Yarn Bombing: Graffiti Knitting

Yarn bombing, aka yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, or graffiti, is a form of street art that has been spreading across the globe over the last few years. Knitters and crocheters take their “matronly craft” to the streets covering urban objects with brightly coloured fuzzy goodness. Few objects are off limits and tree trunks, hydrants, mailboxes, park benches, public telephones, bicycles, public sculptures, and even cars and buses have been yarnstormed.

The movement appears to have begun in 2005 with a single door knob cozy knitted by Magda Sayeg of Houston, Texas.  That first cozy led to the formation of the knit graffiti collective called Knitta Please. Other collectives followed including YarnCore collective in Seattle, Knit the City in London, and Ladies Fancywork Society in Denver. There is even a book Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, a guidebook to covert textile street art, that will help you get started.

While yarn bombing seems harmless enough, it is still technically illegal under vandalism and/or littering laws, though DAF could not find any cases of “bombers” receiving citations from police. “Yarn bombers say they rarely have run-ins with the law. And in the few instances when they are stopped … the police are more likely to laugh at them than issue a summons.”

Much like the traditional graffiti and street art movements, yard bombers are making money from their art through commissions from companies like Toyota who hired Magda Sayeg to knit a Prius Christmas sweater for a promotional video. The makers of the Smart Car and Mini Cooper have also commissioned similar ads.

For more information about yarn bombing and a big list of other yarn bombers, check out YarnBombing.com.

Sources: New York Times, Telegraph (UK), Wikipedia, Street Art Utopia (images)