Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wrapped in Love: 5 weeks to go

Hi there crafters, how is your knitting going?

My apologies, I imagined posting much more often throughout the past few months, but it just hasn't happened. We did have a lovely Sunday session at the Brunswick Green a couple of weeks ago, maybe you were there? I am humbled by the effort everyone is going to, and I can tell you this tree is going to look very spectacular.

The project was originally supposed to tie in with the Go North Arts Festival, but it seems that is no longer going to be possible this year. However, I am still planning to get an article in the local paper and hopefully the knitting can stay up for at least a few days (I am hoping up to a week), so that as many locals as possible get a chance to see it.

I have a growing pile of gorgeous warm flavoured finished pieces - how is yours going? I am hoping to collect everything over the next few weeks.

If you're in Melbourne and work in the city, maybe I can pick it up one lunchtime? Or I can call over and pick it up sometime on the weekend of the 18-19th September? Or, if you need to post it let me know if you need me to email you my address.

I hope it's been fun, and I really look forward to seeing the finished result. Already what is coming through with the pieces I've received is the personality of each piece - each person has their own style and it's so interesting to see what people come up with.

There's 5 weeks now until the wedding! Craig and I had a busy weekend in Swan Hill last weekend, it was our last trip up there until the week of the wedding. Meanwhile I have been sewing napkins, napkins and more napkins...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wrapped in Love: next session Sun 15th Aug

An update on the next knitting crochet session: this will now be on this Sunday 15th Aug (NOT Sun 8th Aug as originally planned). Those details again...

Sunday 15th Aug
Brunswick Green, 313 Sydney Rd Brunswick
2 - 4pm

hope you can (still) make it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My creative space: knitting my thoughts

A sneak peek at something I'm working on for the wedding. It's been a week of progress, the band is booked, mum's friend and colleague will take some snaps, and I successfully exchanged my dress. It's all coming together...

Running parallel to the knitting is lots of napkin making, and maybe some table runners if I get the chance. I'm eagerly awaiting my parcel from the vintage sheet swap - I'm sure some of the fat quarters I get will have a temporary life as napkins, before they become a quilt.

Lots and lots more creative spaces over at kootoyoo.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wrapped in love: first arrivals and crochet hearts

Inside 12 weeks now!

In the past week I've started having that 'it's really happening' feeling. The wedding, of course, but also this project. Our invitations will go out (as soon as I can work out why the yellow printer head isn't working), and I've had a glimpse at what the tree will look like with the arrival of the first parcel. It's very exciting!

Here's a sample:

Now don't panic if you haven't started, there's plenty of time. But if you're starting to think timelines, I'll need all of your gorgeous creations by 17th September - that's 2 weeks before the wedding. Just something to keep in mind.

For some inspiration this week I've started exploring the love theme a bit more. I've thought about knitted hearts, about crocheted hearts, about poetry and quotes about love (and how to knit them). I'm working on something, but it's a bit of a secret...

In the meantime, what do you think of these pics I found?

Image from here

Image from here

Image from here

I even found these... there are actually a surprising number of knitted 'anatomical' hearts out there in cyberspace.

Image from here

Image from here

How's your knitting and crocheting going? Would you like to crochet a heart? I'm thinking lots and lots of hearts would look fantastic on the tree. In red or pink. There's a great tutorial here, but lots of others around too.

We could have a bit of a lesson at the next crafternoon - you should come! At the Brunswick Green again, on Sunday 8th Aug, at 2pm (edit: this session has been postponed until Sun 15th Aug, same time, same place).

Monday, July 5, 2010


I signed up to sooz's usefulness swap, and my swap parcels arrived this week - it's always exciting to get a parcel, but a parcel filled with hand-made goodness is something else.

There's something a bit anxiety-provoking about a swap. There's the will I/won't I get it finished anxiety. But worse is the performance anxiety. Have I put enough work into this? Can you tell it took me hours or does it just look slapped together? What if the stuff I get back is better/has more work put into it than my stuff?).

And yes, (sorry sooz), I submitted late (well, after the friday deadline but before monday's mail, as luckily sooz lives nearby. So technically still late). That's one of my potholders - I didn't even get a chance to take photos of anything else.

But it all worked out and I got some gorgeous stuff back, including a gorgeous bookmark from Nikki, a sweet gift pouch from Kym (great idea!), a empty wheatbag from Ellen (ditto great idea), an appliqued bag from Mands and a lovely soft cotton washcloth from Dee. I hope my contributions cut the mustard...

Wrapped in Love: knitalong wrap-up

Just under 13 weeks to go...

My apologies it's taken so long to get this post up. Thanks to everyone who came along on the 20th, it was a fun afternoon at the Brunswick Green. Surprisingly (or not), knitting at the pub in the inner north of Melbourne is certainly not edgy (but who's trying to be edgy?!). Who knew barmen in Brunswick can knit socks? Without a pattern.

"I just follow the instructions my mum writes me".

Aside from knitting barmen we had granny squaring, crochet flowering, french knitting (or knitting nancy - it's amazing the look of recognition you get when you bring start explaining knitting nancy to anyone older than about 50), lots of garter stitch and some very determined unravelling of an op-shop jumper...

We might even have another session - on Sunday 8 August. I'll book the corner spot this time!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

WrappedInLove: Let's knit & crochet this SUNDAY!

15 weeks to go...

Will you be in Melbourne this Sunday (20th June)?
It would be lovely to see you at the Brunswick Green for some knitting & crocheting, ESPECIALLY if you don't know how, or you're a bit rusty. Don't be scared, there'll be lots of friendly faces there ready to help!

So come along, from 2-4pm, Brunswick Green, 313 Sydney Rd.
Tram 19, get off at Dawson St (Glenlyon Rd) and walk north, just a little bit.

What to bring:
  • your enthusiasm (of course!)
  • some knitting needles (size 7 or 8 or 9mm) or a crochet hook (5 or 6mm)*
  • some yarn if you have some, but don't worry if you don't - I'll bring lots
  • some spare change to buy a beer or a coffee (or whatever you drink, just so we're not completely freeloading)
I really hope you can make it. I'll see you there!

*just a guide, not a rule! Any size is fine.

My creative space: Yellow!

It's all about the yellow lately...
This yellow piece is for the WrappedInLove guerilla knitting project. It's my first finished piece, made from some cotton I picked up for $1 a ball at the Yarn Barn.

At a measly $2, even more of a bargain was this six cup and saucer set from the Salvo's.
Made in japan, how lucky am I?!

they're not exactly yellow, but something that has been keeping me busy is these coasters for sooz's usefulness swap. Coasters are useful, aren't they? I'm well behind and they're due next week- eek! Beginning to wonder why I signed up for a swap at the same time as I'm trying to cover a tree with knitting... :-)

next, one of the best things about living in Melbourne's north - cheese pies from the local Lebanese bakery.

and finally, I must show you my awesome new fingerless gloves, a birthday present from she who has the most fabulous taste I know, the gorgeous Bec. Any guesses what colour?

wishing you a week of yellow goodness.
more creative spaces, as always, at Kirsty's

Nycole x

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My creative space

Finished bunting...

Finished scarf... (only a year late!)

And the beginnings of something for sooz's swap... and four hours on a v/line train tomorrow night to make some progress on the rest. Bring on the long weekend!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wrapped in Love: I Knit Brisbane

Hi knitters & crocheters!
Less than 17 weeks to go...

Some inspiration this week from Brisbane, where the 'I Knit Brisbane' project has ushered in the first days of winter (do they actually have winter in Brisbane?) by covering the city's landmarks in yarn. How amazing are these Brissie folk?!

Images from here, and here.

btw, you might be interested to know that 'Green Heart', or 'I heart BNE' is Brisbane City Council's environmental program, which has the target of being carbon neutral by 2026. They have all sorts of programs for households, schools and businesses in the Brisbane area. More info available from here.

I think it's really nice to see the link between healthy communities and a healthy environment.

Thanks Arathi & Geeta for sending through the links!

And don't forget the Melbourne crafting session is less than 2 weeks away!
Sunday 20th June, 2-4pm, Brunswick Green
For newbies there will be guaranteed friendly helpers to get you started!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wrapped in Love Project: Thinking about afterwards

20 weeks to go...

(I thought it better to count down than up - I think it gives more sense of the 'big day' approaching. Plus, it makes things a bit easier if I miss a week's post!)

You will have noticed that the project is now called Wrapped in Love: a journey through (guerilla) knitting. However, I've since found out there is a very special knitting project run through Arts & Crafts NSW, called 'Wrap with Love', which is all about volunteers knitting squares that are turned into blankets and sent to disadvantaged communities all around the world, including Australia. Since it began in 1992, the Wrap with Love project has sent more than 220,000 blankets to people in over 75 countries. Isn't that incredible?!

(Image source: Wrap with Love Inc.)

Since our project was born, I have been thinking about what happens to the knitting after the installation is taken down. There are a few options:
  • knitters can nominate to have their pieces returned
  • as long as they are not damaged, pieces can be turned into blankets, scarves or other items and donated to an organisation such as Wrap with Love
  • some combination of the above.
If there's a piece you'd really like back, you shouldn't feel any obligation to donate it. But if there is another you would like to donate then fantastic. There will be a bit of work involved in joining all the pieces together - and a workshop afternoon a month or so after the wedding will be a perfect opportunity to come together, have a bit of a celebration and prepare the knitting for it's next life. A mini reunion, if you will.

So if you are wondering "what happens to my knitting afterward?", now you know!

p.s. that reminds me, as you are knitting for the Wrapped in Love project, please affix a label to your pieces with your name - it is an important part of the installation that we fully recognize your hard work!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wrapped in Love: Week 2

Hi knitters,
Welcome to week 2!
I hope you are as excited as I am - what stared out as a bit of a crazy idea is actually going to happen. - how about that? Some people have even started knitting! Hooray.

Last week I put the word out for a new project name, and luckily had one enthusiastic response (thanks Rathi!). So, drumroll, our project is now officially called:

Wrapped in love:
a journey through (guerilla) knitting

I like it. It feels warm and cosy and a bit romantic. Like we're creating all these woolly hugs for the tree.

So what kind of woolly hug would you like to create?
Something bright? Or maybe something white?
Something stripy? Or maybe something lacy?
You could knit in garter stitch, or maybe a rib stitch. Or maybe you're more into crochet, and you are a big fan of granny squares? Maybe crochet flowers is more your thing?
Or maybe you'll be picking up the hook or needle for the very first time, or for the first time in a long time. Which is one of the most exciting things about this project for me.

If you've made a start, I'd love to see any pics of your work in progress (WIP), and if you don't mind maybe I could even post them up here as inspiration? Only if you don't mind.

Here is what I've been working on:

a garter stitch piece, and also a bit of crochet:

I quite like the idea of crocheting some text into one of my pieces. I've never done it before.

If you're in Melbourne, let's have a get-together on Sunday, 20th June, 2-4pm at the Brunswick Green. It's still a few weeks away, so I'll send out a reminder and an RSVP request a bit closer to the date, but pencil it in your calendar!

(and if you're around this Sunday 23rd, live in the northern suburbs of Melbs and would like to join a craft group, the Preston Brown Owls are meeting from 2-4pm. This is only the second time we've met, so it's a great time to join in. The Brown Owls blog has more info)

Happy knitting! And if you have any questions / ideas / comments, I'd really love to hear them. Just leave a comment on the post or send me an email.

Nycole xx

ps, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can read the original project intro and instructions here (you can also find the link in the sidebar, just over there -----> ;-)
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The miracle of Sister Florence

Well, she's really just called Florence, but now there's been a miracle Sister Florence seems to fit the bill. Only two more to qualify for sainthood.

Craig was up first on Wednesday morning. That's a pretty ugly keyring, sitting there on the bench, he thought to himself.

Poor Florence. Obama had had enough. This tank's not big enough for the both of us. Out you go. And that, was that. Or so we thought.

She was lying flat on her side when Craig found her, millimetres away from the edge of the bench. Looking like a cheap plastic keyring, evidently. I think he only put her in a bowl of water to show me she was dead (does that even make sense?), but her gills started moving.

Apparently, goldfish can survive for (potentially) hours out of water.* Who knew?

p.s. the tank really was too small for the both of them, as when I put her back in Obama immediately tried to flip her out again. So with a bit of effort, including getting a taxi back from the aquarium, we've upgraded to a new tank, twice the size, with a cover! With more room to move Obama now seems incredibly calm. And they're getting along, if not famously, then at least amicably. Best possible outcome, I reckon.

*probably best not to try this at home...

My creative space: all you need is bunting...

You will have to forgive me over the next few months, I suspect there will be a disproportionate number of posts here that are wedding-related, as we ramp up the intensity as we get closer to Oct 2. Some will be to do with the guerilla knitting project, but I am hoping there will be lots of other hand made elements to the wedding, too.

Most of these are just ideas floating around in my head at this stage, but one I have started to make some progress on is the bunting. Inspired by other gorgeous weddings profiled on Design Sponge, Once Wed and my very favourite photography blog + website, our labour of love (you really must check it out, the photos are to die for!), of course we just had to have bunting.

Not wanting to use (or buy) too much new fabric, I hit my stash for shades of orange, yellow, pink and red, and got to it...

My triangle template was 6.5 inches wide x 7.5 inches long, which includes the seam allowance. Because I tried to squeeze as many out of the fabric as possible, some ended up a little smaller than others, but hey, it's part of the charm, right?

Once they were all sewn, I trimmed the pointy bit so that they weren't too bulky (photos would be good about here!) and then turned them right side out, using a knitting needle to get the gently ease the point out. After ironing I trimmed the raw edge to be nice and clean. Next comes the binding...

It was my first chance to use my new Singer that my mum and my nan picked up at a yard sale in the country for $50 - which (don't be too jealous!) included the Eames era cabinet, plenty of thread, elastic, needles etc, AND a Singer skirt marker. Any guesses as to what that is? (the answer coming next post, partly as I don't have a photo...)

She's slow and steady, and that wins in the end, right?

Making bunting's a bigger job than I thought. Especially when you are making over 30 metres of it. As you go along, you start getting better at it, working out ways to save time, 'chunking' the work. Cutting, sewing, turning, ironing, trimming, binding (not much pinning in there, I must admit. I'm really bad at pinning!).

Almost there, about half the flags left to bind. Here's a sneak peek of where it will be hanging on the day (if you squint you might be able to imagine it!)

Should look good, don't you think?

For more creative spaces, pop on over to Kirsty's...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My creative space: Welcome to the guerilla knitting wedding tree

This is a project close to my heart.

As you may know, Craig & I are getting married this October.
Now, once you decide to get married, usually this involves planning a wedding of some description. And it can be very hard to get away from the wedding magazines and the white dress and the fancy cake and flowers. You start out with a clear head and a determination to do it your own way and as much as possible stay away from the wedding industry. But it's virtually impossible, and in moments of weakness (& sometimes clarity) you realise that no, you can't be the bride and cook for 100+ guests. It's just not a good idea.

So you take a deep breath and think about what's important about this day. And you go back to the notes from that brainstorming session you had way back when you convinced Craig we had to think about what we wanted this day to be, and the notes say 'handmade' and 'community' and 'participation'. And 'intergenerational dancing'(!)
Around the same time, I was reading a lot about guerilla knitting and yarn bombing (& even doing a little myself). I think what I love most about it is that, ultimately, it is a gift. It may be making a political statement or it may be just to make people smile, but someone has thought about it and spent their time and effort to make something that other people can enjoy. For no tangible reward. For people they most likely don't even know. I think the pure fact that this happens is enough proof that our economic system, which values competition and maximising personal utility at the expense of others, can never work in the long run. But that's another topic for another day...

So, what do you get when you cross handmade community participation with guerilla knitting?

You get this project, which aims to create a yarn art installation on a tree at our wedding, to celebrate the talent of our family and friends (and anyone out there who wants to participate, you will be welcomed with open arms!) and to create something that one person could not do alone, but that needs community, and is better for it.

Here is the tree. As you can see we have a big job ahead!

It also aims to tie in with the Go North Arts Festival, which is held in the Swan Hill region in late October. So if you would like to join in but you won't be at the wedding, your work will also be exhibited at the festival, which is a great chance to visit Swan Hill.

The 2010 festival theme is 'Journey'.

I will be following the project here, at least weekly, so send me your photos and your thoughts and I will attempt to record how things are going. I will also feature stories from guerilla knitters around the world, knitting (& crochet) tips, and whatever else evolves along the way. I am excited to see what will unfold.

The task for week 1 is: a new project name! Tentatively, this is the guerilla knitting wedding tree project. But that's a bit long and boring. Any ideas? Knitted Journey? A marriage of yarn? River red gum yarn story? Something else? Send 'em through, I have a prize for the best one.

I have kind of cheated this week and made this my creative space. Maybe if you have landed here via Kirsty's you might like to follow along? I would really like that...

If you've never been here before and you don't know who Kirsty is, then you're missing out. Every week she hosts 'my creative space', and 150+ crafty people play along and show the rest of us what creative things they've been up to. Go check it out!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My creative space: can't...get...ahead

Woken by the garbage truck and realized we hadn't put our bins out. Again.
A mad dash down the stairs, a quick check to see if they'd gone past our house yet. No. Hurrah!
Quick, back to the courtyard, move those bins, quick, quick. Half asleep.
Bins tangled in hose. Try to move it and it snaps off the tap. Water gushing everywhere.
Down the lane, bumpy, noisy ride over the cobblestones. Waking the neighbours. I tense my jaw as if that will make it quieter (why do I always do that?).
On the kerb. Success!
Should be happy but instead I'm just crabby I missed that extra hour in bed!
Stayed up too late watching 27 Dresses on TV. And making this little save the date postcard for our wedding (we visited the venue on the weekend and I took this pic)...
...and hence I wasn't doing all the jobs I should be doing. Like trying to work out where all my socks have disappeared to! They must be somewhere.

Rode to work in odd socks (which if I am completely honest I have probably been doing for the past 6 months). But this was the first day I'd ridden in odd gloves as well. I think that might be a bad sign.

Hanging out for a weekend at home to get on top of it all. Hopefully by the time I get to Brown Owls on Sunday I'll be a domestic goddess. But somehow I doubt it.

To see some true crafters, head on over to Kirsty's.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happy birthday SF

Again, I'm a bit behind - admittedly the gift was late, but not as late as others (and that's not even mentioning those still in progress - eek!). But I had to wait until it was safely received before I could show you:

It's made from lovely fine Empire 4 ply merino from Morris & Sons, who have been in their Melbourne store now for about a year. Great friendly staff work there and they are always interested in whatever project you have on the go. I have managed to go in there without spending money, but not often.

Anyhow, my gorgeous and talented writer friend is the recipient of this cushion. She has a burgeoning writing career, even being published in the Age newspaper last week! Check out her blog here. Happy birthday Sare!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Guerilla knitting: getting in on the act

Spotted at a train station in Melbourne's north...

(I also have a bigger project in the pipeline - watch this space)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My creative space: my first quilt

This creative space is a bit retrospective. And the reason for this is also the reason this blog has been a bit sketchy lately, and why the posts that have appeared have been light-on in the photo department. You see, some less fortunate souls decided our house was an easy target, and late one January afternoon decided to help themselves to our tv, laptop, ipod, camera and worst of all my touring bike, which is like a dear friend.

When someone steals your electrical stuff it's irritating, but when they steal your bike it's different. It's personal. Which means that I am now constantly on the look-out, making a quick assessment of every bike that goes past to see if it's mine (what I will actually do if I see it, I haven't quite thought through. Let's cross that bridge when we come to it...).

The point of all this is that I have a new camera (a Canon G11, to replace the brand new Canon G11 that disappeared). And so I can finally show you my new(ish) quilt. Ready?

I really love this quilt. Some of the fabric is opped, some I picked up new but heavily discounted, and a couple of pieces were worth paying full price for.

You may notice I started hand stitching the quilting (in a sashiko pattern). Knowing this was a big task when I took it on, I persisted - for a while... then (yawn), I grew a little bored. The quilt was relegated to a guilt inducing pile on top of my bedroom drawers. It taunted me, "you never finish anything", "come on, stop starting new projects and just finish me already". So I did.

The hand quilting went out the window, and within a few hours I'd stitched in the ditches and attached the (cheaters) store-bought binding. But it was finished. Well... sort of. Really I should unpick the handstitching, but it seems a bit of a waste. And it's a nice reminder that aspiration is great, but sometimes you get more satisfaction when you respect your limitations...

For loads more creativity, launch off from Kirsty's.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

do shopping centres scare you?

Today I watched a program about anxiety, phobias and physical responses. There was a woman who had agoraphobia, and had barely left her house in years. One of the treatment methods was for a therapist to 'expose' her to situations that triggered her anxiety. There was footage of them in a shopping centre. She was training her brain to adjust to the environment.
Now, not for a minute am I suggesting agoraphobia or other anxiety disorders are not serious. Quite the opposite. I think the more sensitive people in our society, the ones who are more often prone to mental health issues, act as our societal barometer. They detect when things aren't quite right.
My point is, in many ways, this woman was right. A shopping centre should induce panic. The fact that they don't, and we are building more and more of them, is the real cause for concern.

image credit: avlxyz

Do shopping centres scare you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Creative Space

today it is anticipation of creativity... for I just ordered Jinny Beyer's 'Designing Tessellations'. If you are interested in pattern design (and let's face it, that probably means you are a bit of a maths nerd), this is a really excellent book. It has lots of detail about all the possible combinations of repeating patterns, which can each be traced back to a unique building block. Once you know the fundamentals, a whole world of pattern design opens up before you...

If you are interested in this book, I can tell you there's a copy in the Brunswick library in Melbourne, which has spent a fair proportion of the past year at my place. Borrow, renew, renew, overdue, return, borrow, renew... soon I will have my very own copy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Drawing Out 2010

RMIT in Melbourne is hosting this conference. I would love to go, but alas - I have other things to spend money on at the moment, like food and rent! Maybe I can sneak in...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

getting back into the game...

no words today... except to say I love this photo... the contradiction of it. life and growth and regeneration versus rust and decay.
it's a gentle ease back into this blogging caper...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

look what I found

just had to show you these - still in the box!
they are in the cupboard at my Nan's - I think they belonged to her mother, my great-grandmother.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

flinders street, platform 4, 8pm

snapped this into the sun this evening. Love the sun bouncing off the metal tracks...

Monday, January 4, 2010

soldier on...

an ugly accident with a saw on Dec 23rd (last minute hurry making chrissie presents - not recommended!). Seven stitches later and christmas 2009 meant no swimming, awkward showers with a plastic bag and no crafting (but hey, I also escaped doing the washing up, so there are benefits!).
Back into it now, stitches are out (DIY - I'm quite proud of myself!) and back to the crochet - this one will be a cushion cover. It's time to resign myself to the fact that I don't have the patience for afghans.
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