Labour of Love

For my Dad’s 60th, I made him a pair of tank slippers. And they were frickin’ awesome.

Tank Slippers3

Naturally, I showed them off to a lot of people before I gifted them. Friends. Workmates. Random people in the street (okay, maybe not). Each time I got the same reaction – a moment of ‘oh those are cool’ followed by ‘no way, you made them?’ and the general admittance that they were indeed frickin’ awesome. A few people also commented that I should make them to sell.

Which is so economically insensible I struggled to answer politely.

Tank Slippers

These babies were incredibly time consuming. There’s at least ten hours in the sewing up alone. The crocheting of the pieces easily tripled that number and even then that’s a vast underestimate. Working at minimum wage, that’s $500. The cost of yarn adds another $70, and again I’m underestimating.

These slippers are what they had in mind when they coined the phrase ‘A Labour of Love’. My Dad is probably the only person I would make these for and, as corny as it sounds, his appreciation of these – expressed in the instant ripping off of his current slippers and the putting on of these in a gleeful manner only matched by a child of six – was worth vastly more than 30 hours of my time and ten balls of yarn.

Tank Slippers2

Labour of Love projects are half labour – counting nearly every frickin’ row, struggling through the crochet pattern, and then doing it twice – and half love – the joy of meeting a challenge, watching them come to life and the gifting itself. And while labour can be measured and bought, love can’t; thus every Labour of Love is priceless.

Eden Cloakroom Installation

One day whilst working at the wool shop, a designer rang up to ask if we knew anyone who did yarn bombing installations. I naturally offered my skills, letting knowing what I was getting myself into.

The designers was Rachael Lovelace of Lovelace & Co., who’d been commissioned to re-do the Eden Cloakroom in Auckland. As part of the design, she wanted to install yarn graffiti in the courtyard at the front which opens out onto the street. Rachael and I worked together on how the design would look, what was possible to create with yarn, and what would stand the test of time best. The end result was creeping vine flower ‘pod’ lights – crochet covers stretched over metal frames to create lampshades, as well as over the connecting wires. Three of the lights were large – nearly a metre in diameter – while four were smaller, closer to 30cm across. The ‘vines’ were crocheted tubes and the various branches totalled more than 15m in length.

Further details of Rachael’s work (and photos of the installation) can be found on the Eden Cloakroom page of her website.

Commission Details
Yarn Used Moda Vera Marvel (100% acrylic)
Quantity of Yarn 30 100g balls
Time Frame Approx 90 hours carried out over six weeks