Yarn Bombing: A New Way to Brighten Up the Neighborhood

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Recently, a group in the United Kingdom gained attention for a unique knitting project of theirs. The Craft Club, as they’re known, recently unveiled a new “yarn bombing” creation in South Essex. The piece features a rainbow and rain cloud made out of yarn which hangs on the wall of a former British Home Store (BHS) in Southend. The group hopes that the artwork will brighten up the area and inspire people to stop and take pictures with their umbrellas.

This isn’t the first time the Craft Club has been noticed for their yarn-based artwork. In 2014, the group created a magical garden scene with over four thousand crocheted figures in Little Havens Hospice, a hospice care center for seriously ill children.

Yarn bombing is a relatively new form of street art which involves knitting, crocheting, and wrapping yarn in public places. In its simplest form, participants knit sleeves for trees or parking meters; in more complex yarn-bombing, you get artwork like that of the Craft Club.

What is the appeal of yarn bombing over other forms of street art, though? Well, first of all, unlike many other types, yarn bombing causes no damage to public property. If someone decides to knit a sweater for a tree, the tree suffers nothing other than looking fabulous for a few days. Yarn bombing is also just the right amount of permanent. While chalk art will disappear almost immediately and graffiti takes serious effort to remove, yarn will remain in the same place until someone decides to remove it, and even then, all you need is a pair of scissors to take it off.

In addition, the purpose behind yarn bombing is different than that of other forms of street art. Rather than lay claim to an area or just generally vandalize, the goal of yarn bombing is to take an area in the community and bring it to life. Whether that involves sprucing up some benches or creating a fun carrot friend, these yarn creations bring a splash of color and a bit of fun into people’s everyday lives.

Perhaps the biggest draw of yarn bombing, however, is how unique the results are. While some of the projects you see can be very basic, others can make an interesting statement, or do something that simply can’t be done with paint.

Yarn bombing is most popular in cities, including Baltimore. Usually this is because there are many areas in cities with iconic statues or spaces that otherwise look uninviting. People who participate in yarn bombing get ideas in many ways. Sometimes it is purely their way of expressing themselves in a public setting, or a fun idea they had which they decided to implement. Others, such as sisters Lorna and Jill Watt from Knits for Life, actually receive commissions from people for their work. The two have been yarn bombing for years and, as they boast on their page about yarn bombing, have never faced any legal issues with the act.

If you’ve never heard of yarn bombing before and are suddenly interested, getting started is actually not that difficult. Do you think that you would ever participate in yarn bombing?

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