Spreading Joy with Yarn Art

With the tragic bombings and explosions we've experienced lately, I wanted to share something good with you: yarn "bombings." (I hate to even associate the word with our beloved yarn! I'm going to call this "public yarn art"; much better.)

The following article from Interweave Knits Spring 2013 highlights these works of public yarn art, and profiles one of the founders of the movement, Magda Saveg.

Making Public Yarn Art

When Magda Sayeg and her friend knit a cozy for the door handle of her clothing boutique in 2005, they were venting their frustration over their unfinished knitting projects. Passersby, who responded with wild enthusiasm, attributed the cozy to an anonymous and creative reclaiming of Houston's sterile landscape.

Over the next two years, Sayeg and her friend bore down and knit like crazy, forming a group called Knitta, Please (or simply Knitta) that swelled to a dozen members, all of whom adopted anonymous, craft-meets-hip-hop nicknames such as PolyCotN and AKrylik. Knitta worked together or in smaller subsets to knit graffiti for far-flung monuments such as the Great Wall of China and Notre Dame Cathedral. With the help of the Internet, their brand of soft, fuzzy, and easily removable street art took off.

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Untitled, by Knitta, September 2011, 320 square feet of knitting. I think this is fabulous! What a wonderful pick-me-up! Can you imagine coming across these stairs while going about your busy day? I hope I get to see something like this some day.
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When the group disbanded several years later—some went off to college, moved away, or simply didn't have time to commit—Sayeg took Knitta on as a solo pursuit. She got an Addi Express knitting machine so that she could produce material at a faster clip, and found a team of local knitters through a call for help on her Facebook page.

She started accepting commissions, working for public art organizations and for companies including Sunglass Hut and Smart Car, who paid her to wrap their products in yarn.

Today her work is a mix of craft, design, and commerce. After she's approached to do a project, she does a site visit and then works out a design through Photoshop. "Once the final design is approved, my manager and I translate the piece into a pattern that is then knitted," she explains. "It's only halfway done at this point. The installation process involves taking the knitted material and applying it to a specific object. Depending on size, this can take up to two weeks to properly complete."

Sayeg's dream project—covering an airplane in knitting—may take even longer.

—Sabrina Gschwantdtner, from Interweave Knits Spring 2013

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  I love you, R2D2! (Photo copyright Sarah Rudder)

Those stairs! I would weep with joy if I happened upon them—not to mention the photo ops. I love all the stitch patterns that are incorporated into the yarn art.

Speaking of photo ops, one of my other favorite pieces is the R2D2 that I shared with you on our Facebook page last year. Knitter Sarah Rudder created an R2D2 slipcover for a concrete street post in Bellingham, Washington. R2 brought so much joy to people! Check out the big hug he got from a little guy, at right. I love it.

By the way, I've seen those street posts in Bellingham, and I wish they could all be transformed into R2D2s! Start knitting Sarah; maybe you should contact Magda . . .

Interweave Knits shares so many glimpses into the world of knitting; subscribe now so you won't miss out on any of the upcoming issues!


P.S. Have you seen any public yarn art? Tell us about it in the comments!

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