In the last few years, knitting has put miles of distance between the images of grandmas in rocking chairs knitting up tea cozies. The young, hip, and alternative-minded are picking up needles and casting a rebellious flair on an otherwise complacent hobby. Can knitting be a subversive movement?
After a satisfying lunch at the popular Boston eatery, Flour I was totally astounded when I bumped into an innocent lamppost and came face to face with my first piece of urban architectural knitting graffiti. I am a big fan of individualizing environs - both interior and exterior, and knitting is my number one hobby of choice. As a non-political knitter, my knitting adventures of late have been relegated to gifting my family with hats, scarves and socks. It may sound silly, but this lamppost encounter with its anonymous yarn artistry, absolutely delighted me. It was as if the inanimate object was alive and sporting a mischievous grin saying, "Tag, you're it."
"It not only turns alive, there is something comforting and loving about it. You don't look at the pieces we wrap and get angry or mad. You are happy," says Magda Sayeg, founder of Knitta.
Two outlaw knitters, Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain have brought all this subversive knitting activity to readers in their book, Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. Along with an accompanying blog, which chronicles Moore and Prain's research into knit (and crochet) graffiti groups from around the world, they've been "tagging" the world with "yarn bombs."
Pique your interest? If you are a knitter or crocheter, with a flair for fiber artistry and you want to dabble in the underworld of yarn bombing, join the movement. Think about all those great reuse opportunities for your leftover yarn stash. Groups are popping up all over the world. But, first you must be willing to abide by a manifesto. Here is sample manifesto created by the group, Incognito from England:
1. We anonymously promote knitting as adventure.
2. We aim to soften the edges of an otherwise cruel, harsh environment.
3. We juxtapose vandalism with the non-threatening nature of knitting.
4. We aim to readdress the nature of graffiti with a nonpermanent, nondestructive, cozy medium.
5. We are a non-discriminating collective.
6. We aim to recruit members to tag on an international scale.
7. Knitstable today, the world tomorrow!
Ready to join the yarn graffiti troops? Even if yarn bombing is too fringe for you, I highly recommend reading the book. Yarn Bombing is a voyeuristic pleasure not to be missed. For me, reading Yarn Bombing gives new meaning to, "Go hug a tree."
What do you think? Do you agree with Yarn Bombing's slogan, "Improving the urban landscape one stitch at a time?" Or, does knitted graffiti add to the destruction of public spaces?
Check out Threadbanger's renegade knitting graffiti adventure: