Stitching Up City Square 2013 – Installation Day

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 was so lovely and soft.

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:

Installation Day - About to begin  Installation Day - An avenue of trees in rainbow colours

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:

Installation Day - Rainbow tree

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.


Some Christmas Street Art

Christmas themed yarn bombed bike racks and railings outside Fitzroy Swimming Pool, another Yarn Corner / City of Yarra installation:



The Melbourne Town Hall Christmas Projection:

Melbourne Town Hall Christmas Projection


This was even more spectacular than the projection I saw in Brussels a few years ago. My favourite part was when the clock tower turned into an owl, and the clock faces were its eyes:


Christmas Yarn Bombs on Rathdowne St

At the weekend I went to help some of the Yarn Corner crew wrap some trees on Rathdowne Street in red yarn and crocheted Christmas baubles. The project was commissioned by City of Yarra Council.

The trees are between Curtain St and Newry St, so pop along to see them if you can. The Christmas decorations are particularly sweet although I’m afraid I can’t take any of the credit for them.

While we were wrapping the trees, passing cyclists rang their bells, people in cars rolled down their windows to talk to us, and people passing on the street came up to take a closer look and ask us questions. Everyone was so interested and encouraging. It was lovely to see first hand the positive impact yarn bombing has on a community.

An article about the installation appeared in The Age today.


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!