Yarn Bombing: The Sky’s the Limit!

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013 in Crocheting, Knitting | Comments


Yarn Bomb Guerrilla Art

Yarn Bombing in Grand Junction, CO
Yarn Bombing in Grand Junction, CO
Yarn Bombing in Bozeman, MT
Yarn Bombing in San Antonio, TX

Love it or hate it, yarn bombing is here to stay.

“Yarn bombing,” or the act of street art where knitters and crocheters put swatches of knit or crocheted yarn on public objects, first began in 2004 in the Netherlands. It has since spread to become a worldwide phenomenon, with yarn bomb installations as small as a swatch of yarn wrapped around a tree, bike rack, or railing; or as large as public statues covered in yarn cozies.

While yarn bombing is becoming an accepted form of street art, there is still a “guerrilla” aspect to it. Some municipalities still frown upon the practice (which is technically illegal in many areas), and installations are removed immediately. Not everyone is a fan, either. The Atlantic Cities puts yarn-bombing on their “Urban Trends We Hope Die in 2013” list, citing how easily yarn cozies quickly turn from cute and colorful to gross and grungy in the elements. Other installations are taken down because yarn artists don’t have permission to put them up.

Loopt Yarn Works' Patriotic Yarn Bomb
Despite the controversy surrounding yarn bombing, it’s becoming a widely accepted form of street art. Large corporations, cities, and small businesses reach out to local yarn bombing groups to have them beautify community areas. The beauty of yarn-bombing is that it is temporary. It can easily be removed with little to no damage to the host, and the thrill of unexpected color and coziness in an urban setting puts a smile on most people’s faces.

Are you interested in doing some yarn bombing of your own? If so, there’s a few things to consider.

  1. Have a plan! Yarn bombing should be temporary. If you’re going to put something up, set a date to take it down that’s a few weeks out to avoid the “But the yarn gets yucky!” arguments. Don’t be surprised if someone takes it down before you – that’s part of the fun of street art.
  2. Get permission! Before you yarn bomb anything, make sure you have permission from the owner. While it’s fun to surprise people with yarn, it is even more fun to legally surprise people with yarn. Start with your own property and then branch out to others. If you have an idea for a much larger installation (like leg warmers on a sweater), talk to the local government or art council to gain permission.
  3. Have fun! Above all, yarn bombing should be fun for everyone – both you and the public. Craftsy crochet instructor Vickie Howell has written a nice “how to” guide which is a great place to start. As she says about yarn bombing…”the sky’s the limit! Literally, you can’t yarn bomb the sky.”

I have big plans to yarn bomb a pole that lives in front of my house protecting our water meter. Have you yarn bombed anything? Tell us about it in the comments!

Comments

  1. Paula says:

    Sorry to say, I think this idea of yarn bombing is pretty weird and a real waste of time. Why not spend the time to knit infant items for premies in hospital; or afgans for the elderly and leave them at a rest home; or knit items for our military guys; or even knit something for shelters or homeless, but to put up “art” on trees and street objects is similar to graffiti. Maybe it is just me, if I have the time to knit or crochet, I want it to have a purpose.

    1. Candice says:

      A knitting group I was a part of in 2010 yarn-bombed the community animal statues with scarves, but they were meant for the homeless and less fortunate to take :)

    2. Bec says:

      All street art has a purpose. It sends a message anf helps to form a sense of community.

  2. Beckie says:

    While in New Zealand recently I saw yarn bombing on Baldwin St which is the worlds steepest street. It was fantastic. I was with my sister who is an avid knitter so it made it all the more special. Will have to cover the fire hydrant accross the street and out street signs…hummmm Thanks for the article, it is fun inspiration!

  3. Dawn says:

    Though I do agree that this is a wonderful idea of expression, I also feel that this is such a waste of beauty and talent! The items that are covered will most likely have the yarn pieces cut up and destroyed, which is SUCH a waste of not only resources, but the time that was taken to make these amazing artistic pieces.

  4. melanie says:

    i like the idea of yarn bombing, but it seems against the grain to get permission. the whole idea started as a guerilla beautification. i think it’s wrong to cover a sign, or on someone else’s private property, but a little crochet on the armrest of a park bench or some rounds around a pole seem so innocuous. and just that little bit of beauty can make a difference to someone else’s day.

  5. Cassidy says:

    I am disappointed in the number of people who would consider yarn bombing a “waste” of resources, or imply that there is a better use. While there are many other noble uses, art is always a great idea. As much as a knit blanket or cap for a soldier can mean on cold nights far away from home (I am a soldier, and it does mean a lot!), seeing a crafter’s “signature” in the form of yarn beautifying an otherwise dull part of my city would be an unexpected bright spot in my day. People choose to use their artistic gifts in many ways, and I don’t believe this one should be discounted just because its effect is not in line with the more popular charities or general kindnesses. To each his own!

  6. Kim says:

    I agree with Cassidy. This isn’t a waste of anything. It’s a form of public art. Most yarnbombers also participate in charity knitting and knitting for the troops. This is simply a form of expression with yarn. It’s beautiful and it makes people think about what they can do to make the world a nicer, softer place. I just happen to be a yarn bomb fan so in my knitting shop we have a Sunday afternoon activity for kids 10-16 to knit or crochet something for the bomb. Once we have enough we’ll bomb the tree in the front yard of the shop. Everyone in town is excited about it. I’d rather do this with the kids than watch them play video games (talking about wasteful….) Go Yarn Bombers!

  7. Sally says:

    Recently a whole house was yarn bombed – with permission – and it was spectacular. The artist used hand knitting he found in local thrift shops and had volunteers sew the piece together. A great use for some of the uglies one can find at the thrift store, don’t you think?

  8. Patricia says:

    I love yarn bombs. There is always someone out there who thinks they can tell you what to do with your time.

  9. Mary D says:

    How awesome, Kim! I couldn’t agree with you more. I think yarn bombing can also prompt curiosity into our craft which is always a good thing. Knitting is fun and artistic and if yarn bombing helps the general public appreciate it then so be it!

  10. Anne says:

    I’d like to personally see a place thats been yarnbombed as I, too feel it’s a form of art: but I also agree with Paula that it’s a better idea to make things for people who need it. Young people these days are so focused on themselves that teaching them to help others is a much better use of their time than sitting in front of a television playing video games that teach tem to crush and destroy people and things!

  11. Anne says:

    While yarnbombing may be pretty, I think it’s a much better idea to teach our children to think of others instead of themselves. If they’re going to stay inside anyway to play the crush and destroy video games, then why not teach them to knit scarves and hats for people who need them. And knitting can be taken outside, to be done in the sunshine, so they’re doubley blessed!

    1. Bec says:

      Yarn bombing is not a del-fish act. It’s a way to bring something beautiful to a larger audience and bring the community together. It is just as noble as knitting for someone in need.

  12. Emma says:

    Why can’t we do both? Make things for the less fortunate and yarn bomb? I know many who do both. yarn bombing can be taken down fairly easily so there is not the clean up cost that there is with other kinds of graffiti.

  13. bindu says:

    yarn bombing is pretty and interesting. Love to do one some day.

  14. Lucie says:

    Je trouve le yarn bombing très esthétique et surprenant selon les lieux. Il peut aussi servir différentes causes en attirant l’attention. Tricoter prend du temps; on s’investit donc dans quelque chose d’important.

  15. Samantha says:

    I plan on bombing the post in front of my house. It can easily be taken off and worn as a long scarf for someone who needs it!

  16. I love it! I told some of my favorite downtown shops about it and showed them your pictures. They got really excited too. I hope that they do it. It inspired me so I started making Yarn Bombed Jewelry. Antlers to be exact. I am giving away a Yarn Bombed Antler Necklace on my blog at http://www.amarmielife.com/2013/12/a-big-giveaway-for-new-marmie.html. It’s easy to enter to win! Come check it out.