I got to try something totally new (to me) a couple of weeks back. I’ve been wanting to do this particular activity for quite some time, but just haven’t. Sometimes it works like that. But then a special opportunity presented itself, and I simply had to be involved.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about Yarn Bombing!
The City of Virginia Beach is trying to develop an Arts Community. The people in the ViBE Arts District are awesome creative entrepreneurs growing and developing their unique businesses. The city has even sponsored a little public art, and we got to do a yarn bomb in that small courtyard of trees and hand painted murals by a collection of resident artists.
Without further delay…..
The LYS in this part of town was called upon to put together the contingent of yarn bombers and as soon as I heard about it, I called to get involved. My trusty photo assistant and I pulled some things from our sample bins to contribute and off we went.
Let me tell you something. It was FREEZING cold the day we did this! The good thing is that you can wear the knitting you’re using for the bomb until you are ready to wrap the tree. That furry yarn may not be considered quality product, but I’ll tell you one thing about it. A scarf made from that stuff is pretty darn warm!
So you may be asking, “What is a Yarn Bomb?”
Yarn bombing can be political, it can be heart-warming, and it can be funny. Most of all, yarn graffiti is unexpected, and it resonates with almost everyone who encounters it, crafters and non crafters alike.
That came from the book Yarn Bombing by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain. I highly recommend it. It’s a great read on the practice, it is filled with colorful pictures, and it includes super fun knitting patterns. It’s pretty much the best resource on the movement of fiber graffiti and craft activism out there. I found mine on Amazon, but your library may also carry it.
The large scale projects where people have made sweaters for trees are probably the most well known examples of yarn bombs. But wrapping the trees like we did in the scarves is a pretty common technique. We used plastic ties to secure pieces together, and to also make it easy to remove the knits. It’s supposed to be bad for the trees to just leave the yarn on there endlessly, so care has been taken to ensure the trees aren’t damaged in any way.
Why Yarn Bombs?
I’m glad you asked! So many reasons, and here are my Top 10 Favorite reasons to yarn bomb:
- It’s fun.
- It’s portable.
- It’s an opportunity for self expression.
- It challenges social conventions.
- It allows you to use knitting and crochet work for a purpose other than garment creation (“taking back the knit”). This may be the most feminist aspect of yarn bombing.
- It challenges preconceptions about what the craft can do.
- Small projects are low pressure and don’t require a lot of time or money.
- The appeal of making something that requires little planning is undeniable.
- Its a fun way to experiment with new fibers, stitch patterns and techniques.
- It inspires joy and and surprise, both in yourself and in others.
Plus, it was a fun meetup for people who are knit nerds!
We all felt like we were doing something cool and different together. People walking by wanted to stop and talk to us. They wanted to know what we were doing. They hung out with us. It was a great afternoon spent doing a little community building.
Besides, sometimes it’s just plain old fun to do something out of the ordinary. To do something unexpected and rather a bit silly.
When was the last time you did something merely for the sake of DOING IT?
Been a while? You might want to try out a little yarn bombing! I am usually on such a tight schedule and my time is dictated by routine and responsibility. Sound familiar? That’s just part of life. Adulting as they call it now. Sometimes we need a break from that.
Remember that cheap thrill you got as a kid when you got away with something that maybe you weren’t supposed to be doing? You can relive some of that doing these yarn bombs. Now don’t go crazy and cover up street signs or cause any damage to public spaces. That’s not the point of a yarn bomb.
The impermanence of the installation is as much a part of the statement as is the color and the location and all of that.
Knitting for a yarn bomb is a great time to try out some crazy novelty yarn or to experiment with new stitch patterns. If you do this in a long scarf that you’re going to wrap something in, your gauge isn’t even important.
You simply knit or crochet just for the sake of doing it. No purpose. No long lasting function.
How Freaking Freeing is THAT????
To be able to do something just for the sake of doing it is something so rare for us now. We are all on such heavy duty schedules and routines with so much expected from all of us. What if we could just take a break from all of that? Get off the hamster wheel for a while. What would that be like?
Well, it’s a lot like THIS:
Taking the time and space to just do something for the sake of sharing it with other people. It’s incredibly relaxing and stress relieving to find that little patch of nature and spend time decorating trees.
We decorate trees for Christmas? Why should that be the only time we do that?
Go follow these fun artists! I think you will be so surprised by the amazing things they create and install.
- The Yarnbomber
As for me, I’m cooking up something fun for the summer. If you aren’t already, follow me on my Instagram site for further details. It will be an Instagram only activity, and I’m sure you will want to play along! My lovely feed is in my sidebar, so please have a look and a follow.
I hope this inspires you to try something a little bit different with your yarn crafting. There are so many things we can do and make when it comes to knitting and crochet. I think that’s why I love it so much. There is so much range to be had in a simple piece of string combined with two pointy sticks.