Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

When I came back to Melbourne I started going to meet-ups of Yarn Corner, the group that taught me how to crochet and yarn bomb.

I was just getting enthusiastic about yarn bombing again when a notice went up on their facebook wall saying that they urgently needed volunteers to yarn bomb a tree at the Royal Melbourne Show. The group had agreed ages ago to yarn bomb a tractor so most of the core members were busy making their pieces for that.

I raised my hand. Why not? It would be good practice for me. I can knit a few squares, I commented on the post. By squares I meant shapes with four sides of unequal length, such is the inconsistent nature of my tension when crocheting.

The measurements for the tree came in. 4 m long and 1.8 m circumference. Four people had volunteered to make the piece. Two piped up straight away to say they would do 1 m x 1.8 m so I said I would do the same.

In my enthusiasm I didn’t stop to think quite how big a piece that is. It could wrap round a whole person. When the enormity of the task finally dawned on me, I quickly pushed my worries aside. At the last Yarn Corner meet up I’d learned how to loom, which was faster than knitting or crocheting so it shouldn’t be a problem.

In two evenings I’d already loomed a 1 m long strip. I was pleased. I could make loads of them then stitch them together to make a vertically striped piece. I measured the width of my strip. 5 cm. So if I did 5 cm in two evenings, I could do 10 cm in four and 180 cm in… bollocks. 72 evenings. I didn’t have 72 evenings. I had 21.

I switched to crochet, which would allow me to make large panels instead of strips. This time I tried to be scientific about it from the outset. Single crochet would involve fewer yarn over hook movements but double crocheted rows had more space between them. I predicted that single crochet would be faster since there would be fewer movements required to create every stitch.

I was wrong. With each subsequent row the tension became tighter so the rate at which my crocheted panel was growing became slower and slower.

I revised my yarn bombing pledge and reduced it to 1 m x 80 cm, less than half of what I’d originally planned.

I began making another panel in double crochet this time, and bought chunky yarn to make a third panel. These two sections grew much more quickly than the single crocheted panel, but still I had to take a ball of yarn and a crochet hook with me everywhere I went and add to my piece it at every possible opportunity.

I crocheted on the tram on the way to work and during break times in the staff room. In those few foggy minutes between getting up and making my first cup of tea, I added another couple of rows to my panels.

I made a few rookie errors in the production of my yarn bomb: I ran out of chunky wool and had to buy some more. I bought the exact same yarn but from a different dye lot, which turned out to be markedly different in colour.

When I sewed the sections together, I started at the top and worked my way down to the bottom. Although each of the sections came out at just over 1m in length, when I stitched them together, none of them joined up neatly at the bottom. Sometimes there was a huge difference in apparent lengths. I had to unpick a lot of the stitching and start again, but this time I secure the two ends before joining the two sections in the middle.

I finally finished my piece and handed it in.That’s it in the photo above. I’m pretty pleased with it. On the tram on the way home after dropping it off at Yarn Corner HQ, I had no idea what to do with my hands. I’ll need to get started on a new yarn bombing project straight away!

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5 thoughts on “Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

  1. It’s a beautiful rhubarb and custard of a piece – well done for getting it finished on time (I wouldn’t have managed a piece half that size even!) I’d love to see a pic of the tree when it’s bombed 🙂 Or the tractor the others were yarn bombing….

    • Thanks Rachel 🙂 I’ll miss the show because I’m visiting home for a few weeks but I’m sure the Yarn Corner folks will take plenty of photos of the tree and tractor. I’ll see if I can either get some or post links to them. I’ve seen some photos of pieces for the tractor and they look amazing.

  2. Pingback: Stitching Up City Square 2013 – The Work Begins | Helen Caldwell

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