Sunday 13 November 2011

Supersize crochet plarn rabbit

This giant rabbit is really astonishing. It's the work of Erika Scharff, all made out of old plastic bags, however not known how many of them went into this work, but I could imagine it must have been a truck-load. It participated in the Greenheart Artprice 2011, where it ended up a shared third. Rumor has it that the Rabobank has bought it and that it will be installed at the Rabobank headquarters in Utrecht.
link thanks to @Pascrosie

mijn konijn by Erica Schaff @ Nieuwkoop
mijn konijn by Erica Schaff @ Nieuwkoop

Friday 11 November 2011

pull-on some coziness

Maybe it's because of the period of austerity that we are going through? The idea of pulling-on a extra layer of knitted coziness is really catching on. It's as if snuggling away in this nice and warm knitted comfort we could maybe simply forget the harsh and cold world out there? and it makes us think that the world is a little bit nicer place to be.

These vases from the Marie Claire idees are really easy to make, because it's simply old stockings that are cut to measure and pulled over some old vases.
Marie Claire Idees Oct 2011

and these smoothies have been given a nice and warm little knitted hat.
Innocent Smoothies

This was one of the first times that I saw furniture that had been given on a nice warm layer of knitwear. still quite modest, it's just little socks.
Milan Designweek 2008 - Satellite

and this is a more recent and much more advanced. big all-over cover jacket in a complicated pattern
Milan Designweek 2011
PlusDeSign Gallery Lambrate

Sunday 6 November 2011

watch this video; knitting graffiti gone OTT

Enter a bizarre universe on the intersection between a Thrift Store and it's secret universe that's hidden behind and to which random customers are kidnapped. The hidden universe is a psychedelic world where everything is wrapped up in knitting; grandma's crochet blankets, sweaters and what have you, it has all been patchworked together to form one uninterrupted surface of crafted material. It's a bit sick and somewhat insane. What drugs did these guys take?

Link thx to my friend Andrew @oxcon

Seventeen Evergreen - Polarity Song from Lucky Number Music on Vimeo.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Make a plarn shopper bag

A great way to give a second and enduring life to all those used (disposable) plastic bags that tend to pile up in the cupboard.

I used appx. 30 plastic bags for this bag, crochet needle 6mm. The size of needle that works will depend on how wide you cut the strips. I have figured out a way of cutting the plastic bags into one long uninterrupted strip.

collect enough plastic bags to make a bag, I used around 30, just regular shopping bags. If you want a nice fluent design you need to pay attention to the colors. Lay them out on a table or on the floor. Look at how you want your gradient / stripes to work, one bag makes between 2 and 3 stripes. Most of the bags are white from the inside, so that will wash the colors out. Put your bags in chronological order, which bag first etcetc. I.e. I decided to use my black bags first, so that the bottom of my bag wouldn't show dirt immediately.

check that all the bags are clean. If they are not wipe them off with a cloth, or maybe even wash them (by hand) and dry them. also check if all bags are in good condition. Some bags may be a bit decomposing, that won't work so nicely anymore, as the strip will then break all the time.

making the plarn. Now cut the strip, this is the most difficult part! First lay the plastic bag down flat on the table. Check the bottom of the bag, there is a sort of fold in the bag, cut that ply open up around the side is probably necessary, so that you really have the bag flat on the table. Then fold it double, and  again from the middle fold over one more time, it should not go all the way to the side leave around 3 cm free. do this twice if necessary.

Now cut the "roll". I used a scissor, the knife in the picture is just there to add weight. cut slits through the roll, but leave the side-space untouched (the 3 cm) I cut my slits with appx 2 cm in-between. If the plastic is thinner or softer you can make it wider, if you are working a thicker very solid bag, make it less.

Now roll-out the bag and cut loose and trash the handle-bit as well as the bottom-bit. Now we need to make the slits into one long strip. On one side of the bag, continue the slit all the way through, then the bag will look like this:

And now here follows the trick. Take hold of the side of the bag where the slits have not been cut through. Study it carefully, place an imaginary diagonal line between the end of one slit and the beginning of the next. You now need to cut from slit to slit, every time along this imaginary diagonal line. Be careful to not cut through some of the other strip by accident. Finish the strip by cutting a little diagonal cut out the border. Now you have turned one plastic bag into one long uninterrupted strip!

crocheting the bag. Crochet the bag like you would do with any other crochet work.

Mine is simply a chain of 25 stitches,
2nd round; 3 hf cr stch into first loop, then half cr.stch into each loop, 3 hf cr.stch into last loop, back again by half cr.stch into each loop.
3rd round; 2 hf cr stch into first loop, 1 hf cr stch, 2 hf cr stch, countinue to the other end and make the corner in the same way you did the first, and crochet all along the side.
4rd round; 2 hf cr stch into first loop, 3 hf. cr stch, 2 hf cr stch, continue to the other end and make the courner in the same way and finish the other side.
from here just continue in rounds.

Leave a space open of 9 stitches, crochet back and forwards 3 rows, cut the strip and start on the second half. upon finishing the second bit, re-establish the lost bit of the handle by looping 9 stitches in both holes. Continue in rounds again.

make a knob by crocheting a little roset, use a piece of elastic band to fasten to the knob.

Featured on Instructables on 24th of January 2012

Sunday 23 October 2011

New cool super-size pets from Cosima von Bonin

Cosima von Bonin had an exhibition in the Witte de With gallery in Rotterdam, not too long ago. I find her super-sized pets so cool. The exhibition is called Dolce Far Niente; the art of doing nothing, the series is called Lazy Susan. The animals and setting may be calling up notions of fatigue and inertia, sloth it was called in medieval times, a big sin. However honestly what intrigues me as a crafter is the carefully curated mix of fabric, the patchwork, texture, patterns and thread being used to form sketch-drawings, that gives it a feeling of craft-pop. It;s a much more color-ful mix than when I first saw her work at the Documenta in 2007. It has a great sense of humor and the blown-up proportions create a universe of wonderful fairytale, and in this one the animals are cute, like toys and even though they are so big, you just want to cuddle them. even the big octopus just calls for a hug.

At the end of my previous post of Cosima von Bonin, I have included a pattern on how to make a pet yourself; link
Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With

Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With
Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With
Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With

Wednesday 19 October 2011

reknit nr 5, cardigan nr 2

Here'a one of my newer re-knitting projects, well it's sort of last year, but I just didn't post about it yet. But maybe first a short recap about what re-knitting is. You take yarn that has already been used for something and then un-ravel it. You can i.e. buy a sweater at the salvation army or you can take some of your own old projects that are not "fresh"  anymore and then use the yarn for a new project. Sometimes I just get old sweaters from people because they think they are ugly and then I knit something new from it.

So I had this quite nice twin-set made from a beautiful linen yarn. I probably made it 20-25 years ago, wore it a lot. But I haven't been wearing it for the last 15-20 years. It has just been lying around in a drawer, couldn't throw it away, cause the yarn was too nice.

well so I unravelled it, even though it hurt a bit, it was a very difficult, intricate ajour pattern, and I turned it into a sort of plaid wrap-around extra long cardigan, knitted in a brioche-stitch with a turn to make it a bit tighter.

photography by Inge Noordijk

New cardigan, close-up of "natural" water-fall collar

new cardigan, showing how the linen-yarn and horizontal knitting makes it fall real heavy

new cardigan, laid out flat, you really see how the plaid-pattern is worked out.

old twin-set, sorry for bad picture quality

blouse of the old twin-set

close-up of the complicated ajour-pattern of the old blouse

Sunday 16 October 2011

New Amigurumi: Sandy's miniature

Because Sandy was leaving us, I decided to crochet a doll for her. When Sandy's son was born I crocheted the first robot-amigurumi (thx to Elisabeth and Craft magazine) so it seemed just right to make one for Sandy too.

She's wearing bright yellow pants, pink t-shirt with skull-print a hoodie with miniature space-invaders and of course tiger-striped adidas shoes. Just like Sandy does. Sabine made this picture, I really like the posture.

The hoodie was the most difficult part. As I wanted it to be really color-ful I made only one stripe each for each color, which means I had to change color each time.
also this time, I tried to use gradient-yarn for the eyes, in the end I think that worked quite well.

the skull on the t-shirt is a simple felt-cut one, after gluing it on with textile-glue (yes, that's a dirty finger that got stuck :-() I stiched it down. It just makes it look more finished and it sticks better.

Pants have a thin jeans-wear stitch along the side and fly. and real Adidas 3-stripes on the shoes. That was really tiny work. To make the zebra stripes you have to crochet-stitch one stitch in white, then one in black. In the end it works quite ok, but would have been even better, if I would also have made the stripes on the bottom-part of the shoes. But gosh, that would have been extremely complicated.

Here she's in the gift-pack just before we went to the party.

Saturday 15 October 2011

bigger-than-life-size doudou

If you can't have a real pet, why not make a life-size doudou and put in your living-room? Making and having a full size doudou sort of makes it ok for adults, doesn't it. It would also add an air of mystery and fairy-tale to your living-room.

Little deer photographed in Causeway Bay

These ones here are perhaps a little more advanced. They are made to be art-objects, but when I saw them, I wanted to take them right home. Look so real. It's the artist Cosima von Bonin, she incorporates a lot of animals like dogs and mushroom (also bigger-than-life-size) in her work. I guess she wants to tickle our affection for pets and maybe ask if other humans could really be replaced by animals?
Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

And how about these, actual interior objects, made to put in your living-room.
Different technique; mosaique. such a pity you don't find dogs like this in the DIY, they seem to only be doing dwarfs.
Milan Designweek 2008

Milan Designweek 2008

And here's the pattern to make one yourself, just blow up the size!
Libelle Magazine 1951

Have fun!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

How to knit like an icelandic man

Take a look at this hilarious video where an Icelandic man is promoting knitting and crocheting for men. His understated manner makes me think about the office, as if it was a mockumentary, but I think it's dead serious. Brilliant of Iceland to promote itself this way. and great that gender-roles get challenged this way, the guy really knows what he's doing, he can actually stitch!

How to knit like an Icelandic man from Iceland on Vimeo.

Thursday 15 September 2011

knitting christmas baubles

I know it's a bit early to start about christmas, and christmas is also not my favorite part of the year, but I have to mention this; two Dutch men Arne and Carlos have started a new rage that I'm sure is going to hit hard amongst craft addicts; knitted christmas-balls.

the situation is slightly hilarious; two middle-aged men have grabbed the knitting-needles and are dead-serious knitting away on their christmas balls, promising to help anybody that cannot find out in one of their workshops. Both are wearing some contemporary take on Nordic sweaters. Maybe just to match up with the knitted Christmas balls? The interior is also oozing old auntie. This is knitting 2.0 with a thick layer of humor.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Knitting Queen Shanghai

Walking around in the french concession on Saturday, with very friendly Jerry showing us around. Finally a day off after a hard week of intense work-shopping. Come across the Knitting Queen outlet which for obvious reasons immediately caught my attention. All the right key-words there on the board. But once inside it was very disappointing, or it is perhaps that I don't know and understand Chinese knitting and crochet tradition. 

Friday 29 July 2011

Amigurumi update

My latest amigurumi is Findus. He's based on a drawing that Julie made, unfortunately we lost it in the process. Findus is a hedghog builder, that's why he's wearing orange wellys and suspenders. His belly and the inside of his ears are soft pink. Findus as you can see has spines on his head and all the way down his bag. Findus is feeling a little bit cold that's why he's wearing a warm and comfy scarf. He might even be on the edge of having a cold, because his eyes are very tired too. hope you like him! 

And so whilst I'm at it, here are all my amigurumi over the last 5 years!
you can see them all at
here are a couple of zooms on some of the avatars that I have been working on.
Helene and Oliver at their wedding
Leo at her 40 years birthday

Friday 22 July 2011

Bakker Baard about Breiwerkwest

Great piece by BakkerBaard about Breiwerkwest in the Parool PS 9th of July. This guy can for sure bake a great cake with surprising ingredients like pepper, but he can also write. I like his style. The piece describes in a nutshell what Breiwerkwest is about and it's also very funny. Thank you Bakker Baard.

Sunday 3 July 2011

Knitting-jam with Breiwerkwest

This thursday night I joined the BreiwerkWest for a knitting-in-public evening at the TokoMC at the Westergas terrein. It turned out to be a bunch of die-hard knitters and crocheters of all genders and ages. They meet every now and then in a public space to craft together. They also unite together around common goals; one of their first achievements is the covering of one of the bicycle racks in the Westergas-terrain appx. 1 year ago.
More recently the sheep Dolly (polystyrene) had been dressed up and exhibited in the Westergasterrain. Dolly turned out to be so irresistible that she has unfortunately been abducted. As you see here, all gone!
The BreiwerkWest group is right now working on a supersize Picknick blanket that is going to be finished and used for the world-record picknick on saturday 9th of July in Amsterdamse Bos.

Inititives like this Wild-breien or BreiwerkWest demonstrate that crafting has new relevance in our society today. Crafting can be used to unite people, people that do not necessarily know each-other, but they share an interest or passion for crafting. They are going public, no more hiding away in living rooms, now they knit-in-public. I could certainly sense that it felt almost intimidating for some of the other guests in the restaurant, they don't quite know what to make of it. And the goals and objects that they unite around are far away from baby clothes and coasters. Now they make public statements sometimes with political undertones, and most certainly commenting on the state of our society today.

You could almost say that crafting is becoming a new mean of political expression.