Sunday, May 22, 2011
Needling the environment
There’s absolutely no knowing what new trend is about to pop up in the world. Take yarn bombing, for instance . If. Like me, you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a subversive new form of knitting. I thought hand-knitting was well over as a creative pursuit, but in European and American cities, knitters are taking it to the streets.
Just like graffiti artists armed with spray cans, they’re out of make their mark on the landscape – but they’re doing it with yarn. Stitch’n’bitch groups are getting together to knit lengths of stuff to wrap around anything they deem ugly or boring. Hand-rails, parking meters, bicycle racks, … you name it , they’ll be layering it with lime green or dayglo orange wool. They’re putting crocheted hats on statues of long-dead city leaders, and artful woolen bows on orange road cones. Trees are being yarn-bombed as well, sometimes wrapped with 'tree cosies'.
Just look at the covered pole in California, done by a knitter called Streetcolor. See www.yarnbombing for more pictures.
Who’d have thought p1, k1, k2 tog could become street language? Of course it’s a gentler kind of protest than tagging with paint as it’s so easy to snip off. And some cities like it so much that they’re actually commissioning yarn-bombers to prettify buildings, fences and even whole parks full of trees.
I hear there’s been a bit of it in Wellington already, so it must be time for Auckland knitters to get out in force. Forget making sweaters for the kids. There’s got to be a statue or two around Auckland that could do with a pink and orange striped balaclava. General Freyberg, presiding over that space on High Street? He could really do with a lacy scarf, I reckon.
What's more (and I'm sure you didn't know this) it's International Yarn Bombing Day on June 11, so you still have time to create something funky. What amazes me, though, is how people find the time. Whenever I've knitted anything it's taken months to complete. So I'm damned if I'd want to spend time prettifying some traffic bollard, only to have it cut off and slung in the trash.
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