Of Amazing Knitted Wall Hangings

Gentle reader,

A while back, Melissa, a reader and frequent commenter on The Shy Lion, emailed these amazing wall hangings that her knitting group made. They were so neat that I had to share them, so this is a guest post of sorts. Check ’em out!

The Huon Show Hanging – Photo Credit to Melissa
The Knitting Room Hanging – Photo Credit Melissa

Here’s what Melissa has to say:

To give you a little background on our knitted wall-hanging, it was the first project of our newly fledged knitting group here in Far South Tasmania, and was intended to be loosely based on our little local township. There was supposed to be a plan (we intended to knit the  panels a uniform size), however as it evolved, the project began to have a life of it’s own and the plan got thrown out the window…a happy little accident!   An assortment of panel sizes were knitted along with houses, people, the foreshore, bird and animal life, plants, rocks, sky and gardens.  Lots of ideas, plenty of laughs and conversation grew into a pile of knitted objects which seemed, in the end, to pull itself together into a wall-hanging that captures life in our neck of the woods (with some poetic license!).   Our finished hanging is 1.2 meters x 1.8 meters and is stitched onto a hessian backing with curtain rods at the top and bottom to support it. Those of us involved in the project were beginners (children and adults) as well as experienced knitters who shared their skills – about a dozen people in all.

We were suitably proud of the result and entered our wall-hanging into the crafts section of the Huon Show and won ‘Highly Commended’…though it may have been a controversial exhibit as we still had threads hanging at the back of our project….those people who exhibit will gasp, but we didn’t have a clue about the level of perfection required, being total newbies. 🙂 Nevertheless, we had won an award and it was a happy day indeed!

You’ve heard of six degrees of separation? Well there’s only three in Tasmania, and the word got out to a couple of people who were putting together an exhibition called The Knitting Room. We were asked if we’d like to contribute a wall hanging for the exhibition. The answer was a swift Yes!! The timing? Deadline in SIX WEEKS!!  This time there was a plan. A rough drawing of the layout that was based on a postcard of our bay and then tweaked to fit the 50’s theme of the exhibition. We wanted a hills hoist in the foreground with 50’s clothes hanging from it.  I don’t think I can do justice to the learning curve that we took on – but when you dive right in and wing it, then somehow a project can fall together – perhaps being furiously busy leaves no room for doubt!

We used old magazines and photos as a guide for the clothes – for instance, the green cardigan was based on a picture on the front of a 1957 copy of ‘My Home’.  Another contributor remembered a skill she learned at school in Switzerland to twist silver yarn, making an authentic looking  clothesline and she also knitted up the most gorgeous 50’s style dress.   One of the group wanted to knit stockings and she did it with the finest needles we had and some very fine yarn and her husband made the tiniest clothes pegs from bamboo.

We wanted to capture a moment in time, with a strong sea breeze blowing the clothes dry, the door of the outside ‘dunny’ blown open, chickens pecking about and other little incidents that you notice the longer you look.  So here we have Southport Washing Day 1950 (looking out of the kitchen window) ready to go to the Knitting Room as part of the exhibition.

The curators of the exhibition were really happy with our wall hanging and The Knitting Room exhibition was amazing  It was like a knitted neighbourhood with interior rooms and outdoor gardens where the detail in the work was mind-blowing, a knitters nirvana, check out the link and the movie here.

She sent me this ages ago, but my inbox is a complete disaster and I thought I’d lost it, but I’m so glad I found it (stashed in a folder marked “Blog” funnily enough). Thanks so much, Melissa!


Of Oz, Clogs and Linocut Prints!

Gentle reader,

When I finished high school in Australia, I went on student exchange to the US to do the last half of senior year all over again. Glutton for punishment, right? ^_~ Not really, it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life, and I met some of the most awesome peeps ever. And, I also got to learn how to do linocut prints! I wish for the life of me I could remember my art teacher’s name, she was so amazing, and I feel like a jerk that I can’t remember. But, that class was so amazing, and I learned more about art and craft in the six months than I did in the two years I took art at my Australian school.

Anyway, recently my super lovely friend, Amy (who blogs at Mildly Crafty, so you should give her some love!), gave me a whole bunch of linocut bits and bobs – all stored in a delightful old cardboard suitcase – and a book about different DIY printing processes. I already had some linocut stuff, but I hadn’t touched it in years so this got me all fired up about linocut all over again!

Amy’s Awesome Gifties.

I didn’t use the clean, new blocks that Amy gave me, because I wanted to save those for when I was more practiced, so I used some lino scraps I already had. The fabric paint didn’t work very well on my lino – it balled up and didn’t print very well – so I used the regular block ink that I already had. I can’t wait to do some fabric printing though!

My first carving went straight into the bin because I’d forgotten to mirror the letters so they printed the right way, but after that I did a Wizard of Oz print which came out really well! I was very happy with that one. Beginner’s luck. The next one I did was of the clogs. It’s somewhat of a tradition for bloggers to take pictures of their feet, I guess, which I’ve always thought was quite funny and cute. A bunch of the lovely ladies whose blogs and Instagrams I follow seem to love their clogs, so I asked GourmetGirlfriend if I could use one of her Instagrams as a reference and carved a tribute to bloggers who clog. ^_~

It’s slow going, but super satisfying!

I’m still finding the best amount of ink to use. The first time, I used to too much, and tried watering it down a little. I got the best prints from thicker ink though, and having a lot of ink had some trade-offs. I got better prints, and more prints from one application, but I also got more waste prints at the beginning from the ink squishing around the edges too much. So, the second time I used less ink, and got good prints, but not quite as good, and only one or two prints per application. I need to find the happy medium.

The roller is called a brayer. The more you know!

I did prints on brown paper and some canvas cartridge. I think I liked the brown paper best. I have lots of love for brown paper… brown paper bags, brown paper parcels, ah! I love it all! So, I was really happy with my brown paper prints. I found that I liked the Oz design a lot more when the print wasn’t completely even, and the paper showed through in places with the ink. But, for the Clogs one, I liked it more when the print was very crisp and even.

No Place Like Home, and Clog Lovin’

The canvas was more of a mixed bag. I think it was just a little too textured, and the Clogs design went right up to the edge so it was tricky to line up. I think I’d like to try printing on some other textured materials that aren’t quite as rough, like watercolor paper or something. I still liked them! Just not quite as much.

Click your Silver Clogs three times… (or Ruby Clogs for the movie peeps).

All in all, I’m properly happy with the carvings, but I still have some experimenting to do with the printing process. They’re definitely not Etsy-ready, but hopefully soon. Experimenting is the fun part, so I’m well keen to get on with it!

Meanwhile, I should have a finished sock to show you soon! ^_^

What other kinds of designs would you like to see? Have you done any printing before?

My Mama!

Gentle reader,

Remember how I told you in my last post that I was writing an article for JustB about my Ma? Well, it’s been published now, and you can read it here!  

I’m super stoked; I’ll be honest, I’m so excited to show off my Ma in public because she’s pretty amazing. It was harder to write than I thought though. Firstly, I hadn’t written to a word limit since college, and because there are SO many things I could have shared about her that it was hard to chose just the right ones and weave them together. But, I’m pretty pleased with the result and – most importantly – Mama loved it too. ^_~

Ma and Me at GoMA in Brisbane. Look how cute she is! Like a button.

Hopefully I’ll get to write more for JustB, because they’re properly fantastic. You should definitely go and show them some love.

What do you have planned for Mother’s Day?


Excitement Plus!

Gentle reader,

If you are signed up to the Facebook page you might already know, but something super duper extra exciting happened over the weekend! The lovely folks over at Frankie Magazine featured The Shy Lion on their website!

Oh, look! That’s me! *ded* – clickity-clack to look at that –

If you’ve never feasted your lovely peepers on an issue of Frankie Magazine or their website, you truly are depriving yourself of some serious blissful stuff! I heart them so intensely and back in my poorer days I would forgo a meal to buy the next issue. Yes, I used to be that poor (and that in love with Frankie!) so for them to notice little ol’ me… well, suffice it to say that I’ll be shivering with wide-eyed glee like an overstimulated chihuahua for weeks to come.

They featured my Totoro iPhone case, which peeps seem to love so that’s very nice! If you’re new to The Shy Lion, or you missed it, you can see the finished product here, and get the free cross stitch chart here. Best of all, you can do anything with the chart, not just an iPhone case!

But, the excitement doesn’t stop there! The incomparable Pip Lincolne, the editor of JustB. has been so kind as to let me write an article for them! I’m totes stoked because it’s about my Mama, and I love her face off so much it’ll be hard to stick to a word limit! I’ll keep you posted on when it goes up.

The next goal? Get published in actual, physical, on-paper print! Hmm, we shall see. ^_~

What’re your fave publications to read? Sharezies!