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!
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