Keeping it Cozy

Knitting always fascinated me. It looks relaxing, yet mentally challenging and in the end you have something useful. Why don’t I do? Well, I have no patience or hand eye coordination. However, with a growing urban knitting scene, called ‘yarn bombing,’ spreading across cities from Canada to the UK, I may need to get some needles and start.

Immensely: This adverb means very, but is used to show very large quantities.

Most cities and citizens are making good urban art a part of public spaces, but they dislike graffiti immensely because it makes an area look rundown. But what if instead of paint, you woke up one morning to find the lamppost outside your door wrapped in a colorful cozy? That’s yarn bombing – knitting a cover of sorts to brighten a standard part of the city such as fire hydrants, bike racks, mailboxes and more.

Leanne Prain runs YarnBombing.com, a web history of the knit graffiti movement, and has written two books Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti with co-author and fellow knitter Mandy Moore and Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery. She and a friend started knitting to have something interesting to do, even learning techniques out of a children’s book and then moved on to form a knitting circle where they could learn from others. She told The Word she learned about yarn bombing accidently.

“I stumbled across the work of a Swedish group Masquerade who is in Stockholm,” she said. “These two girls were creating beautiful statue cozies and knitted chains. I was really captivated!”

Ms Prain has been involved in yarn bombing projects across her native Canada and the US. She organized a project to cover forgotten statues on Vancouver’s seawall and she and Ms Moore covered a historic cherry tree, which no longer produces fruit, with crochet blossoms sent to them by 200 volunteers.

“I have always been a big fan of street art – and I like the idea of taking what is a strange, antiquated, granny-like activity and modernizing it,” she said. “By bombing, you are placing your work out for anyone to see it and craft becomes art for public consumption.”

Rogue usually refers to something unlawful. In this article the meaning is a little softer.

These rogue campaigns can happen anywhere – someone yarn bombed a signpost outside the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California – and the director was thrilled – boasting about it on the museum’s Facebook page. You wouldn’t see that kind of reaction if someone had taken a can of spray paint to the side of their building. In London, a group called Knit the City performs guerilla knitting acts on statues, trees and fences across the city. Knit the City posts their activities on their website, but remain a secret group.

Ms Prain added that “handmade items are the unsung heroes of the design and art world,” and would like to see them receive more attention.

“I also think there’s a thing that happens when you create a unique handmade item in the city and place it somewhere – it reminds us that human hands still exist,” she said. “There’s such talk about globalization and ‘sameness’, but I’d like to think that hand making, and yarn bombing, is a way of celebrating our individual regional quirks and differences.”

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

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Knitting seems very interesting. It is both creative and practical but I don’t have the patience or hand eye coordination to do it. However, with a growing urban knitting scene, called ‘yarn bombing,’ spreading across cities from Canada to the UK, I may need to get some needles and start.

Most cities and citizens want public art but they dislike graffiti. Maybe yarn bombing is the answer. Instead of paint, which is difficult to remove, they could have a standard part of the city such as fire hydrants, bike racks or mailboxes covered by something made of wool.

Leanne Prain runs YarnBombing.com, a web history of the knit graffiti movement, and has written two books Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti with co-author and fellow knitter Mandy Moore and Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery. She and a friend started knitting to have something interesting to do. She told The Word she learned about yarn bombing accidently.

“I stumbled across the work of a Swedish group Masquerade who is in Stockholm,” she said. “These two girls were creating beautiful statue cozies and knitted chains. I was really captivated!”

Ms Prain has been involved in yarn bombing projects across her native Canada and the US. She organized a project to cover forgotten statues on Vancouver’s seawall and she and Ms Moore covered a historic cherry tree, which no longer produces fruit, with crochet blossoms sent to them by 200 volunteers.

“I have always been a big fan of street art – and I like the idea of taking what is a strange, antiquated, granny-like activity and modernizing it,” she said. “By bombing, you are placing your work out for anyone to see it and craft becomes art for public consumption.”

Rogue usually refers to something unlawful. In this article the meaning is a little softer.

These rogue campaigns can happen anywhere – someone yarn bombed a signpost outside the CrockerArt Museum in Sacramento, California. In London, a group called Knit the City performs guerilla knitting acts on statues, trees and fences across the city.

Ms Prain added that “handmade items are the unsung heroes of the design and art world,” and would like to see them receive more attention.

“There’s such talk about globalization and ‘sameness’, but I’d like to think that hand making, and yarn bombing, is a way of celebrating our individual regional quirks and differences.”

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team 

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Skip knot, pick up and purl, yarn back. Knitting always fascinated me. It looks relaxing, yet mentally challenging and you end up with a useful product which appeals to my practical side. Why don’t I do? Well, I have no patience or hand eye coordination. However, with a burgeoning urban knitting scene, coolly called ‘yarn bombing,’ sweeping cities from Canada to the UK, I may need to pick up some needles and start.

Idiom: Bad rap: A bad rap is an unwarranted reputation.

Most cities and citizens abhor graffiti; it makes an area look rundown and seedy. While creative city leaders are incorporating good urban art into the public space, graffiti still often gets a bad rap. But what if instead of paint, you woke up one morning to find the lamppost outside your door wrapped in a colorful cozy? That’s yarn bombing – knitting a cover of sorts to brighten a standard part of the city such as fire hydrants, bike racks, mailboxes and more.

Leanne Prain runs YarnBombing.com, a web history of the knit graffiti movement, and has written two books Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti with co-author and fellow knitter Mandy Moore and Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery. She and a friend starting knitting to alleviate boredom, even learning stitches out of a children’s book and then moved on to form a knitting circle where they could learn from others. She told The Word she learned about yarn bombing accidently.

“I stumbled across the work of a Swedish group Masquerade who is in Stockholm,” she said. “These two girls were creating beautiful statue cozies and knitted chains. I was really captivated!”

Public art has always been a personal passion of mine, and I love this creative twist – who can’t help but smile when stumbling upon a tree whose trunk is all snuggly in a colorfully knitted sweater? Ms Prain has seen this affect firsthand.

“There’s an urban farm very close to where I work which has been created to help be a source of food for under-served people, and someone has been wrapping yarn hearts in the chain link fence that surrounds it,” she said. “I think it is a nice expression of the sort of community that is happening in the neighborhood. And people react to it – as participants, as people just observing it and for those creating it.”

Ms Prain has been involved in yarn bombing projects across her native Canada and the US. She spearheaded a project to cover forgotten statues on Vancouver’s seawall and her and Ms Moore covered a dormant historic cherry tree with crochet blossoms sent to them by 200 volunteers.

“I have always been a big fan of street art – and I like the idea of taking what is a strange, antiquated, granny-like activity and modernizing it,” she said. “By bombing, you are placing your work out for anyone to see it and craft becomes art for public consumption.”

These rogue campaigns can strike anywhere – someone yarn bombed a signpost outside the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California – and the director was thrilled – boasting about it on the museum’s Facebook page. You wouldn’t see that kind of reaction if someone had taken a can of spray paint to the side of their building. In London, an outfit called Knit the City performs guerilla knitting acts on statues, trees and fences across the city. Knit the City posts their exploits on their website, but remain a clandestine group. They also prefer the term yarn storming to avoid any misunderstand that could arise from the word ‘bomb.’ There’s a certain whimsy attached to the art and you can only imagine the giggling that must be done while staid city infrastructures are being decorated.

“It is fun, and I feel like I bring something to other people when they have the surprise of stumbling across work they didn’t expect to see,” she said. “I’ve met people from all walks of life, financial backgrounds, countries, sexual orientation, age…it doesn’t matter. There seems to be a form of yarn bombing that can appeal to just about everyone. That is the magic of craft and making.”

Idiom: Run of the mill: If something is run of the mill, it is very ordinary.

Ms Prain added that “handmade items are the unsung heroes of the design and art world,” and would like to see them receive more attention. Yarn bombing can certainly go a long way to raising the little profile of the run of the mill stitch.

“I also think there’s a thing that happens when you create a unique handmade item in the city and place it somewhere – it reminds us that human hands still exist,” she said. “There’s such talk about globalization and ‘sameness’, but I’d like to think that hand making, and yarn bombing, is a way of celebrating our individual regional quirks and differences.”

Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona

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