Birthday Cushions Completed!

Birthday Cushions Completed!

Birthday Cushions Completed!I am pleased to report that both the birthday cushions have been completed. (See “Two Extremes of Cross Stitch”.) This is the first time I have used this kind of kit and I have found it very enjoyable and satisfying. The coarse canvas and the printed design have made the projects easy to follow and quick to finish.

New kits or projects often come with learning opportunities, and these kits were no exception. My first surprise came when I opened the kit and took out the yarn. Previously I have used a number of counted cross stitch kits and have been used to the threads being sorted into colours, usually also organised on a card or cards. When I took out the bundle of yarn from the pony kit I found I had just that – all the pre-cut yarn bundled together.

Birthday Cushions Completed! Birthday Cushions Completed!This being the case, my first task was to sort the yarn into colours and tie them together for ease of use. This took a while, but was well worth doing.

Stitching the projects was relatively straight forward, particularly where there were big blocks of one colour. I did find, however, that I needed to be more careful with individual or small numbers of stitches. The much larger holes in the canvas meant that isolated stitches were more easily pulled out of shape if the yarn was pulled a bit tighter. I became more familiar with what worked best as I went along.

Birthday Cushions Completed! Birthday Cushions Completed!I hit a slightly steeper learning curve when it came to making the backings for the cushions. Again, this was something I had not done before. I managed to work out how to put them together without too many problems. I have made them with a zip running across the middle horizontally for ease of removal.

There were a couple of “note to self” moments during the process though. The first one came after I had successfully attached the backing piece to the first cushion. I turned it over to turn it out the right way and discovered that I had sewn the backing on with the zip fully done up. Note to self: make sure you leave the zip undone a couple of inches because it is very difficult to open it up otherwise!

Birthday Cushions Completed! Birthday Cushions Completed!The second “note to self” was a more general one. I got nearly three quarters of the way around sewing the backing on the second cushion when I noticed that the cotton was lifting behind the machine as I went. I discovered that the bobbin had run out halfway along the previous side so had to go back and repin it, then resew it after filling the bobbin.

I am very pleased with how these two covers have turned out. All I have to do now is buy some inners to go in them and wrap them up for the birthday children.

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Yarn Bombing – a Global Phenomenon

Yarn Bombing – a Global Phenomenon

Have you heard of Yarn Bombing yet? Yarn bombing is an activity which is spreading around the world. If you Google yarn bombing you will come up with some amazing images. For me one of the most impressive ones would have to be a train consisting of an engine and four carriages, all of which had been very colourfully covered.

It is thought that yarn bombing began with knitters in Texas in 2005, who used it as a creative way to use up leftover, unfinished projects. The movement has since spread worldwide, and evolved into things like the “stitched story” concept. This uses handmade items to tell a story or illustrate a theme. The first recorded example of this was in August 2009.

Yarn Bombing - a Global Phenomenon
Image courtesy of flikr
Yarn Bombing - a Global Phenomenon
Image courtesy of geograph.org.uk

Yarn bombing may have started off with knitted items, but there are now a large number of crocheted projects as well. The “stitched story” projects can include amigurumi figures in them as part of their narrative process. (See also “The Origin and Popularity of Amigurumi Crochet”.) I have even seen photos of projects done in cross stitch. Yarn is used to create cross stitch patterns on a wire grid which is then hung on a fence or wall.

Over the last few months I have seen yarn bombing weekends advertised in two different communities in my local area. These have involved people meeting together throughout the weekend at an arranged venue. Individuals can attend for whatever length of time suits them. It is a social gathering of people working together to produce community adornment projects.

Yarn Bombing - a Global PhenomenonA couple of weeks ago I took my camera with me on my morning walk to take photos of some yarn bombing that had appeared on the fence of one of our local primary schools. The weather here has been a bit unfriendly, as we are in the middle of winter, but the colourful webs seem to be lasting fairly well.

I see yarn bombing as a rather fun way to inject a bit of colour into some of our public spaces. Having said that, I also think that the “bombers” need to be sensitive with the areas they choose to decorate, and respectful of local regulations and significant structures.

I would love to hear other people’s opinions on this, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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Knitted Knockers

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com

Knitted Knockers

Several months ago I came across a wonderful initiative called “Knitted Knockers”. As the name suggests, knitted knockers are handmade prosthetics for women who have had to undergo a mastectomy. They are soft, light-weight, fully adjustable, and can be made in a huge range of colours.

Knitted Knockers.org was founded by an amazing lady named Barbara as a result of her own experience with breast cancer. Complications with her initial surgery meant that she couldn’t follow her original treatment plan for immediate reconstruction, which meant she needed to look for an alternative interim solution.

Her doctor showed her a picture of a knitted knocker, and provided her with a pattern. A special friend was able to make one for her quite quickly (she actually made her two) and this is what she says on her website:

“It was FABULOUS! It was light, pretty, soft and fit in my own bra perfectly. I took off my jacket and knew right then that I wanted to make these available to other women going through the same situation. I thought, “what if my doctor had real knitted knockers to give to women rather than only having a photocopied picture on a sheet of paper to show them?””

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com
Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com

I highly recommend that you visit Knitted Knockers.org and read Barbara’s story in full on the site. There is also a lovely video you can watch. Barbara has taken her idea and run with it. She is now trying to make knitted knockers available to any women who need them. Through her site she is connecting people in need with people who can donate. There are also a number of patterns available on the site, including crochet as well as knitting, which you can download.

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com
Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Craftsy.com

While Barbara began her initiative in the United States, there are knitted knocker groups in many different countries. A quick internet search will allow you to find the group or organisation closest to you. I encourage you to get behind this wonderful movement and become part of an outreach which is making such a meaningful difference in the lives of so many women who are going through such a traumatic time in their lives.

 

See also: “Handcrafting To Support Charities“, “Octopuses (Octopi?) For Premature Babies“, “Two Jumpers and an Octopus“, and “Another Octopus and Some Scarves“.

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