Heart and Seek

You are invited to meet artist and craftivist Rayna Fahey of Radical Cross Stitch with her new artwork Heart and Seek at this little gallery just for kids

Little. No BIG
Level 1, 119 Hopkins Street
Footscray
Sunday February 5th 2017
1 – 3 pm

Gallery open through February
Wed – Sat 12 – 5pm or by appointment

Further work can be discovered on the streets of Footscray and beyond. Tag your discoveries #heartandseek

You are invited to contribute to this work – and your community! Here are the instructions for making your own heart. Please consider these instructions as a guide: use whatever colours, materials, techniques that take your fancy.

 

Materials:

x Red wool – can be obtained from your local op shop, your own craft stash or raid someone elseʼs, or any colour wool, or cotton, or anything that you can find that’s long and strippy 🙂
x Time
x A fence or grating with either diamond or square grid. Make sure it’s not too small as you need to get your fingers in the gaps and wriggle them around a bit.
x A friend or two – ʻcause these things are always more fun with mates

Part A: Finger Knitting

Step 1: Tie your wool in a loose loop around your index finger

Step 2: Swing knot around to the back of your index finger then loosely loop wool round your middle finger.

Step 3: Bring wool round the back of your hand and from left to right, wrap over the front of your fingers above the existing loops.

Step 4: Take hold of original loop on your index finger and pull it over the second loop and over your finger and release. Youʼll need to bend your finger down to get it over easily. The first one might be a bit tight if your original loop wasnʼt loose enough. Donʼt worry this is normal and wonʼt happen on the rest of them.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 for the loop on your middle finger. Will look like this when finished.

Step 6: Take hold of loose wool and wrap around your hand counter clockwise, ensuring the new wool sits above the old wool looped on your fingers.

Step 7: Repeat steps 4-6

Step 8: After about 7-10 rounds a ʻsnakeʼ of knitted wool will be forming behind your hand. Pull on this snake to lengthen and tighten it.

And thatʼs it!

Now time to keep knitting. Youʼll need about 5 metres for each heart you want to make. Once you have about 5 metres of knitted wool, cut the wool and tie it round your finger knitting to knot it. Donʼt worry about this looking too attractive; itʼll get chopped off during the fence stitching process.

Part B: Fence Stitching – Cross Stitch Technique

You can make up your own design but here’s a simple heart pattern to follow:

Now these photos arenʼt as clear due to the whole night time installation aspect of this kind of thing. Turns out my camera doesnʼt like taking close shots of bright red wool at night with a flash…

But youʼll get the drift.

This tutorial is based on a stitch done on a diamond shaped chain link fence. If youʼve struck gold and found a square grid fence, the directions will be slightly different. Iʼve italicised the extra bits.

Step 1: Figure out where youʼre going to start. You want your stitching to be nicely centred. Donʼt rush this process! Count it a couple of times if you need to. Make sure your design has enough room without running into the edge of the fence, or into a broken bit of fence. See if you can find the fence in Footscray where I forgot this crucial step!

Step 2: Tie the end of your wool onto the fence onto the left corner of the diamond or bottom left corner of the square. Donʼt worry about the hanging end bit of wool, you can tidy these all off at the end. But ensure itʼs tightly secured so it doesnʼt come off!

 

Step 3: pull your wool straight across the diamond and through the next diamond. Pass the wool behind and down to the diamond below. Gee thatʼs kinda hard to explain – look at the picture! For square grids youʼll go diagonally up and then down.

 

Step 4: pull the wool vertically (or diagonally) up, through and behind to the next diamond. In this picture my next diamond was the one up and to the left from my first.

Thereʼs your first cross!

Now a brief pause to talk about tension. Itʼs really important to keep all your stitches tight! Firstly because it looks better, secondly because it lasts longer and finally and most importantly because it uses less wool! All that time finger knitting – best to use it efficiently! I usually stop every couple of stitches and give everything another tug to make sure itʼs nice and tight.

Step 5: repeat steps 3 & 4 for the rest of your pattern. Once you get the hang of it you can start to get a bit clever about using the ʻthreadʼ to secure the behind work a bit neater as you go along. You want to keep the behind work as close to the stitches or the wire as possible so it keeps it neater and makes your finished design really clear. Thereʼs no clear way to explain how to do this because it all depends on what direction youʼre going in. Itʼs something you pick up with practice. So the more fence stitching you do the better!

Step 6: When youʼve finished the pattern, tie your wool off as tight as you can. As with your original knot, make sure itʼs super secure.

Step 7: Cut off the extra wool. Make sure you leave a couple of centimetres spare just so the wool has a little bit to move before coming undone. Remember your stitching has to brave the elements so it will all move a bit over time.

Step 8: Step back and admire!! (Here’s a picture from a previous project)

 

As you can see, hearts look good on square grids too! It doesn’t matter what your heart looks like, there are no rules. The most important part of fence stitching is following your own creativity and having fun.

Part C: Fence Stitching – Weaving Technique

This technique is heaps easier and quicker and really only works on diamond shape chain link fences.

Get yourself a bundle of wool to work with. I usually wrap it around my hand about 30 times and then cut it off. Tie one end onto an intersection on the fence. Wrap the wool over two diamonds until the whole area is covered. Continue wrapping along but only covering one diamond. Tie it off and cut the string. In the picture below you can see how it will look and where the ends are tied off.

These hearts work best on smaller fences, or if you do a whole bunch of them. Here’s an amazing fence a group of craftivists did in Wellington. Don’t you love the colour!

Congratulations you just spread your love into a little corner of your community for everyone to share. Pop a picture on instagram or facebook and tag it #sharethelove so even more people can see!



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