Up a Tree With a Knitting Needle

Plus a crochet hook, some upholstery needles, and a pair of wire snips.

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For the past few weeks, when I wasn’t at work, sleeping, or eating, I’ve been scrambling to finish the major project I started back in July: the Furry & Feathered Wildlife Yarn Bomb in conjunction with this year’s Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival.

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While I was certainly on a knitting kick when I started the pieces, I think I’ll be abstaining from fiber work for a little while–I’m all fibered out!

Speaking of pieces, for the curious, here’s what went into the tree (and the patterns I used, for those inclined to try them out):

  • 15 Banana Leaves (adapted from CraftSide)
  • 2 Knit Monkeys (adapted from Alan Dart’s Chimps’ Tea Party)
  • 11 Bananas (also from the Chimps’ Tea Party, linked above)
  • 1 Crochet Monkey (from Knitted-Patterns.com)
  • 1 Parrot (from Knitted Pets–affiliate link)
  • 3 Crochet Butterflies (the large ones from MyPicot.com)
  • 7 Knit Flowers (from Little Miss Stitcher)
  • Plus various “vines” (no pattern needed, just single crochet over battery-powered LED strands or randomly knotted lengths of yarns)

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I have no idea how many hours went into the above. I know each leaf, for instance, took two Criminal Minds, aka an hour and a half, but that it took more than a week of knitting every night after supper to complete the medium-sized monkey, closer to two for the large, but only a concentrated day for the small, crocheted one (and I was running out of time by then, so it was a godsend to be able to switch styles for him). I can say, however, that it took a little over 7 hours to install the pieces and parts onto my assigned tree over two evenings and a morning.

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And when I was finished and had a break before the opening events actually started? I had no idea what to do with myself.

It’s not like I didn’t have anything to do–I’ve been putting off all sorts of things (including vlogging) for weeks. I decided to putter around on the internet for a while, watch a couple of episodes of The Crown, and start working on this post.

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Around five o’clock I fed the dog and walked back to downtown (where Todd would meet me after he got off work) to see all the finished trees, the Re-Wilding exhibit and, super important, the party at Bacchus where the winners would be announced.

There were 4 known prizes, Best in Show, 1st, 2nd, and an honorable mention, with cash prizes ranges from $1500 to $250. When it came time to announce the winners, of course everyone was hoping for that top prize, but they actually started out by saying…

We’re actually gonna give an extra award that we don’t have a ribbon for because we struggled with it as judges…So the first award (it doesn’t have an envelope or a ribbon but you will receive one) is the Judge’s Choice for Technical Execution.

And then they called my name.

Now, I could be bummed about not winning one of the announced prizes [or even by not having a ribbon and envelope, considering the prize was created on the spot and I’ll learn later what the actual prize I won will be (aside from the bragging rights)] but I’m not bummed at all. Because to be one of the 5 artists (or teams of artists, most trees were completed by 2 or more people) recognized instead of the 18 or so that were not? Yeah, I’ll take it. Technical merit is not a dirty designation in my book. I’m a good knitter, I’m a technically adept artist. “Flawless execution” is an accolade I will take with pride because it matches my detail-oriented style of creativity. I thrive on the minutiae. It’s the right and left brains working together.

The other reason I’m pleased as punch is that, walking around to the other trees, I never had a moment of ‘oh, man, I should have done something like that!’

No regrets. I had a clear vision going into the project of how I wanted my tree to look and the finished tree looked a helluva lot like my concept sketch. Back when I decorated cakes I was always impressed when the finished cake matched what I’d seen in my head. That awe and satisfaction haven’t changed, no matter the medium. Plus I received a slew of compliments from other artists and people taking in the scene during the art walk, what have I to complain about?!

And who did those prizes go to?

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Honorable Mention: Invasive Plant and Animal Species

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2nd Place: Holiday Feast

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1st Place: Twelve Days of Christmas

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Best in Show: Spirit of the Wolf

 

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