Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Covert Stitch Making
This fine day I added a ladder to my knitting and crochet notions. The other large notion I have is my pug Phoebe. My tool kit is pretty diverse. Fortunately/unfortunately, the ladder wasn't tall enough. It served as a good 6 foot tall holder for my basket.
I was eager to head into the city to help artist Suzanne Tidwell in her efforts to yarn bomb Occidental Park-Pioneer Square. Charisa, president of our fine knitter's guild (Snohomish Knitter's Guild) had put out a call on Facebook for knitter's to come and assist with the installation. I had been meaning for -at least- a year to dive into yarn bombing. With Charisa's and other bomber's encouragement, I finally took the plunge.
The weather was stereotypical for Seattle. I knew I was going to be terrifically cold AND happy while I worked. The grey skies weren't bumming me out at all. It is different being out of the house looking at the clouds.
So, I arrived at Occidental Park and this was the scene. Suzanne wrapping these well deserving trees in earnest, stitching away merrily. She had Ikea totes of knit panels and a nice tall ladder. Right away I felt welcome by my fellow knitter. I have been enamored by yarn bombers for a long time and this was my first face to face. We chatted a bit and then I unloaded my gear. I had been cranking on my panel for a week and did the bulk of the knitting in 4 of those days. It was so sweet to have it there complete.
This was one of my favorite pictures from the day. It rained the whole time we worked...this is my wee little knit-kit in an altoids box. I have a mobile studio cart, but when I'm in a hurry I can grab this little do-hicky and be on my way.
This picture is from my first attempt at wrapping my intended light pole. Here I am on my 6ft ladder. Because of the rain and the weight of the panel, my 97 inch long fabric had now stretched into a glorious 132 inches. All of the sudden, it was too long for it's intended target.
We looked around at the park for another taller pole.
Here's the view from Suzanne's 9+ foot ladder. Keep in mind it was raining, a lot. I had to be quite intentional about where I was in the world while maneuvering on this ladder. I did get woozy at one point balancing at that height fastening the top of the piece. I had done a lot of rock climbing in my 20's, so I dialed into that frame of mind.
Here's my beauty...
And from another angle... So pretty. I miss my piece.
Here I am...giving one last snuggle to my pole. It felt good to be done and see my work.
The gorgeous Suzanne Tidwell in her element. I love her tree wraps. They start looking like painted stripes. I am sure they look that way from a distance. Then there's the puzzling fact that it's knitted. The funny question I get a lot is *how* you get the fabric on the tree. I guess all those hours of finishing over the years have paid off. It's fun making it look seamless...mysterious :)
Now on to my city...
The following Saturday was International Yarn Bombing Day. If you are a yarn bomber, then, this is a holiday of yarnie proportions. I felt like a holiday to me. I had planned to stay up ALL night Friday night, but, alas I did get in bed. I stayed up till 3am. I was so tired that I didn't hear my alarm go off though. So, I unfortunately I lost a bit of my covertness...especially with the first tree wrap.
This first tree wrap is crochet with two strands of Red Heart yarn. I used the biggest crochet hook they make (I think). This was supposed to be wrapped around a stop sign. Right away I realize I had more width than I had planned. Also, a woman stopped and reminded me that the police don't really like stuff pinned to stop sign poles. So I looked for another target.
My son Li-jo (Eli) was with me, filming and taking pictures. We looked together for a new location and noticed a good light post over by the library. After we got over there I saw this tree. It was PERFECT.
After I had been working for a few minutes we realized that the city council was having a meeting that morning. YIKES! I was talking with different members as they arrived. Then, all of the sudden, my son says, "Hey Mom, it's the mayor!" We talked a bit while I worked and I answered her questions about yarn bombing/knit graffiti. She asked if I was going to do all the trees. I told her I had some other things planned. She said I should wrap the other trees, too.
I'm like YAYAYAYAYAY! It meant so much that she was supportive.
Here I am working away...
Eli having a well deserved mocha
A railing at my church's office...made from an entrelac UFO (unfinished object). I raided my ufo box that day before to see if I had some pieces I could use.
This might be one of my favorites. The doggie do station wrap. Our skate park is fairly new and I thought it could use some color. I was going to wrap a tree with this piece, but it wasn't wide enough. These squares were in my ufo box, and I crochet them together.
This is probably my favorite one so far.
I had dry skies that morning. I was thinking that if it rained I would use it to my advantage like I did with the Seattle piece. It seemed to help the fabric stretch. Like I was blocking it on the post.
Last but not least, the absolute most covert part of the day was the flower bombs. I made 7 tawashi (japanese crochet washcloths) Click here for the Super Simple Tawashi Flower Pattern and others I made one for each gutter at the library/city hall. Each one had two strands of cotton and one strand of sock yarn.
Here is one in action.
Here's some of the tags for the tawashi flower bombs.
I had my men come with me for the last installation. They were so excited to 'help' under the cover of darkness. This definitely felt covert. These flowers were gone easily by noon the next day.
Thanks for reading...I hope you have a great Worldwide Knit in Public Week. I know I started it off with a bang. Tomorrow I take 3 of my boys to knit in the city with our guild. It's gonna be great fun!