What on earth is yarn bombing, I hear you ask, and why does it have a day of celebration?
Yarn bombing is described as the “art of knit and crochet graffiti”. The blogger DillyTante knows more, and has even made our very own Jump! Mag Yarn Bomb.
Time to play hookey!
There’s no denying that crafting is currently cool, well, if not cool, certainly popular. There are countless books being released on a weekly basis dedicated to all kinds of craft and making. No longer are granny squares the preserve of your granny, all kinds of crafting is being done by all kinds of people. It’s a rebellion against the mass produced culture of the cheap and quick which we now live in.
Crafting was traditionally the preserve of women; well, decorative craft was, you know, the sort that is just to make things look pretty. The real craft work, leather tanning, shoe making, stone masonry, was done by the men, who were known as artisans. Women sewed cushions and samplers to demonstrate their sewing skills to future husbands. Now craft is not only facing comeback, it is bringing with it a rebellion…
Subversive craft is about taking a traditional feminine and twee activity and giving it a twist, or giving it a message. Women and girls no longer have to embroider flowers and hearts, and we no longer just knit baby blankets and misshapen jumpers.
My current favourite renegade craft is yarn bombing, also known as yarn storming or knit graffiti. Basically it is knitting or crocheting something and leaving it in a public space. Sometimes it has a message or a tag, sometimes it is political, but for me it is mostly about brightening up the world and putting a smile on someone’s face.
Today is International Yarn Bombing Day, so it is a perfect excuse for you to give it a go yourself. It’s easy to do and I’m going to give you some guidelines for a simple project yourself.
Step 1: Well, first you need to know how to knit or crochet. Either is fine, though I must admit I am a crochet evangelist. If you don’t have a handy granny to show you how to knit or crochet, there are some excellent YouTube videos that can help you.
Step 2: You need yarn and a hook or some needles. The great thing about yarn bombing is the brighter the wool the better, so you don’t need to spend money on lovely but expensive yarns. Any old yarn lurking around is good.
Step 3: Knit or crochet a simple rectangle. You can pick your target and measure it, or you can just make your rectangle any size and find a target it will fit. If you like you can embellish it with a message. You can see here one I made especially for you guys!
Step 4: There are two ways of depositing your yarn bomb: you can either do it in the dead of night so no one can see you, or you can do it in broad daylight, in which case the key is to just act naturally and as if you are meant to be there. Now I don’t recommend you go out in the middle of the night so I you’ll have to go with the second option. It helps to rope in a friend to keep you company, and make you feel less of a weirdo!
Step 5: Pick your target and sew your yarn bomb on.
Step 6: Don’t forget to take a photo for posterity!
You have to accept that your yarn bomb isn’t permanent, left out in the wild it is open to prey or wondering off to its own devices. Like the hideous china kitten your great aunty Mary got you for your birthday, your yarn bomb is a gift to the world and it can do what it wants with it. If your yarn bomb disappears you just have to hope that someone has taken it home because they love it so much!
If you want to see more excellent examples of yarn bombing and for inspiration check out these websites:
A high profile Yarnbomber, or Guerilla Knitter, Agata Oleksiak recently hit the headlines by creating a cosy full body jumper for the Antony Gormley sculptures on Crosby beach.
Picture by Agata Oleksiak
Happy Yarn Bombing Day!