As folk here knew, I’m one of the 57 contributors to the Ripple group-knit yarn bomb project, sponsored by the town’s art entities – the Arlington Commission on Arts and Culture, the Arlington Cultural Council, and Arlington Public Art.
Artist in Chief Adria Arch and Project Leader Cecily Miller did a fantastic job herding us cats (distracted as we all were by balls of yarn). At the project’s reception on Saturday we learned that a tiny whisper on Facebook netted them 70 volunteers, 57 of whom stuck with the project and worked with the palette and overall direction they established, to create individual pieces to clothe the trees in the bike path grove that Adria and Cecily picked out. The original plan was to garb about 6 or 7 trees. I believe the final count was something like 14 were outfitted.
And clothing the trees wasn’t easy, either. With constraints against harming them or affixing the pieces using tacks or staples, Adria and Cecily worked out an ingenious suspension system that relied on Velcro bands around the tree trunks, and used plastic cable ties to hang the knitted and crocheted pieces in place. The installation is to be temporary – up for just a few weeks – so there are no concerns about girdling or constricting the trees.
Even with the suspension system worked out, there were more challenges. The grove is located on a steeply sloped bank in between the Minuteman Bike Path and the town’s Spy Pond athletic field. The grade there is steeper than 45-degrees, making moving from tree to tree almost an act of mountaineering. Adria and Cecily engaged a local tree company to help. The arborists used ladders and climbing tackle to get 20 feet up on the trunks, to hang the artwork.
The result? Magical. In a dark area with dense canopy, colors bloom!
Amusingly enough, after these pieces were all installed, someone (as yet unknown) came by and added adorable mushrooms – as if the art has spontaneously reproduced:
Which pieces are mine?
These two. I’ll leave you the fun of spotting them among all of the others.
All in all, a ton of fun. Thanks to the organizers, the sponsors, and to my fellow crocheters and knitters. Also thanks to dear family friend Jean Clemmer, who would send holiday presents to the kids using yard-sale yarn as dual purpose “packing peanuts” and as a gift to me. Over the years I’ve used it to make Fishie Hats for my daughters, nieces and nephews; baby blankets for friends and family; and donated lots of it to Seniors’ day activities programs, and elementary school crafts closets. Some of the last of it went into these two pieces – the green, pale yellow, and lighter orange I used along with the group-issued blaze orange, magenta, pale turquoise and white.
Photo credits for all but the last two shots go to Alexandra Salazar, who unlike me, knows which end of the camera is which.
Ok, I know it’s been a while. Where have I been?
Working on several projects, two of them in major Stealth Mode.
Stealth Project #1 is a baby blanket. That much I can say. I can also say that the recipients are family, and they have specifically requested cotton and pink. I’ve done something original, an improvised pattern, and it’s done. But I won’t post pix here because family does visit this page and I want the finished object to be at least a bit of a surprise.
Stealth Project #2 is for my Stealth Apprentice. She’s starting up an Etsy business, hand-dyeing silk embroidery thread using researched historical dye recipes. She’s busy perfecting her products, and I’m her Beta-Tester-in-Chief. I won’t show the sampler where her products are being play-tested against standard DMC cotton floss, but eventually we will break Stealth Mode and post details and links.
Project #3 is a volunteer effort. I’m one of many people in the Arlington Knitting Brigade, a town Council for the Arts project that is working to do a yarn-bombing installation on the public bike path that bisects the town, for display in September. The group provided acrylic yarn in orange, light turquoise, white, and fuscia, with permission to eke out that lot with stash colors, in order to make a piece that’s 2×5 feet – knit, crocheted, in macramé, weaving, whatever. I’m woefully behind, but getting there. As you can see I’ve chosen a rather chaotic mix of crochet and knitting. Younger Daughter says that the thing has a look that reminds her of the classic kids’ game Candy Land:
I am going to have both aggressive blocking and a TON of ends to finish!
For the record, my piece goes at the very top of one of the trees, far from eyes that can see the questionable bits.
Project #4 is yet another pair of socks, the latest in my constant stream of briefcase projects. I carry a pair of socks on the needles with me just about everywhere I go, working on it in stolen moments while waiting for appointments, getting the car inspected, waiting for a movie to start, or standing on lines at post offices or ticket counters.
This pair is in Plymouth Neon Now, worked toe-up with a short rowed heel, on US 00 (1.75mm) needles. It’s 76 stitches around (19 stitches on each of four needles), with an improvised texture pattern on the cuff. The feet are totally plain – I find that is the most comfortable inside my shoes. I started this pair in mid July, and finished last week while waiting at the optometrist. Needless to say, I immediately cast on for the next pair.