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Tag Archives: crochet

A nautical theme

For Mum’s birthday this year, I had something stashed and ready to roll – a little cross-stitched lighthouse. I made it for Mum years and years ago, then put it ‘somewhere safe’ and forgot about it completely. I found it again when I moved house last year, and this time, I actually remembered its existence when planning for gifts. Add a vintage frame and voila!

lighthouse

I also wanted to crochet something cute to go with it – Dad already got the whales, so for Mum, I went looking for seal and sea lion patterns. I eventually found one on Ravelry, from Sandsteel Designs. Some of the results looked…variable, but the pattern had some extremely clever shaping. I had faith that if I got the gauge right, I could pull it off. I fished out a variegated greyish-brown cotton, sat myself in front of the TV and got stitching. Result? Adorability!

baby seal

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Additional! I have an excessive amount of Christmas craft to blog, so stay tuned for an upcoming four-part post full of holiday cheer, gamer craft, mysteries and other such signifiers of the season.

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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Craftiness, Deviousness

 

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Christmas cactus

A few months ago, I posted my Dad’s birthday present: a set of potted amigurumi cactus. He liked it so much, I stitched up a matching set for Christmas!

The pattern is by Planet June – I’m always impressed with how distinctive and simple her designs are.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Craftiness

 

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Soft kitty, warm kitty

My Dad has an ever-growing collection of craft in his office, which impresses (or bemuses) many of his colleagues. One of the colleagues (who was particularly admiring of the craft) is leaving, so for her going-away gift, I was commissioned to make some extremely cute crochet. She’s a cat person, so I stitched up this kitty:

The pattern was designed by jaravee, and the specs called for skinny yarn and a 1.75mm crochet hook. Instead, I used a 3.5mmm hook, worsted weight yarn, and ended up with a kitty roughly twice the listed size. It still wound up pretty cute, though!

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Craftiness

 

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It is not hyperbolic to say that this is AWESOME!

Last week was the launch of the RiAus Adelaide Reef – a satellite of the worldwide Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. The project combines science, craft, and environmentalism, using crochet to replicate the hyperbolic geometry of corals. More than 250 crafters contributed to the Adelaide Reef, including me and my Mum.

Mum and I have been busily crocheting coral over the past few months, playing with different patterns and textures. It was a great de-stashing experience; we made coral from donated wool, random balls of yarn and even unravelled jumpers. By the closing date for submissions, we had a pretty good pile of coral on our hands:

However, once we saw the reef in person, our pile of crochet looked very tiny indeed! The coral fills an entire room; it’s climbing walls, sprawling along shelves, growing in the corners, spiralling around pillars and dripping from the ceilings. It is absolutely STUNNING:

There was so much going on, it was a serious challenge to find the pieces we’d made! I’m so pleased to have been part of this project – it really is a massive collection of collaborative AWESOME!

The exhibition is on until September 7th at The Science Exchange (55 Exchange Place, Adelaide). It’s open 10am until 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and until 8pm on Friday. Entry is free, exhibit is spectacular, and if you’re local, you should definitely check it out!

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Craftiness

 

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Crocheting secret dinosaurs

When my brother was five, dinosaurs were his favourite thing ever. He recently turned twenty-one, so for his birthday gift, I decided to reprise of the prehistoric themes of his youth.

These cute dinosaurs were crocheted from a set of excellent designs by Planet June. I had to stitch them in secret to avoid ruining the surprise, so the process was somewhat slow and laborious. This was exacerbated by the fact that they are complex little critters – I’ve never done amigurumi with so much sewing up – but the patterns were really clear and they were so worth the effort!

The first dinosaur I attempted was the Stegosaurus:

I was expecting to have trouble attaching the spines, but they turned out to be really simple. The legs, however, were much more of a challenge – he is a little wobbly in his footing, but I managed to learn and improve for the other dinosaurs.

Next up was the Brachiosaurus, whose shaping was pleasantly simple and incredibly cute:

And lastly, the Triceratops. The neck shaping was definitely challenging – I had to unravel and re-stitch it a couple of times before I realised how it was supposed to work – but I got there in the end.

Supplementary to these crocheted dinosaurs, I also gave my brother a T-Rex biscuit cutter and an adorable plush Wee Rex from Dinosaur Comics. Why change a winning formula?

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Craftiness

 

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How to make a knitted rotunda

Last month, I showed off some of my work from Knitted City – a multi-artist ephemeral public art installation. While the project has now been dismantled, I really wanted to put together a process blog, from the concept to the construction – it was a massive job!

Of all the sites we were working on for Knitted City, the rotunda was the one that really captured my imagination:

I wanted to do something big for this project, and I thought that knitting sleeves for all the pillars would be appropriately impressive. Once I’d done the measurements, my suspicions were confirmed – eight pillars, two meters tall, fifty centimeters diameter. I was in for a challenge.

After a bit of dithering, I decided to make sleeves that looked lacy, but without the challenge of lace knitting (by knitting with 8 ply wool, in stocking stitch, on 12.75cm needles). I wanted to pick up the colours in the Rotunda’s ornamentation, so I bought a few different yarns and tested the colours on-site. This one was the best match:

Next step was to knit a swatch, and find out how many stitches to cast on per pillar. This was my very first attempt, knitted with massive wooden needles, while sitting on the steps of the Rotunda:

After this, I knew how wide I needed to make them, but the length was still a mystery; I couldn’t get an accurate measurement of the knitting unless I stretched it out to the right width. For my first attempt, I pinned the sleeve onto a dressmakers’ board, checking every twenty rows or so, until it looked about right:

This gave me an approximate idea of the length, but I still wasn’t sure I had it quite right. So for my second attempt, I tried for a site test at the rotunda, equipped with a measuring tape and a big bag of pegs:

As it turned out, I was about thirty rows short, so I was very glad that I double-checked before casting off!

Once I had this prototype sleeve, I just had to replicate it seven more times. All-in-all, it was about eight square meters of knitting in just over a month. On its own, this constitutes a fair challenge. However, I am clearly a glutton for punishment; I’d already decided that each sleeve needed to be covered in flowers.

Therefore, concurrently, I was crocheting eight columns’ worth of flowers. With around 300 flowers to make, the design was necessarily very simple (Row 1: 10 sc in a ring. Row 2: [hdc, 2 dc, hdc] in same st, sl st, repeat 4 times):

Each pillar had different colour scheme: sky blue, cornflower blue, lavender, dark purple, red, pink, magenta and a sort of petrol-swirly colour. For centres, I used gold, star-shaped split pins – much faster and simpler than my initial concept of sewing beads into the centre of each flower!

I would have seriously crashed and burned with these flowers if it weren’t for my Mum – she relearned to crochet so she could help me out with the seemingly endless stream of hand-stitched petals. After weeks of relentless crochet assault, we ended up with this massive floral pile:

Once I had all of these elements, it was time to put them together. At first, I tried pinning a sleeve to the dressmakers’ board again, and arranging the flowers on top:

While this method worked to measure the knitting, it soon became apparent that this was not the way to attach the flowers. However, there was an answer; turns out that our old screen door was the perfect-sized frame. We ripped off the screen, pegged the knitting out to the correct dimensions and flipped the door over. Then, I used the holes in the door to arrange the flowers, looping the ends of the flowers under the knitting to hold them temporarily in place:

Then, I flipped the door back over and used a crochet hook to sew the flowers into place (which was much easier than constantly rethreading needles for hours on end). Each flower was attached at five points and knotted securely into place – if it’s public art, it has to be pretty theft-proof.

This whole process was hell on the spine, hip joints, elbows, knees and wrists; I was bent over double for a whole lot of hours to get everything assembled..

It was one of the one of the most gruelling craft experiences I’ve ever had – until the installation day, that is…

We installed the rotunda on a Thursday. On Wednesday, it poured with rain while we installed at one of our other sites. On Thursday, the day dawned bright and clear, and I had a head cold. This was strike one. The wind was blasting up off the Torrens River, so we were chilled to the bone, despite the sunshine. Strike two.

The third strike? FIVE STRAIGHT HOURS of crocheting the sleeves to the rotunda. Earlier, I’d decided that crochet would be the best was to attach the sleeves. It was easier than threading needles, and super-simple to dismantle once the project was over, plus robust enough that it wouldn’t accidentally unravel. I was expecting it to only take a couple of hours, but I was frozen, ill, and I could only reach the right height by sitting on the handrail of the rotunda. This put the working space (where I had to crochet) at about chin height. By the end of the day, my arms were so fatigued that I could barely lift them.

Finally, though, it was finished. I threaded cable ties through the sleeves, top and bottom, and it was done:


I was really pleased that the work managed to stay up for the whole festival. In fact, on the last weekend it stayed very far up – some possibly drunk and certainly very tall people thought it would be funny to push the sleeves all the way up the pillars. When I arrived to dismantle, they were all scrunched at the top:

But I figured, if that’s the worst they can do to my work, I’m onto a winner.


 
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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Craftiness

 

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Adelaide: you’ve been bombed.

Over the past Many, Many Months, I have been working on a project called Knitted City. It’s part of Adelaide’s COME OUT Festival, a big kid-friendly art extravaganza, and the basic premise was to get a bunch of artists together and yarnbomb Adelaide.

After months of grant applications, council-permission wrangling, and some hardcore Repetitive Strain Injuries, the project has finally been installed. Five artists have yarnbombed three sites across out fair city: a rotunda in Elder park, just by the river Torrens; a courtyard between the university and the Lion Arts Centre; and a stretch of North Terrace, between King William Street and the War Memorial.

If you’re local, GO AND SEE! free public art, knitted wonderment, this week only! Some fairly amazing stuff has been created for this project; externalized organs for a statue of Venus, giant blue poles knitted out of electrical wire, a massive doily ball and a vine-strewn lamppost. I’ll post photos of these later, with the permission of the artists who created them; in the meantime, let me show you what I made…

At the Lion Arts Centre, I bombed a tree with crocheted bands of flowers. it was raining solidly throughout the installation, and by the time everything was sewn on, I was soaked through.

At North Terrace, I cable-tied strings of bell-shaped flowers to lamp-posts. They’re fairly subtle, but quite sweet.

And then, at the Rotunda, I decided (foolishly) to knit sleeves for each of the eight supporting pillars, and cover them with flowers. That’s about eight square meters of knitting and 300 crocheted flowers. It took FOREVER to make and five hours to install. I’m clearly insane, but nonetheless, it’s turned out very pretty indeed:

The yarn for the sleeves was carefully selected to match the green trim on the Rotunda, and each piece was carefully measured and knitted exactly to spec. It’s the most site-specific thing I’ve ever created, and it really deserves a whole process blog to itself (which I will write next month, after the madness has ebbed…)

EDIT – process blog is now written!

Each pillar has a different-coloured set of flowers, ranging from blues through purples to reds and pinks:

I’m more proud of this than anything I’ve done before.


 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Craftiness

 

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