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Guerrilla Knitter

09
Aug
2012
 

By Jessie

Strolling through the park near YouPlay HQ last week I was struck with the thought I must have somehow accidentally swallowed a handful of hallucinatory drugs at breakfast time instead of my usual vitamins. The suburban tree-scape (so familiar, I barely even noticed it anymore) had transformed somehow, tiny flares of kaleidoscope colour protesting against the scenic cliché tattooed upon my memory. 

  Yarn bomb!I stopped at the pedestrian crossing, reaching out to knock the button - with the back of my hand mind you, no amount of wonder will halt my germophobia. Yet, instead of striking cold, hard metal, my hand was met with a soft and woolly caress. Like a nudge from a friendly sheep.

My eyes widened, I looked closer. Wrapped around the pole was a bright blue knitted sleeve, blooming with pink and orange crocheted roses. Gasping, I turned my gaze heavenwards (although looking back, I’m not sure what I was expecting to see. An angel?)

No! Instead, I saw an intricate length of bunting strung between the light poles. And another across the road! In fact the whole area was alive with hand-crafted colour; poles and hydrants wore knitted mantles in all kinds of patterns, crocheted strings of hearts and stars and flowers waved gently in the breeze, and a bicycle had been entirely wrapped in yarn.

The penny dropped. I wasn't intoxicated  – the park had been yarn-bombed!   

Yarn bombing! Yarn bombing (AKA guerrilla knitting, graffiti knitting or yarn storming) is a form of street art that uses craft as a way to reclaim sterile and oppressive public spaces. Technically, the practice is illegal, although rarely prosecuted.

On the surface, guerrilla knitting is an attractive and often witty display of handicrafts, but essentially it is a feminist response towards the male dominated street art scene, and a statement against the idea that ‘women’s work’ should be confined to a domestic setting.

The phenomenon has been around since 2004, and has since been adopted by craft groups worldwide. Knitting collectives now active include ‘Knit the City ’ in the UK, ‘Knitta Please ’ from Texas and Australia’s own ‘Knitting the House”. Informal ‘stitch and bitch’ clubs are popping up throughout the suburbs and cities; craft lovers united by a mutual love of sewing, stitching, knitting and other creative pursuits.   

Bicycle yarn bomb! I gotta tell ya, I'm a BIG fan - but what about you? Has your town ever been yarn bombed? What public spaces do you think need a guerrilla-style knitted embellishment?


Jessie x

In other news…
A quick shout out to Tom Slingsby, Olympic gold medallist (Laser Sailing) who hails from the same part of the world as YouPlay.com! Tom, we’re adopting you as our official sporting mascot.

21 Responses to

Guerrilla Knitter

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August 09, 2012 at 8:21 PM

I live in Carnegie, Melbourne, but have never seen any knitting on poles round this area. I don't travel much nowadays, so cannot say about other suburbs, or the city. I LOVE THE IDEA, although I suspect that the material will get dirty and faded too soon. I have always suggested to people (including someone on my council) that the graffiti artists should do the electricity poles in the streets. In my neighbouring suburb they did, but no further. Poles are such ugly things, really, and can be made beautiful with the right art work. I don't like trees or large shrubs to be touched though. Just the man-made stuff. I met a woman in my suburb who made a large enamelled metal square picture(chicken theme) for the laneway wall next to a poultry shop. I love it, and told her so. She is planning more such.

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August 09, 2012 at 10:09 PM

I'd prefer Guerilla knitting to tagging. Tagging isn't pretty or decorative and the perpetrators have no respect for the art or murals already in place. My favourite frogs mural along the M1 on the Gold Coast has almost been obliterated by tagging and the paint over to hide the mess. Maybe knitted over road dividers for roadworks would be interesting. Use fluro colours for safety. Inside tunnels are usually boring too...maybe knitted panels to brighten the place up?

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August 10, 2012 at 4:59 AM

There is a big difference between tagging and graffiti art ;) I haven't seen any yarn bombing around my area (country town) but seen it in the city on several occasions in different states and it always looks really lovely and softens the harsh environment. The fact that it disintegrates after a while only highlights the impermanence of life and allows for renewal - brilliant idea :)

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August 10, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I've seen pictures of it, but not anyone who's actually seen it. I LOVE the street pole with the crocheted flowers:) It must be fun knitting or crocheting away, knowing your work will be adorning a public space eventually. GO! the yarn bombers!

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Ozmaid said:
August 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM

All the moths around the neighbourhood must think that they, have all died and gone to heaven! (lol)

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raynne said:
August 10, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Goolwa in Victoria has some yarn bombing on poles and private fences and doors

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dawkson said:
August 10, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Yarn arrangements are all around Brunswick.... on street signs, bicycle racks, public seating...

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said:
August 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM

nothing around here jess but maclean has their town down in a scottish theme is lovely

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August 10, 2012 at 9:01 PM

in our town we have "knit and natter"..Volunteers encouraging our elderly citizens to knit squares for rugs for the needy all over the world and enjoying a 'natter" as they do it !

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August 11, 2012 at 2:45 PM

I wonder if Adelaide is too "conservative" for yarn bombing. Has anyone here seen such a scandalous, politically incorrect act of "vandalism"?

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Tinkers said:
August 11, 2012 at 7:35 PM

For all those who may be interested,check out the web site. http://jumpersandjazz.com/

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mayabella said:
August 12, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Ballina has definitely been hit by the knitting mobsters. In front of the courthouse, down the main street and in front of the Member's office for a few suggestions of where to look. It's a beautiful sight.

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tiggercat said:
August 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Sharing your yarnbombing article with my sister in Scotland (a keen knitter) she sent me the following link to an Olympics-themed yarnbomb. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2111518/A-yarn-Olympic-proportions--Mystery-knitter-attaches-50-yard-long-scarf-featuring-woollen-athletes-pier.html. It is amazing!

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postie57 said:
August 12, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Have not seen yarn bombing, but have seen a couple of communities that have painted their fire hydrants to look like cartoon characters. Both would enhance, especially in small towns.

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postie57 said:
August 12, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Thanks Tinkers and Tiggercat for those sites. Well worth checking out.

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Frin05 said:
August 13, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Have just visited Port Adelaide where they have described themselves as a 'close knit' community. Shopping trolley with a knitted cover, trees, fence posts and railings, seats, etc. etc. You name it, they cover it! To see a street with brightly covered yarn on just about everything puts a smile on one's face.

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mayabella said:
August 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Knitting Nanas against Coal Seam Gas all over the Northern Rivers Area. Big in Lismore, big in Ballina, Byron, Lennox Head. It's anarchy with knitting needles!

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August 13, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Thanks, Frin05! I must nip over to Port Adelaide for a look at the sights. A "close knit community" - love the idea.

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kragzy said:
August 14, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Anything that thwarts brain-dead taggers is a good idea.

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pattyann said:
August 14, 2012 at 11:09 PM

i think its a very clever idea and very pretty!

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swimmer said:
August 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

never seen anything like it. Now the games are over it is only 14 days to the Paralympics http://london2012.paralympic.org.au/ Go Aussie Go.