Tag Archives: knitting

Marking my territory

When I moved house earlier this year, it took a while before it really felt like home. One of the things that aided the transition was this:

(Please ignore the weeds. We do, after all.)

This yarnbomb is on the tree outside my house; it’s more “me” than any other yarnbomb I’ve ever put up. I used leftover scraps of neutral-toned Noro, a gorgeous Japanese luxury yarn – most of the scraps were pure wool, but some were also wool/silk blend. The colours are beautiful, and the all-natural fibres are well suited to longer-term installations (which I intend this to be!) thanks to their breathability.

This yarnbomb has been through one inspection so far – the rental agent noted, upon leaving, that there was a “scarf on that tree”. We agreed that yes, there was a scarf on the tree, which could be removed easily if requested. With no such request forthcoming, this yarnbomb hereby stakes my claim. Home is where the craft is.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Craftiness


Tags: ,

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.


Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Craftiness


Tags: , ,

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.


Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Craftiness


Tags: , , ,

Beware of the fish

Over the last several months, I have been slogging away at a piece for Knitting Nancy Dives In – an exhibit for the Adelaide Fringe Festival, which has about 30 artists making an underwater world with knitting and crochet. I decided early on that my contribution to this project would be a black devil angler fish. (they’re the scary dudes with the glowy lures and the pointy teeth.)

I found a pattern in Hansi Singh’s amazing book, Amigurumi Knits, which pretty much blew me away. It was full of stuff I’d never tried before, like grafting and short rows, but I was determined to conquer it.

After a while, I had this:

And I had realised two things: (1) the shaping of the body was completely amazing, and short rows were my new religion, and (2) there would be only be three seams to sew up. THREE SEAMS. In this entire fish? Magic.

So after a little more effort and swearing, I had this:

By this stage I’d adapted the pattern a few times. In the original, the glowy lure is knitted in a creamy white wool. In my version, it was crocheted out of glow-in-the-dark jelly string, bought from a museum gift shop. Then, I designed some wire headgear for my evil fishy – partly to deal with the added weight of the lure, and partly so the teeth would be wired and poseable. (It’s the shiny copper mess in the bottom right.)

And finally, after swearing a LOT more, picking up too many stitches, almost running out of yarn, wriggling the headgear into place, sewing up the mouth and carefully blunting a fishing hook, I had this:

my gorgeously creepy, glow-in-the-dark, deep-sea denizen, the Black Devil Angler Fish.




Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Craftiness


Tags: , , ,

Happy Birthday (to me)

It’s now officially a year since I started blogging, and I’m quite chuffed that I’m still going! It’s been a fantastic way for me to keep track of what I make – there’s a lot more of it than I realised – and also hopefully a way to show off my craft to people who are not my Mum (who, don’t get me wrong, is a fantastic crafter. She’s just not huge on the swear words).

I fully intend to continue as I have begun; the upcoming year will have much in the way of excitement, including Knitting Nancy, Knitted City, Format Festival (check us out on page 12!) and more stitched profanity. Of course.

*     *     *

In any case, to celebrate the annniversary of this Crafty and Devious blog, here are some shots from our latest Radical Craft outing, the Ninja Picnic, held a few weeks ago in Botanic Park:




Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Craftiness, Deviousness


Tags: , , ,


Part One:

Once upon a time, my Mum knitted a beautiful, soft, baby blue, baby-sized scarf; it was made for my brother when he was really little. However, my brother is no longer really little. In fact, he is just about six feet tall.

Soemthing admirable about my brother is this: he is not a hoarder. (I myself am a hoarder, chronically so; as such, I admire ruthlesness in others.)

In any case, my brother decided that he no longer needed a scarf sized to fit a very small child.

My mother, from whom I inherited my propensity to hoard, did not really want to throw this scarf away. However, she shares my respect for ruthlessness in others, so we hit upon a compromise. I would yarnbomb it.

And so I did.


Part Two:

We had another Ninja Knit-In yesterday; quite a subdued one, but determined despite the rain. I was completely set on bombing one of those loop-de-loop bike racks, and I brought a couple of pre-knit pieces in different widths, to make sure I’d be able to do it.

One of my yarn tags was much too narrow; the next (another ex-scarf, but much larger, and done in moss stitch) was much too wide. But the little baby blue scarf? It was just the right width to sew onto the loop-de-loop bike rack.

And so I did:

*      *      *

I’m not quite sure where I was going with this. But I though I’d share it anyway, this strange,  subversive, nostalgic, everything-old-is-new-again…thing.

It was still there when I went into work today, which made me smile ludicrously.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 13, 2010 in Craftiness


Tags: ,

Knitting. Ninja-style.

Holy cow! Ninja knitting was so much more awesome than I even imagined it would be. Around 25 people came to knit and crochet, stitching by the light of the fairy lanterns in the incredibly awesome Reading Room.

After dark fell, we took our stitching to the streets.

Check out the full set of photos at Radical Craft Adelaide’s shiny new flickr group!


Posted by on September 16, 2010 in Craftiness


Tags: , ,