BAC Yarnbomb Manitout Springs, CO

 

A group of us decided to re-purpose an old yarnbomb that we took down. The Business of Arts Center in Manitou Springs, CO requested some work on their site. Our fearless group leader mapped out a plan and a group of us sewed squares together. The “color wheel” of sorts went on the stairs while the multicolored squares cozied some trees. It took a group of four two days to put them all together. Thankfully all the squares were knit/crocheted
ahead of time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acacia Park Yarnbomb

To celebrate International Yarnbombing Day (6/11/11), a group of (mostly) local ladies decided to yarnbomb Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. With city approval, we made several hundred squares in yellow, blue and green to put cozies on 5 of the trees in the park. I thought the organizer seemed a little worried about getting enough squares for these trees, so I volunteered to make enough squares for one tree by myself.

I was to make enough squares to cover an area 4 feet tall and 5 feet 10 inches around. Half way through it felt like I was running out of interesting squares to make! Thanks to Ravelry, I found a bunch of square patterns that were fun and interesting. By the time I finished, I could hardly wait to put it up! I added a nice ruffle to the top and bottom to finish it off nicely.

Besides the 53 squares that went into my cozy, hundreds of squares by many ladies went into the other cozies. They were randomly assembled which made my tree cozy slightly out of place as it seemed coordinated in and of itself. Mine was stuck in the middle of the trees and fit in nicely.

A few of the pieces on my cozy were real attention getters. Hello Kitty, love, and the smiley faces were a hit.

One tree had low branches crying out to be cozied and the group used the leftover squares to cover the base and branches of the tree. Even with half a dozen people working at a time, it still took an hour to cover the tree!

Because I couldn’t stop the crocheting madness, I decided to throw in a few daffodils as well. Those I stuck in the flower bed next to the trees. They (8 in all) were “planted” at 8 am. By 4:30 pm, two were “picked”. Hopefully they made it to a nice home where they will be appreciated.

The city gave approval for these cozies to be up for about two weeks. After that, they may be re-purposed as afghans and quite possibly another yarnbomb project in town. Installation was from 7:30-9:00 am. A celebration at the park was at 10 am. We finished in time to put smiles and wonder on many children’s faces.

Berry Eggplant Hat

One of the cutest baby hats I’ve seen has been the berry hat. With my new knitting skills at the ready, I made my very first berry hat. I was going for plum, but unfortunately, my husband informed me that it resembles more of an eggplant! I guess children love eggplants, because the little girl that received it has practically worn it out!

The pattern comes from Michele Sabatier which I found on Ravelry.com. I used size 8 double pointed needles and Simply Soft yarn. It is a quick and easy pattern. I highly recommend it.

Adapting Patterns, Variations on a Theme

Often we fall in love with knit and crochet patterns based on completed projects we see. Sometimes, however, the project isn’t quite to our liking. Learning to see through projects to what they could be when adapted will increase your options.

Mr. and Mrs. Sock Monkey

Case in point, my sister wanted a sock monkey ski helmet cover. Up to this point I had only crocheted a sock monkey hat. Rather than wait for a pattern to appear online, I used the basic directions for the sock monkey hat and adapted it where it needed it. Since I was making one for her husband as well, I decided to make them Mr. & Mrs. Sock Monkey. Simple adaptations in the form of eyelashes and longer stranded pom-poms feminized it. Adaptations in the form of increased rows and sizes of rows helped them fit on the helmets. I also decreased around the brim so it would naturally hug the helmet and stay on.

A simpler adaptation to make is changing color. It is amazing how different a project looks when done in a different color. For Christmas I made five ponies from the same pattern. I hate to say it but some of them were cuter because of the color of yarn! The more colorful ones reminded me of the “My Little Pony” toys. I also made other adaptations based on recipient request. One pony became a unicorn. Another a Pegasus. For the Pegasus, I followed the directions for the wings of a dragon. This simple change saved me lots of time in trying to create a wing pattern. The horn I had to made on my own.

Thinking back on my childhood, I remembered how enamored I was with horses that had stars on their foreheads. The simple adaptation of a second color made the brown pony unique.

I hate to say that the color can make or break the project, but it is true. There have been times where the project I made just didn’t work for me because of the colors I chose. It’s a little disheartening when you spend so many hours on the project!

Making adaptations is easier to do when you have experience making similar projects. I made a Max doll from “Where the Wild Things Are” for my nephew. There were a few aspects of the original pattern I didn’t like. Because I had made a similar sized doll before, I used the leg construction of the other doll to make the legs for Max. I also made a different crown because I didn’t like the one in the pattern. Minor adjustments to the eyes, nose and hair, and I was much happier with the doll.

I followed the entire pattern for the giraffe project (below) except for the spots. It called for sewed spots. I wasn’t sure I would do them adequately so I crocheted each spot. In the end it was probably the longer/slower way to make the spots, but I was happy with the result. It was a minor change, but had a significant impact aesthetically.

Adapting patterns may require extra time and reworking of various sections, but they can be well worth the effort. Give yourself plenty of time to play with the pattern and don’t be afraid to experiment with color. You may not like every change you’ve made, but that will add to your knowledge of the craft and help you make future decisions.

Fair Isle vs. Intarsia

Back in 1994 I crocheted a Precious Moments afghan for my parents. Up until this project I thought one only used one color at a time when crocheting. However, I wanted to make the afghan with multiple colors. I simply cut and tied together the colors as they came up. I had never heard of Fair Isle or intarsia. If only I had! I probably could have finished the project a little faster, though the end result would have been much the same.

What are Fair Isle and intarsia? They are forms of changing colors while knitting or crocheting. More commonly associated with knitting, Fair Isle and intarsia can be used successfully with single crochet. Though both result in projects with images or patterns, how the color is changed is different. The Precious Moments afghan was done in a format similar to intarsia though not in true fashion since I cut the yarn and tied on the new color at each color change.

Fair Isle crochet scarves for 2011 Special Olympics

Fair Isle

In Fair Isle knitting or crocheting, two or more colors are used and carried along to be used as the pattern calls for it. It is carried loosely in the back when knitting and crocheted over/on top of when crocheting. Traditional Fair isle uses two colors per row or round. Two colors for knitting leaves only one color “stranded” alongthe back/wrong side. Two colors for crocheting means only one strand of yarn is hidden or crocheted over. The disadvantage of carrying multiple strands when crocheting is that it gets harder to to hide multiple strands as the stitches gets thicker around. This can also distort the size of the row.

Fair Isle knit skull hat

Intarsia

Intarsia is the use of multiple colors on multiple balls or bobbins. Each color is used and then dropped when the color is changed. The appropriate strand of yarn is picked back up and used on the way back across the row. For knitting, this requires picking up the new color from under the old color so the yarn is twisted together and a hole is not formed. For crocheting, the color may still need to be carried on a previous row a stitch or two like in the Fair Isle method if the color does not resume right above the previous row.

Crocheted Fair Isle and Intarsia Pillow

Fair Isle and Intarsia often use charts rather than detailed row by row written instructions. These charts can be used for knitting and crocheting. The stitch sizes in knitting and crocheting are slightly different, but will still work well when single crocheted. Half double and double crochets elongate the stitches which will distort the image. There will also be longer strands made when picking up “dropped” yarn from previous rows.

Fair Isle and intarsia designs can be made from any graph. If you can graph it, you can knit/crochet it. The sky truly is the limit. Check out the Graph It post for some ideas on making your own graph.

Yarn Bomb Bolivia

A friend sent me a picture of a tree that was yarn bombed in La Paz, Bolivia. Naturally nothing like that happened while I was living there. Thankfully my friend knows how much I love to knit and crochet. She just had to send me this picture.

I think whoever did this did a beautiful job. I especially like how many branches were covered. I also think the pom poms hanging from the branches are a crowning touch.

It’s winter around here. I think a few trees in my area could use some sweaters! Actually, I have a tree in my yard that split. I wonder if a wool sweater/cozy would help protect it during these cold months. I need a tree doctor’s advice on that!

Christmas Yarn Bomb – Pillar Cozies

While my sister was out of town I decided to yarn bomb her house. She was going to be out of town quite a bit during the holiday season and I didn’t want her neighbors to feel slighted that she didn’t do her part to bring holiday cheer to the neighborhood!

I initially put buttons on them to secure them to the pillars but they were spaced to far apart. I ended up tying sections together between the buttons on one and sewing the other one closed.

The red and white one was supposed to look like a candy cane but I’m afraid I didn’t make it slanted enough.

I used the largest knitting needles I had, which are about size 16 (12 mm).

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