A frivolous idea, I know, and I’m not sure what practical use a crocheted banana cover has, although the pear and plum covers might cushion the fruit from bruising. I made these as a birthday present for my housemate. She already had a crocheted apple cover so these were to add to to her fruit cover collection.
I got the banana cover pattern from The Indigo Phial. I accidentally made mine two stitches narrower which meant I had to pick out a slim banana to fit it.
I adapted Planet June’s pear amigurumi pattern to make the pear cover. When I got as far round 17 (36 stitches) I switched to Indigo Phial’s apple cosy pattern and took off from round 18 (also 36 stitches, so it’s basically a franken-fruit-cover.
Finally, in my most adventurous fruit cover yet, I started out following Jan Bass’s crocheted plum pattern but deviated from this and winged it quite a bit to make it into a plum cover. When I was about half-way through the pattern, I decided to go out and buy a plum so that I could check I was on the right track. It turns out plums are not in season but passionfruits are plentiful and a similar size, so I bought one of those. I saw straight away that if I followed the pattern to the end, even including a hole to put the fruit in, the cover would still be too small. So I experimented and after a few false starts, I extended the cover and added a flap to close over the fruit. The result is somewhat nappy-like but I hope the cute button compensates for that.
If the Sketchbook Project Library is popping up anywhere near you, then you have to visit. It’s in Melbourne at the moment and I went to have a look at the weekend.
It’s a travelling library of artists’ sketchbooks. Every artist involved in the project started with the same blank sketchbook which they could then write, draw, paint, paste in, cut out, as they wanted.
The books we saw were absolutely beautiful. Some were travel journals, others filled with preliminary sketches to prepare for a larger work; some had a narrative, others were collections of random images and writing. It was amazing to be able to touch these books and leaf through them, to feel the paper that was almost solid with paint or to unfold pages that had been cut out to make intricate patterns. Getting such a close insight into an artist’s work and being able to interact with it is a very special experience. I went with two friends and we spent hours exploring the books.
Even checking the books out with our personal library cards was fun. We picked up a card at the entrance and registered it, then we looked at the online catalogue and chose a theme (travel, cartography, science, narrative, etc.). One book related to that theme was brought out to us along with a random book. This meant we saw amazing books on themes we might never have considered. We could only have two books at a time each so we went up multiple times to make different selections. We saw around 24 books in two hours. There are a few thousand sketchbooks currently in Melbourne (the total collection comprises close to 28 000 books) – if only I had enough time to see them all!
I felt really inspired looking at the books. I wish I could draw! But the best thing about the project is that absolutely anyone can take part, regardless of their drawing skills. The next submission date is 15 January 2014 and you can choose to make a basic submission of a sketchbook only (25 AUD), or to have your work digitized (60 AUD). This means that even if you can’t get to The Sketchbook Library in person, you can still have a look at some of the work online in the Digital Library. Do it, it’s great!
The Sketchbook Project Pop-up Library is located at 234 St. Kilda Road, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Building, Melbourne until 9 November.
Mindful that my time in Australia is running out, I went on a sightseeing trip to Geelong last week. It’s the second biggest city in Victoria and only an hour from Melbourne by train so, considering that I’ve been living here for well over a year, it’s surprising that I didn’t check it out sooner.
I went for a walk along the waterfront following the trail of Jan Mitchell’s bollards, carved and painted to look like people. This led me up to the Botanic Gardens, where I snapped a pair that I at first took to be a bride and groom. After reading the information plaque I discovered that the gentleman is in fact Daniel Bunce, the first curator of the gardens. He returned from an expedition across Australia with Sturt’s Desert Pea, which he planted in the gardens. The attractive wildflowers were highly sought after by the ladies of Geelong for their pressed flower collections and the guilty looking woman by Bunce’s side is concealing some of the desert peas and a flower press behind her back.
There is an entertaining post over at The Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens blog about how some of the sneaky local women even went so far as to try smuggling rare flowers out of the gardens under their hooped petticoats!
I spotted this piece by Be Free in Degraves St the other day. It’s in the same site as my first and favourite Be Free piece, which is sadly now gone: https://helencaldwell.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/art-in-surprising-places/
My friend Claire asked if I could make her a scarf out of my City Square yarn bomb. The piece was quite grubby when it came down and some of the stitches had been cut through (a hazard when removing a yarn bomb with scissors, even with the most careful handling).
I found ten whole squares of the same motif, hand washed them with some liquid soap and stitched them together in a row. I backed the crocheted strip with fleece to make a nice warm scarf. That’s 26 cm of the yarn bomb successfully upcycled. Only 368 cm to go!
There was a while there when I worried I would never finish my City Square piece on time. Three seasons of Downton Abbey later, I measured up again and found that my piece had grown to 3.94 m. Whew! That was close enough for me.
Bali from Yarn Corner suggested sewing the piece into sections since the height of the tree was only an estimation. I made a 3.18 m section and two 38 cm sections:
This is me lying on top of my City Square piece to give you an idea of scale, and also because it’s so lovely and soft.
My sister came with me to City Square last Sunday to help with the installation and to take photos:
In the end I didn’t need to use the two 38 cm sections; the 3.18 m section reached right up to the branches of the tree. One of the City Square pieces did not arrive in time for the installation. We used left over sections from the other trees to assemble a yarn bomb for the naked tree. There’s one of my sections at the bottom:
While we were installing the pieces, many people stopped to ask questions and to take photos and to say thank you. It was lovely to be involved in a project that brings happiness to so many people. At the end of the day when I left the square, I noticed some tourists posing for photos in front of my tree! It made me very happy.