like Banksy or Poster Boy, and in some ways more akin to a small-scale
Christo and Jeanne-Claude. But instead of spray paint and stencils,
razors and miles of synthetic fabrics, the so-called 'Yarnbombers'
use, well, yarn to add beauty to their environment while making a
statement. "Yarnbombing is all about using the street for making art",
says Sarah Hardacre, an artist from Manchester, in a story in the
There are yarnbombing groups all over the world, using their knitting and crochet skills to tag their targets. One is Denver's Ladies Fancywork Society,
who prefer the term 'fancywork' to yarnbombing, and use 'putting skirts
on the world' to describe their crochet guerilla activities. The Ladies
use code names like Vivian, Jeanne Lois, and Lady Magdalena
Pompelthwaite, and meet regularly for crochet and cupcakes. Here's one
of Vivian's bicycle rack fancyworks:
And there's the Yarnbombing blog
that features projects from all over the world, and even gives standard
measurements for street furniture such as telephone poles, park
benches, dumpsters and pay phones found in Vancouver, where the blog is
based, so bombers can get stitching without having to first venture out
with a measuring tape. The two knitters behind the blog, Mandy Moore
and Leanne Prain, have a book coming out in the fall called Yarn Bombing: The Art of Knit Graffiti. I sense this is just the beginning.
this may be 'radical knitting' as it is played out, but the patterns
and loud colours suggest a very 'granny' type of knitting and crochet, from what I've
seen - kind of reminiscent of the 'cosy'. (I once saw a toilet bowl
cleaner cosy in someone's bathroom. That's right, a bottle of bowl cleaner
with a custom-made cosy over it, and my friend Tammy can back that up.)
So if this is what the traditionalists are doing, I wonder what
fashion's knitwear designers could conjure, those whose knits are
radical by design?
But wait - is it not the granny style that
makes it so compelling? It's funny, unexpected, vibrant, and what is
typically perceived as benign and old-fashioned becomes a force to be
reckoned with. Try ignoring a full knit-clad bus in clashing, bright
I think this is just fantastic. I have yet to see a tag but I certainly hope to. Have you?
If you're a yarnbomber and want to share your work, give us an email. And if you're a knitter and want to find a network in your area, a quick google search should turn one up. Or start your own!
Fellow feltmakers, are the wheels turning? Oh, the possibilities...
's add-on to a Banksy, from Yarnbombing
Knitted street sign in Vancouver by Lauren Marsden
A tree wrapped in red yarn in Bejing's art district, Factory 798
Aaron Robertson via Yarnbombing
Bejing tree detail, as above
The Sweater Tree
, Brooklyn. Unknown, via Yarnbombing