Learn how we crochet yarn bombed two 8 foot Nutcrackers.
The Behind the Scenes Story
Each year, we are an attraction at Canada’s Largest Consumer Show called Creativ Festival. The show is not a little flea market or crafting fair like we typically think of. It has 100’s of workshops and show floor demonstrations. The best of the best show up to exhibit their creations with opportunities to buy raw crafting materials and some finished goods. It is a big to do!
For October 2015, The Crochet Crowd returns to Creativ Festival for our 10 th Show. We are presenting Crochet Wonderland from a Christmas and Holiday Point of View. It may be one of the most elaborate and time consuming exhibits we have ever made. We are pumped about it.
Exhibit Plans for our 40 ft x 20 ft show floor space include:
- Life size crochet igloo.
- 2 – 8 ft Tall Nutcrackers
- 1 – Crochet Christmas Tree
- Lots of Amigurumi Elves
- and a mix of Christmas themed items that include ornaments and more.
- Mixed into the entire exhibit are yarns by Yarnspirations.
On top of our exhibit, we have collaborated with our friends at Yarnspirations to display Yarnia. Based on the book Narnia, the story is told through life size exhibiting of the characters and key story elements all done in yarn.
We have a team of 4 people to yarn bomb the major components of our booth. The team includes Michael Sellick aka Mikey, Daniel Zondervan aka Diva Dan, Kevin Price and Karen Price.
Together, we tossed around Christmas Theme Ideas that could be done in Yarn Bombing. Our goal was to develop something unusual and go over the top in expectation.
Kevin located a free pattern on how to construct a 9 – 10 Foot Nutcracker online. The free pattern included a shopping list of raw materials as far as wood, screws, tubes and more. There was a visual presentation on how to make it and put it together.
We felt the Nutcracker was too tall and to cut some costs. We knocked all dimensions down by 20% to make it shorter. Our Nutcrackers as a frame stands nearly 8 feet tall.
Shopping & Starting Point
Daniel took the shopping list and had to find the materials in different home renovation based stores in our area. The raw materials to make 2 was $500 alone.
We began the construction on July 1st, 2015. With our team of 4, we divided into 2 groups. Kevin and Daniel stuck together with concentrating on the main body portion itself. Karen and I concentrated on legs, head and hat.
At times, we assisted each other for measuring, cutting and more. We worked hard for 8 hours and got the frame portion nearly done. We were so happy.
The key components for any show floor exhibit is the strength, assembly, tipping and weight. We have to factor all of those into the design to ensure the health and safety of all guests who come to the show.
As seen on the right, the frames were ready but the outsides needs to be lined with bathroom plastic board, as used in showers for the outline.
Daniel would then spend an additional 4 solid days of getting the entire frame secured, framed and assembled. With the nutcracker being so tall, the nutcracker needs to come apart for transporting to the show.
Daniel had a really tough time to locate the right bolts and ideas to make frame come apart and back together with some easy bolts. The back of the nutcrackers have gaps in the frame to allow us to have access to the interior.
We also left an opening in the pedestal at the bottom to allow us to put a brick inside to provide a weighted bottom. We think the nutcracker will stand without being a tipping issue but wanted to have a back up plan designed up front.
I asked Daniel to prime the entire frame as a dark colour so the white colour doesn’t peak through stitches. Daniel would spray the entire frame with a dragon fly green paint that we have used on the walls of our home.
Daniel is in charge of live show presentation for The Crochet Crowd. He had done extensive research on the history of the Nutcracker and designs of the uniform.
Daniel would come up with colour schemes for both of the Nutcrackers. They are to match each other, style wise, but not be identical.
We wanted something that would sparkle and choose the Caron Simply Soft Party and Patons Metallic as our staple yarns to use. With a proposal, we asked Yarnspirations to sponsor our Nutcrackers for the yarn. Yarnspirations will be working with us during the show and being a key partner for our exhibit.
To keep with Daniel’s concept of costume layout, I asked him to draw on the frame to give me a size perspective to aim for.
Using his sketch on the frame, I created 4 cardboard cut out patterns of the lapels to use as a measuring guide as I free form crochet.
The heads were removed and taken to Kevin and Karen’s Home 3 hours away. They are working on doing their magic on the heads and hat portion of both of the nutcrackers.
What many people don’t realize when they see the final is that the clothes that the sculpture is wearing are layers of panels to give the illusion of wearing an outfit.
Each component is a separate panel and made to match the frame. For example, you see the Nutcrackers Tuxedo Shirt. Peel back the jacket and you will see it’s crocheted big enough that the jacket layers over the shirt so when the jacket is closed and sewn shut, the shirt appears to be finished but it’s just made big enough to trick the eye and imagination.
With crocheting over top a frame, not everything is crocheted as a solid piece. For example, the bottom green part of the jacket is one piece that wraps around. The upper jacket is actually 3 panels. With the bolts that join the arms to the frame. I cannot crochet a solid jacket on the upper level. The entire back is one, and both left and right side of the front are separate. I have sewn the jacket together under the arms where the bolts are.
The lapels are 4 separate components but will look like there are only 2 when we are done. The Nutcrackers wear a belt that is over their outfit. So the lapels need to look like they are continuing behind the belt.
The panels start off as an idea, knowing they can always have more added onto afterwards. The level of creativity is up to me.
With Daniel’s Layout and colour suggestions. I have free will on stitching choices and some texture components. It’s a team effort, so we collaborate and celebrate the accomplishment as each panel is made.
In honour of the Nutcracker, we want to capture most of the essence of the sculpture with adding our own embellishments and stitch work.
Truthfully speaking, I want the nutcrackers to be a career highlight for myself. As selfish as this sounds, I absolutely love yarn bombing. It breaks me out of the box and I feel free as a bird. It’s when I am the most happiest.
Yarn bombing is a skill of knowing the behavior of stitches, customizing and creating the ultimate yarn illusion. While some yarn bombers just make square panels and stretch them over anything and call it yarn bombing. My yarn bombing is Yarn Artistry at it’s best and is something I am very proud of.
If you want to see more pictures of our process, I am updating our Gallery as it happens.