Drop Yarn, Not Bombs: A Look Inside the Peaceful World of Yarn Bombing

on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 3:37:00 PM

When you think of street art, you probably don’t imagine colorful, cozy yarn and knitting needles. But the yarn bombing movement has created a new brand of street art with a simple message: enjoy the beauty and joy around you. Let’s take a look at this wonderful new form of “graffiti.”

Yarn Bombing: Moving the Needle on Street Art and Knitting

The ladies and gentlemen of the “yarn bombing” movement can be found all over the world. Once thought the domain of grandmas in their rocking chairs or knitting circles during war time, knitting and crocheting has gained popularity in recent years among the younger people, particularly women, of society all over the globe. Websites and blogs abound with info and free patterns for engaging with needles and yarn. And a few brave souls have taken their talents to the gritty urban streets. Londoners may have cozies on their teapots, but New Yorkers have had cozies on their parking meters! 

All The World’s a Stage

Yarn bombing began in the early days of the 21st century as a new form of unoffensive graffiti. It was viewed as creative, humorous, and anything but old-fashioned. Colorful cozies began appearing in cityscapes across North America and Europe. Soon, statues were seen wearing scarves, mittens, and hats. Trees were turned into blue squids with big eyes. Playgrounds became fuzzy, rainbow-striped feasts for the eyes, as well as for the kids. London, Copenhagen, Madrid, Montreal, New York, and beyond, the world’s largest cities have become the backdrops and props for knitting bombers.

Responsible Street Art

But what makes yarn bombing so different? For one thing, most knitting bombers take responsibility when displaying the craft in their city. An important facet of yarn-bombing etiquette is to return to your project and remove it once it becomes tattered, dirty, or otherwise unappealing. Their work is considered by most, including many city leaders, as art installations.

Urban knitting may have come about as a way for knitting and crochet devotees to use up their leftover small bits of yarn in a creative, public, humorous way, but it can also provide an outlet for conveying an important message or commentary on social issues. Sometimes yarn bombing is meant to do nothing more than bring a smile to a stranger’s day.

So, the next time you head downtown, take a look around you. Don’t be surprised if you see a parking stanchion keeping warm with a multicolored cap, or a light fixture wearing a crocheted tassel. Don’t panic or shake your head in wonder. Impress your friends and explain to them that, congratulations, your city has been the victim of colorful, feel-good yarn bombing. You might even want to pick up some yarn and needles to see what you can bring a softer side to in your own community!

See some fun examples of yarn bombing here.

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