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Zombie Yarn: Crochet raised from the dead

Even though I get very very nervous presenting to a group of people, this workshop proved to be a tonne of fun. Karina from the Warwick Art Gallery asked if I would conduct a class as part of the Jumpers and Jazz in July event programme. I said yes straight away. As the days grew closer to D-Day, I was surprised at how low my panic meter was registering. The calm feeling remained in me even on the day of the class. 30 minutes to go the bubbles fizzed, but I still felt excellent and relaxed.

I'm fortunate to have eight of the loveliest women attend. There were even celebrities of sorts in the room. Warwick personality and prolific wearable art practitioner Helen Newton was the first to arrive. Helen has an exhibition of her wearable art in Jacqui's Cafe. Then Narelle Mercer, the back-to-back winner of the festival theme section, walked in. I experienced a significant fangirl moment and felt thrilled to meet the woman responsible for two of my all-time favourite tree jumpers.

We had a great time, and everything went fabulously well. Perhaps the focus of the class was not solely all about crochet this time. I had chosen to work through the methods that I had used to produce my work. The crochet project was a small, fun activity that introduced the possibilities of making different items from t-shirt yarn. Every attendee completed a piece; most started on a second. I call that a result!

Running workshops is something that I would really like to be involved in with greater regularity. My nerves are the only thing holding me back. This positive experience has given me the courage and zest to look to work on something in the future.

Thank you, ladies.

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Squink and all that Jazz

The concept for my tree jumper in 2018 was primarily an excuse to make tentacles. An octopus was the obvious choice, so I went with a squid. The body shape suited the jumper shape, and you know what? I think that a squid has a bit more personality about it. Making the tentacles was a lot of fun...for the first two or three limbs. Perseverance paid off though. I am super happy with how they finished up looking. The most fun part of the project was the ink element. It is crochet garbage bags adorned with shiny black sequins. I have found myself a deep love sewing sequins on to crochet. There's something meditative about the process. I have probably said that on here before, but it bears repeating. While Squinky didn't place in the awards list, I have received beautiful words of praise and admiration for the little fellow.

Thank you Jumpers and Jazz for providing this fantastic space to display my craft on such a grand scale. I have such fondness for my tree which lives outside the NAB bank on Palmerin Street (opposite the Criterion Hotel). The plans have already commenced for my 2019 tree jumper. I kid you not. Stay tuned

The Jumpers and Jazz in July festival in 2018 has been splendid. I enjoyed my four days absorbing the atmosphere and buzz that exudes through the streets of Warwick. I was involved in many exciting activities which included a nice big ol' chunk of media duties. My mentor, the expert bistitchual (knit and crochet) herself Helen Gross and I have been involved with the festival from its inception in 2014. 2018 is the 15th anniversary year. We were up super early for a photo shoot with our jumpers one chilly morning. I also spoke with David Iliffe at the ABC Breakfast live broadcast from the Warwick Town Hall about my Jumperhead exhibition and tree jumpering.

The quality of tree jumpers in the open air exhibition is mind-blowingly good. I had a bunch of favourites this year. Here are just a few of my highlights:

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Jumperhead Unleashed

I was incredibly nervous about the time when it came when people outside of my immediate circle get to see the pieces I have been working on for the past few months. The time came on Thursday 12th July. It was installation day. 'Jumperhead' is my second solo exhibition. This time around I was a little more organised and focussed on what I wanted to do. 'Monsters Under the Bed' in 2013 saw me with absolutely no clue as to what I was doing. I am slightly more aware of myself, my work and my artistic expression. Now that Jumperhead is open and people are seeing and reacting to it, I feel sheer relief. I can also see what a weird little world there is tucked away in my head. When I learnt to crochet, I didn't expect that I had found my calling. That it would be my creative voice. That this voice would be quirky, weird and whimsical. Perhaps I hadn't really appreciated that these are words that describe me. I wear it as a badge of honour. Weird is cool, right? While I was waiting to commence my Zombie Yarn workshop at the Warwick Art Gallery, I was among the throngs of people attending Markets at the Gallery. The joint was jumping! The vibe was buzzing, and the sun was shining. I was stationed in behind the counter of the gallery volunteer's stall. I had an excellent view of the spectacle. There was a moment where I looked through the gallery windows to see the room completely full of patrons. There were a couple of groups of people taking photos with the pieces, and there was no room to move through the exhibit. I'd be lying if I said that I was not puffed with pride or that tears of joy were welling in my eyes. It was quite a particular moment which I will think fondly on.
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Oh WoW Oh WoW Oh WoW

It is with great joy that I shout out the news that I am a finalist in the 2018 World of Wearableart Awards! I was thrilled to be pre-selected for the judging round in April. The wait is long. The judging weekend took place at the start of July. To see the word 'congratulations' at the beginning of the email brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy!

After suffering the gutting news that my entry last year was not selected, this notification has been received with utter delight and relief. While I cannot share any details about my entry just yet, as soon that 1st show kicks off on Thursday 27th September, there will be images and details galore!

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Jumperhead is coming

In 2017 I was named the Inaugural entrant into the Jumpers and Jazz Hall of Fame. For the 2018 festival, I have been invited to exhibit a brand spanking new installation in the Warwick Art Gallery. A recent feature in the Warwick Daily News revealed the details.

The exhibition features new pieces created from yarn which I have repurposed from garments I have sourced from op shops and my own closet.

The process has been exhausting and rewarding in equal parts. I'm excited to install each of the pieces and to see how they interact with each other. Some old friends will also make an appearance. I have selected pieces from a collection of my entries into the World of Wearableart.

I will also be hosting a workshop at the gallery on July 21. Zombie Yarn: Raised from the Dead will demonstrate some of the techniques that I have used in creating Junperhead.

Visit the Orange Wall Gallery July 12 - August 11 in the Warwick Art Gallery to see how these old clothes were Jumperheaded.

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Out of the OOMMC Santa sack

I certainly lucked out with the weather last week. With cooler days and hints of rain, it was easy to stay on track and keep making all the new Christmas pieces. The result? My working bee proved most bountiful. I have two full mailing boxes in the mail, destination: in.cube8r in Fitzroy.

In the mailing box, there are plenty of beer cosies, including festive Cthulhu! They are pretty adorable if I do say so myself. There are also new Zombie Santas, Angels, Elves and lots of Christmas themed critters! Ther are 3 Kringle reversi-balls which flip from a cute Christmas bauble to a Drag Queen or Zombie. Perfect for post-season decor

It was all I could do to let go of those elves. They are my fave out of all them. I have also included brand new non-Christmassy cosies in Zombie, Voodoo and Frankies.

Hopefully, they will land in the gallery by the end of the week.

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Yo Ho Ho! It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas 2017

You are probably not surprised to be seeing the telltale signs of Christmas appearing across retail and out on the streets. After many, many years of working in retail, the novelty of this festive time had well and truly rubbed off the shine for me. I have been ‘out of the game’ for a long time now, and I still haven’t got back into the Christmas spirit – yet. I revel in my role as a Grinch throughout the entire Christmas period. All this said I do secretly (really) enjoy making all my Xmassy critters which make their way down to in.cube8r about this time of the year.

My first shipment has landed, and they’re currently residing in my cube space. I’m currently working on a bunch of new festive themed dudes that will follow the first wave in the next week or so. I’m pleased with what I am creating. I have taken this week off work to complete them, and get them ready to ship. Today was meant to be house chores day. I am finding it very easy to ignore them and am working on finishing off all the crochet parts and adding their faces. I will look to ship these as soon as I get the all clear from Elle-May and Clare at in.cube8r.

Time to wrap this up like a Christmas present and get stitchin’! If you’re a Melbournian then do make sure to pop in to in.cube8r gallery and check out all the incredible artwork that decks the halls.

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ANZAC biscuits – free crochet pattern

You could say that this is outside my wheelhouse. In that, it’s not my usual theme of crochet. I would respond by saying that I enjoy making quirky items and that crochet biscuits (or cookies if you happen to be from the USA) would fall into the category of quirky. I work with an incredible woman who I, fortunately, call a dear friend. She has had a rough 12 months since discovering that she had breast cancer. After surgery and radium treatment she is now in a better place. She’s in remission and nearly back to how she was before the detection.

Before this, she was actively raising funds to support cancer research. Just one of the many events was a bake off which was held at our work. Some noted cooks among our colleagues were asked to produce an entry be it savoury or sweet, that met with a criterion of containing an ingredient that began with a particular letter selected at random. A winner and runner-up were chosen by our Director as judge, and a perpetual trophy awarded. We, the non-bakers got to make a $5 donation and consume the entries among a plethora of edible goodies. The event was a big hit. So much so that it made a comeback this year. While I can cook, as a baker I sure can crochet like a demon! I mused about how I could participate. I came up with a cheeky idea. I asked my friend if I could enter, and did the entry have to be edible? I thought that it would be most amusing to make some crochet items as an entry. The response was positive! Positive in that ‘no’ I could not enter crochet baked goods. But ‘yes’ I would instead create the prizes.

I would typically make up my own, but for this mission, I had some patterns to track down! A quick Google lead me to Crochet Cakes Sachets. These are beautifully simple patterns that were so much fun to make. I wasn’t too sure what I was going to make. I pondered making a trophy or a prize cup that featured a cake or something. I began to think that biscuits would be cute and simple enough to use for that purpose. Another Google search delivered me up a Boys and Bunting jammy dodger pattern. Again, fun to make but a little time-consuming for me to produce the number I required. It did, however, give me a basis for a biscuit pattern of my own. A further Google search to see if anyone had developed a pattern for ANZAC biscuits. I was not able to find anything. The pattern I put together came together really quickly. I worked it out and made 4 ANZAC biscuits while watching (or listening to when crocheting) the new Star Trek: Discovery episode and After Trek. Afterwards, I used this pattern with some minor modifications to make a choc-chip cookie and a jam drop pattern. Those are still in my head. I might get around to getting them written up to share in the future.

I had made a slice of cheesecake, and a sponge cake and these made for an adorable 1st and Runner-up prize respectively. The biscuits, ten of them, in the end, were given to each of the other bakers as a thank you present. I forgot to take any photos of them all before they were handed out. D-oh! Thankfully I have sourced the only image of the biscuits that a colleague who acted as OFFICAL PHOTOGRAPHER captured on the day. The Great Bake Off raised $230. My friend will hold additional fundraising activities over the next few months. All the funds raised will go towards a donation that will be made to Mater Chicks in Pink

The pattern is written using US terminology.

ANZAC Biscuit pattern

  • 2x 8ply yarn – caramel and tan
  • 4mm hook
  • yarn needle

Popcorn stitch 1(P1)

  1. YO, draw up loop, YO draw through 2 stitches
  2. In same stitch *YO, draw up loop, YO draw through 2 stitches*
  3. 3 stitches on hook, YO draw through 3 stitches

Popcorn stitch 2 (P2)

  1. YO, draw up loop, YO draw through 2 stitches
  2. In same stitch *YO, draw up loop, YO draw through 2 stitches* x2
  3. 4 stitches on hook, YO draw through 4 stitches

Biscuit base

  1. MR, CH1, (SC, CH1) =1st HDC, 9x HDC, S/S to CH1 of 1st HDC, CH1 (10 HDC)

*Leave long leader yarn to back of base

*Work HDC through the space between HDCs of the previous row (under all 3 loops that make an HDC)

  1. [(SC, CH1, HDC), HDC], (2x HDC) x 9, S/S to CH1 of 1st HDC, CH1 (20 HDC)
  2. [(SC, CH1, HDC), HDC], *2 x HDC, HDC* x 9 (30 HDC)
  3. SC in CH1 of 1st HDC, 29 x SC, finish off (30 SC)

*Stitch the leader yarn under the stitches of 1st round, bring through to back, pull tight to close the centre

*Bring end tail to front RS to weave in

*Wrong side WS (back) is the right side RS (front)

Biscuit top

  1. MR, CH1, (SC, CH1) =1st HDC, 9x random combination of HDC, P1 and P2 (10 stitches)

*Leave long leader yarn to back of base

*Work stitches through space between stitches of the previous row

*stitch is either an HDC, P1 or P2 randomly selected

  1. [(SC, CH1, HDC), stitch], 2x stitch x 9, S/S to CH1 of 1st HDC, CH1 (20 stitches)
  2. [(SC, CH1, stitch), stitch], *2 x stitch, stitch* x 9 (30 stitches)
  3. SC in CH1 of 1st HDC, 29 x SC, finish off (30 SC) DO NOT FINISH OFF

Join the two sides together with SC

With WS of BASE facing you, insert hook through SC and then again through 1st SC of Biscuit TOP. Work SC through next SC of both sides around, finish off (30 SC)

* Bring end tail to BASE to weave in and thread through inside biscuit. Trim any excess

*No need to stuff the biscuit

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Sendle. A vent of dissatisfaction

***UPDATE***

On Tuesday the 24th of October the MIA parcel miraculously was delivered to in.cube8r. Sendle refunded my shipping fee $10.59. I was contacted by Sendle via my Facebook page, where I had posted a link to this rant. The parcel arrived within minutes of that contact. I am satisfied with the result and will look to use Sendle’s services again in the future. This will be dependent on the status of the delivery driver in Fitzroy’s employment. I fully believe that he is the reason for the delay. Once I know he is no longer on the in.cube8r run, then I will see about using Sendle again. Until then I guess I’ll be back to being an Australia Post kid.

I wouldn’t usually do this, but today I am frustrated, and I feel like venting! I used to love Sendle. It was easy. I place the order, and then a courier comes to collect my box and takes it to Elle-May and Clare in Fitzroy at in.cube8r. I had smashed out a bunch of cosies as they have been selling like crazy. Fourteen in fact. I organised for their collection on Tuesday 3rd October. The expected date of delivery was Friday 6th October. Today it’s Sunday 22nd; the box remains lost in transit. Sendle is sort of doing what they can to rectify the situation. I get an email every couple of days, and they say tell me they’re still waiting to hear back from the courier. So much for Halloween treats in abundance. I should be hooking and making replacements to send down to don the now empty beer bottles adorning my cube space. I have been crocheting, and I will continue to do so once my rant is complete.

No word from Sendle since Thursday. No change on the tracking page. I must start to practice how I plan on getting cranky at them all be it via email. If you have some suggestions on how to verbalise my disappointment and how to start negotiations on insurance, please do drop me a line.

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Beer cosy palooza

Over the past few months, my beer cosy critters have been selling well and selling out! I’ve struggled to keep up with demand. This week sees a big shipment of cosies destined for in.cube8r gallery in Fitzroy. The more Cthulhu cosies I make, the more I enjoy the process. So much so that I had leftovers! I will send them when they are summoned for duty in Fitzroy. We escaped to the New South Wales north coast for mini-break over the long weekend. Destination Brooms Head. A new holiday spot for us. I packed a bag of yarn, two bags of eyes and my hooking tools. Another benefit of crochet. It is transportable. I didn’t make near as many as I had imagined I might. There was too many beach activities and enjoying socialising with family. I’m happy I managed four Cthulhu though. They make up the party of fourteen that were collected by the courier this morning. They should arrive and be available from my cube space this coming Friday 6th October.

   

It’s also time to start thinking about Christmas and looking to develop some new bits and pieces for the festive season. I wonder how a red, white and green Cthulhu might look? I suspect they’ll be darn cute indeed! There’ll also have to be some drag queen-themed Christmas pieces. Perhaps some finger puppets? I’ll also look to top up on voodoo babies, zombinos, Frankies and their lovely brides. Why am I typing? I have to get a hooking!