hook, BUT THIS TIME SKIP THE FINAL "wrap and pull through all loops" AND INSTEAD, wrap and poke the hook through the next adjacent stitch in the first row. Wrap and pull thread through this hole like you're doing another double crochet stitch; now you should have 4 total loops on your hook. Wrap and pull thread through the first two, and finally the last loops on your needle to finish this stitch.

Once you're finished with the round, end with a slip stitch like before

Step 8: Third Round: "double Crochet" Stitch

For the final round, I just did a double crochet stitch (no single chain stitches) in between every two "variation double crochet stitch" in the previous round. Again the round was ended with a slip stitch. After cutting the thread (left a ~2" tail), I used a needle to thread the tail through the crochet to hide it.

Step 9: Extra Embellishments

This was a bit of a random experiment: I drilled extra holes in the wood and used my needle to make X shapes in those holes. In terms of how to make the X shapes, I essentially did embroidery cross stitches. It's hard to tell you what exactly to do since the hole arrangement might differ for you, so just think about how to route your needle to make the X shape and remember that only the exterior matters, since no one can see inside the ornament.

And that's a wrap! I hope this inspires you to experiment more with mixing different materials or techniques; enjoy~

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