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Guest Blog – Yarn Bombing Revisited.

Yarn bombing is probably the most accessible face of knitting and crocheting. It’s something that every person has a chance of seeing, and by seeing being a part of. Which is nice.

I’m sure you’ll have heard about it, but for the uninitiated, yarn bombing (or guerrilla knitting/crochet) is the act of hanging crafted bits and bobs in public spaces. I guess that’s quite a wide definition but it has to be. Yarn bombing can be, and has been, political, whimsical, dark, funny, ugly, skilled, precise – everything really! Naturally, it changes with the person doing the creating and the reasons for doing it.

I guess the most common reason for doing it, and the reason that I do it, it just for the sheer hell of it! It’s nice to see people’s faces when they come across something so unexpected. Or, as is more likely, it’s nice to imagine what people might think of it if you can’t be around to watch the reactions – it’s sort of like a mega game of people watching.

I also, possibly shamefully, use it as a way of getting rid of my swatches or bits of knitting I can’t do anything with. I know others do to – in the Christmas yarn bomb we did one of my customers gave me a pompom to put up which had been made and hanging around for years. Thing is, after years of knitting, you end up with, well, stuff. Sometimes you’ll rip out a project but the cast on edge is just too tight to unravel, so you’ll snip of the thread and use the free yarn for something else but if you’re a sentimental old thing (like I am, much to my chagrin…) you can’t bring yourself to chuck something you made. It must be something to do with all the hope and expectation locked up in that little project which is at it’s strongest when you’re casting on. I’ve talked about that before but it’s really difficult to explain just how tangible that hope feels at the beginning. Anyway – yarn bombing…

I’ve known teachers use it as a way of introducing kids to art and fibre and making. Which I think is a bit adorable, despite the fact that I don’t much like kids… Look here, it’s a picture from a yarn bomb at the New Art Exchange in Forest Fields. (And they called it gorilla knitting – I really hope that was on purpose or I’d start a rant about how kids are supposed to learn to spell…).

kids yarn bomb

I particularly like this one.


The lady who did it is an actual artist (as opposed to a crafter dipping her toe into art). Apparently she was exploring themes of loneliness – she originates from Poland and couldn’t get home for Christmas so instead she made a Christmas present for the people of NYC.

I like it for two reasons. The first is that there’s real skill there. She’s not just knocked something together and popped it up somewhere. She’s thought about the design and the colours and boy does she know her crochet!

The other reason is, I guess, my own interpretation of her work (something that I hate doing – how on earth do I know what’s going through her head but I’ve thought of it, and in the in-keeping with the rest of cyberspace’s every-little-thought-regurgitation I’m sharing it with you…). I like the fact that this is a bull, representing a masculine, aggressive, devil-may-care, capitalist institution (Wall Street) and it’s covered in pink crochet! It softens it somehow, covers all the nastiness with loveliness and (hopefully) reminded those b*****d bankers that there’s something else out there other than taking and making money. Maybe.

Anyway, clever girl.

I’m not so political in my yarn bombing. I do it for the sheer joy of it and because sometimes it’s nice to do something that I don’t really have to think about. I’m not going to go into every little detail of the yarn bombing that I’ve done, mostly because I’m atrocious at remembering to take photo’s so it’d be boring but I’ve got two stories to tell you.

The first is about my first yarn bomb. It was a collaborative project with the rest of my knitting group and the old LYS that I talked about a few posts ago. We did scarves and hats and stuff for the Brian Clough statue and the lions and some bicycle posts and stuff. The best bit was making things for the horrid statue of people/shoppers outside of Tonic and Las Iguanas, just off Upper Parliament Street (am I the only one that thinks that that statue is pretty hideous?!). Anyway, we made scarves and hats and, naturally, a banana but couldn’t really sew them on in any constructive way so we left them and hoped for the best. That was the last thing we did before we each went our separate ways but my bus goes right past the statue and by the time I’d got round to it, about 20 minutes later, they were all gone! I really hope that they went to somebody homeless rather than drunken students but I can’t help wondering what a homeless person would do with a knitted banana!? Hmph.

My latest yarn bomb project was the crocheted bus shelter seat covers just outside of our shop. I made four covers, each in a different design using up scraps of bits and bobs lying around my stash (including some Noro yarn which is hideously expensive but hideously beautiful Japanese stuff). The interesting thing about that was that I got to see the reactions because I was sat in the shop all day. I did mean to count how many comments I got and how many people took photo’s but I’ve got a shop to run and I can’t tell a customer to ‘hold that thought’ just because of one of my follies… Anyway – here’s a few photos. Hope you enjoy them.