Have you seen trees and statues covered with brightly covered yarn in your neighborhood and wondered how it was done? Or have you seen photos of knitted or crocheted statues online and dreamed of becoming your town’s next yarn bomber? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll reveal how to yarn bomb in five steps.
Photo via of Oakland Art Enthusiast
What is yarn bombing?
A yarn bomb is form of street art where yarn in any form (knit, crochet, latch hook, cross stitch, amigurumi, or simply wrapped) is attached to an object in the public environment.
How to yarn bomb:
Step 1: Find the object you would like to yarn bomb.
If you plan to knit or crochet a fabric, then choose a 3-D object that you can sew your fabric around, like a tree, street post or statue.
When choosing this route, make sure to choose an object that allows you to secure your yarn bomb from falling down.
Photo ©Damon Landry/damonabnormal
For example, if you choose to wrap a yarn bomb around the pole of a street sign, then you must somehow attach a string into a hole in the post, or around the sign, so that the yarn bomb will not droop to the ground at the first hint of rain.
“Park It” by Lorna Watt/KnitsForLife; photo via Jill Watt
If you plan to cross stitch or latch hook, then find an object that allows for this process, like a fence or a park bench.
Photo via of Conrad Benner/StreetsDept
You can also add a handmade piece to any existing object, like adding pom-poms to tree branches, or amigurumi to a street post.
Step 2: Draw a diagram and measure the object you plan to yarn bomb.
Draw a diagram of the object so that you can easily collect measurements for each different section of the object you are planning to yarn bomb.
Use fabric measuring tape to collect the width, height and/or circumference of your target. Using fabric measuring tape will allow you flexibility when collecting measurements for oddly shaped objects, such as the arms of a statue, branches on a tree, etc.
For example, when collecting measurements of a tree:
1. Draw a diagram of the tree.
2. Use fabric measuring tape to measure the circumference of tree trunk. Collect circumference for wider and thinner parts of the trunk that you plan to cover.
3. Measure the height of the trunk that you plan to cover.
4. Collect measurements of the length and circumference of any branches that you intend to wrap with yarn.
Step 3: Design your yarn bomb
Decide how you are going to create your yarn bomb by figuring out if you will be knitting or crocheting, etc.
In creating a design for your yarn bomb, ask yourself the following questions:
- What colors am I going to use?
- Will I be creating a repeating pattern?
- Will I be putting an image into my piece?
- Will I be creating a patchwork piece?
Step 4: Create your yarn bomb.
When fabricating a knitted or crochet fabric, understand that you will be making a 2-D piece that will wrap around a 3-D object.
Also, yarn bombing with knitted and crocheted fabric requires you to sew the seam of the piece once it is wrapped around your object of choice with yarn for thread and a yarn sewing needle. This is less of a concern for latch hook, cross stitch and wrapping yarn, as for these methods you will generally be using a 2-D object as your “canvas,” like a fence or a park bench.
Using the method of your choice, create pieces that match the corresponding measurements on your diagram. For example, if you have a tree trunk that measures 36 inches around and 50 inches tall, then create a rectangular piece with those measurements. You will sew the seam around the object when you install your piece.
If you have many pieces that can be sewn together at home, like the patchwork above, you can sew the patches together to create one large 2-D piece that will eventually be wrapped around your target.
Step 5: Install your yarn bomb.
Find a good time for installation by asking yourself the following questions: 1) Will it be easier during the day when I can see what’s going on? (If you yarn bomb during the day you may risk your anonymity.) 2) Will it be easier at night when no one is around?
You’ll want to bring:
- Any tools needed for the installation
- A ladder if you need to reach tall branches
- A friend so you feel safe installing in the evening
- Your diagram to help you find the corresponding pieces
- If you’ll be sewing, you’ll also need to bring a yarn sewing needle, yarn (the “thread”), and scissors
Wrap each piece around your object, and sew a simple stitch to close the seam of the piece and create a fully wrapped yarn bomb.
Photo via Conrad Benner/StreetsDept
When your yarn bomb requires several pieces, use a simple stitch to sew all of the pieces together, to create the illusion of one cohesive piece.
For example, if you knitted several pieces for your tree, like one for the trunk four for branches, then sew the end of your branch to the edge of the trunk piece, and sew the end of the branches together.
And now enjoy your masterpiece!
Photo via Conrad Benner/StreetsDept
About the author
Jessie Hemmons has been yarn bombing since 2009. She was born and raised near Philadelphia, but currently resides in New Orleans. She has had no formal art training, and has practiced her craft in public over the years to show viewers that all artists need to begin somewhere.
Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Time Magazine, and Encyclopaedia Britannica. She has been commissioned by Target, Tampax and Free People. She has also worked with community art organizations to complete yarn bombing projects with youth in Philadelphia.
You can learn more about Jessie’s work here.