yarnbombing And Yarnbombing Your House

23 May

‘Have you ever yarnbombed your home ? ” The magazine editor asked ” I’m really interested in interior design “

This was a very interesting idea to me and also very funny. Yarnbombing my home !  My home had been bombed with yarn completely in just the terrorist mess way , there is yarn  and knitting everywhere.  Not in a home decor sort of way.

I like it when some one else gives me some structure so I decided to yarnbomb some furniture . I didn’t want to yarnbomb a whole room , my work is to colorful and I need my home to be a still calm  place .  But I thought it would be beautiful to see knitting on a small complex stool . Actually I thought it would be fine to yarnbomb 100 of them but perhaps start with one . I bought 2 stools from Wal Mart and sat down and waited for them to be shipped .

I got tired of waiting and decided to yarnbomb a stool I had already . When you have a new idea and you are excited it’s important to start right away and use that excitement as fuel . I had to knit many tiny fussy strips and measure constantly. It took a really long time . I talked to myself in an encouraging way-

” This is just the first one, it’s ok to mess up “

“You learning something new, that is a slow thing “

” You are going to get to keep this, it’s ok that it’s taking your time – time is converting into art “

After 2 weeks the stools arrived at Wal Mart and I went to get them . That was scary , my heavens .  However the stools were amazingly good. I started sewing up my knitting . Learning , learning.

When I finished I had looked at it for so long that I couldn’t see it anymore. I took many pictures and liked the knitting best outdoors. More yarnbomby .

I’m fascinated , perplexed, anxious and pleased about this yarnbomb. Hmmm 99 more to do.

Yarnbombing And Commissions Part 2 : The Sonoma Valley Museum Of Art

10 May

I just did not want to climb up that 15 ft ladder and hang the yarnbombed sign from the awning . We had driven over to The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art to put up a lot of knitting they had commissioned to go with their “Color ” show. I also had brought a big street art piece that was a real yarnbomb – which is to say questionably legal sort of legal.

Maybe I could get Christine the intern to climb up and hang the sign .

“Can you climb up the ladder and hang the sign ? ” I asked sweetly .

“I’m too short ” she answered.

I went trailing after Margie , the educational director. ” I think someone who works for the museum should climb up the ladder ” I whined ” You know , for liability “

“Well – I have an appointment , so I can’t ” Margie said. Oh drats.

” But ” she said  changing the subject ” You know we have all these high school students here – would you be willing to talk to them about yarnbombing ? “

This sounded good to me , so we all piled into the little library . The students seemed unusually awake. I decided rather than tell them about yarnbombing – I would teach them to be yarnbombers . So gave them the steps-

Look all around at the city , find a pole or a rack , measure it carefully , knit or crochet a tag [or get someone you know to knit or crochet a tag } Sew it onto the pole very tightly , take a picture , post it on Facebook .

Change the city.

They all seemed pretty open to this idea . I pictured mobs of high school students beautifying. I went outside and yarnbombed the cafe table.

The students rode away on their bikes . I went back into the workroom to sew my yarnbomb over the vinyl museum sign . I rolled around my worries – would the yarnbomb fit over the sign ? Would the sign stay up or would it fall on someones head ? Would the police bother me ? Why couldn’t I ever find my scissors ?

Hah ! The big magnets on the sign had grabbed them . In came Emily from the Sonoma Index to interview me. I really really like to talk about yarnbombing. I was hoping she would write something thoughtful and not just make lots of  yarn puns . Emily was very smart and I learned a lot about the trials of the journalist in this internet age .

I finished sewing up my cover and Emily called Robbie to come take picture . We all trooped out to the street to watch me sew up the uncommissioned graffiti yarnbomb I had knit for the big street light . Robbie showed up and took pictures and talked to me about Picasso as I sewed my huge swath of knitting . I’ve been watching a lot a of art documentaries streaming on Netflix to get me through all day knitting binges  . When the pole was all sewn up we dragged the cursed ladder over and I slid this long yarnbomb up 15 ft . That was fun. I had never been able to get a yarnbombup that high before. Ah , knitting looks so good when it’s enormous.

The director arrived . Oh good. ” Would you like to go up the ladder and hang the yarnbombing sign ? ” I asked politely

” Oh no ” the director said ” I think you should do it “

So I climbed up with my sign and stuck it to the green metal awning with the big magnets .

” How does it look ?’ I asked Christine the intern .

” It needs to be over more ” she said . Oh dear .

I took hold of the sign and pulled down really hard The magnets releases suddenly . I swayed back . My knee slipped. ” How about this ? ‘ I  said bravely and stuck it the sign up again .

” No “

A few more pops and swings we got the sign placed. Very sweaty.

Margie returned.

” Can I help sew up the door handles ? ” She asked . Great yes wonderful .

Margie sewed , I sewed , I tore out the knitting , I reknit the knitting, we got the little handles all covered with knitting. Small children admired them.

The real world is very tiring. The museum looked changed and friendly covered with knitting . I hear that the knitting has stayed up for a week now. I hope it helps everyone stay more relaxed.

The Sonoma Index article is here.

Yarnbombing And Commissions ; The Sonoma Valley Museum Of Art – Part 1

2 May

I was measuring a large piller in the main gallery of The Sonoma Museum Of Art when the director looked over at me and said ” Oh -you can’t yarnbomb in the gallery bitself , it changes the curation of the show that is here. ‘

Ok that made sense . The Sonoma Museum had invited me out to discuss a yarnbombing commission to go along with their gorgeous Color show. I was very pleased to be asked to yarnbomb this museum , usually I do yarnbombing unasked in front of museums as an alien landing . I had tried to yarnbomb The Sonoma Valley Museum last summer but it’s poles were to big and I couldn’t do it.

So here I was very excited to be asked. Apparently the local yarnbombers had been asked first and had been to busy. I was the ringer.

I abandoned measuring the pillar and headed for the cafe .

” Mmm You can’t yarnbomb the cafe either ” said the director ” The Color show will be in there too . Or any of the furniture in the cafe “

“Ok , is there any thing else to know ? ” I asked

“You can’t yarnbomb the front awnings or hang anything off the front of the building – the city won’t allow it. “

Oh boy , that had been my whole plan . I was feeling bad so I told myself wait , wait , wait , let something new come along . We stood and looked thoughtfully at the museum.

‘What about the hanging signs ? We have 3 signs that hang from magnets , you could cover them with knitting !’

This was brilliant – the signs are already accepted by the city and it makes the yarnbombing have more meaning – the sign about the museum becomes the art itself . It was such a good idea and all the more interesting because there were no signs up that day , that had all fallen down in the heavy winds.

It’s best to not give up , even when you ‘ re told that nothing can be done.

So I will be yarnbombing the sign , a table pedestal , 2 door handles and a large unauthorized secret real yarnbomb this Friday  May 4 in Part 2.

A Small Yarnbombing Disaster : Yarnbombing The North Berkeley Library

9 Apr

We were having a good time yarnbombing The North Berkeley Library last Friday , getting ready for their grand reopening. We had 4 glass blowing inspired knit tags and they really looked good against the new rosy tile. Lots of locals were stopping and taking pictures and thanking us. I love libraries so much and have yarnbombed many , many of them. The librarians had been pleased.

I was a little perturbed too though , the maintenance man had come by and said ‘ They will make me cut those off for sure !  I didn’t believe him- I’d done this all over Berkeley and Oakland and everyone had always liked them  .Besides -what was I going to do , be scared and just go home ?

Saturday morning I wanted to take more picture before the opening so we drove by.  The whole installation had been totally removed . I felt punched . We noticed 2 woman talking on the steps so I went over . ” Hi- I put up a knitting installation for the opening -” I started to say .

“Yes ! ” said the librarian . ‘ We took that right down ! This is the opening, people are coming to see the construction . You shouldn’t have done that ! You should have asked for permission ! You shouldn’t do anything here with out asking permission ! Don’t ever do anything here again in the future unless we ask you ! ‘ And she turned and walked away .

I was so startled. No one has ever yelled at me for making them a yarnbomb. Even policemen have always been very nice.

The other woman was smiling at me kindly .”We have it inside  ” she told me and went and got it . As she handed it to me she said ” We were very careful with it .

I looked in the bag and the pieces were flawless. That was something.

I was truly stunned . I thought about this all day and was alternatively discouraged , mad , hurt and confused .Wasn’t the whole point of street art that you don’t ask permission ? That the artist can interact with streets and cities and people on the street freely and immediately ?

Aren’t libraries for the whole community ?  Don’t they belong to us all ?  Should only one person decide everything ?

I woke up on Sunday with that feeling that something bad had happened and my mind started to churn .

I thought ” OK , you have to get past this . Find some good thoughts ! ‘

I tried – You didn’t do anything wrong . No help there

You should stop doing graffiti . nope.

Then I thought  ” This is yarnbombing ! You don’t ask permission for yarnbombing -you don’t have to get any one’s permission to do what you want to do !

That was it – I was ready to jump up and live to fight another day.

Just another yarnbombing story !

“Thank you Berkeleyside for the article here

Yarnbombing And Getting Rich ; Yarnbombing Lark Books – Again

6 Apr

Yarnbombing is a poor way to make money . Although when I have been out yarnbombing on the street sometims someone will stop and hand me a five. I spent so much time last year yarnbombing that I had to give myself a loan. But the great thing about money and yarnbombing is this-  yarnbombing showed me that if you are willing  to not get paid , to not ask permission and to be calm about policemen -

you can do anything you want..

And almost everything you want.

I love Lark Books . They make the most beautiful books about Art Craft on the planet . I visited them last year and yarnbombed the outside of their building and had a delightful visit with 3 of their editors and Beth Sweet gave me 3 books which was the best reward for yarnbombing I could imagine .

However the city of Asheville took the yarnbomb just a few days later.

This left me with an interesting quandary . Should I put up a new yarnbomb in front of the Lark building this year when I knew it would be taken right down again ? I looked at my beautiful handspun hand knit yarnbomb and I couldn’t do it.

I let my problem sit calmly in my mind. Last year Amanda Carestio had rashly given me her business card and I had carefully saved it. So this is what I thought – if i didn’t feel good about yarnbombing the outside of the building – maybe Lark would let me yarnbomb the inside of the building. I have found that people will let me yarnbomb anything if I ask , it’s quite amazing. So I e-mailed Amanda and she said  ” Yes !”

Amanda kindly sent me some pictures and I dug around in my embarrassingly large bag of yarnbombs . I packed up a huge bag of knitting options and flew off to Asheville. Amanda ushered me into the building and I saw this thrilling bright red staircase and knew that this was the perfect item to yarnbomb so I began sewing it up.

The director of lark – John Serena was interested in this activity – fortunately – and came out and talked to me . Book publishing is very interesting and some day I’d really like to write a book . After a nice chat John looked at me and said  “Last year we gave you a book didn’t we ? “

” Yes – 3 books ! ‘ I said fondly .

” Well I tell you what – I’m going to take you down to our store room an give you a box and let you take as many books as you like and we will ship them to you “

Oh my God.

We went downstairs through a big maze of furniture and boxed books . John showed me a whole room of shelved books , gave me my box and said ” Take whatever you want  .”

I looked at all those hundreds of books and said ‘” This is like a dream “

I began looking through books . I was happy to see I owned many many of them already . There were books on glass bead making , knitting , crocheting, wire jewelry , artist journals , pottery , glass blowing , photography , cupcakes – everything you could possibly want . It was 5.oo . Every one was leaving the building . I could hear things being locked up . I became gripped by the idea that I would be locked in all night with all these books .

I picked out books faster . Was I being greedy ? Yes !

I hesitated but pressed on. I wrote my address on the box which was full and picked out a crocheting book and a glass beadmaking book to take with me . Just in case they changed their minds . And I left

I felt supremely rich .

Yarnbombing And The Wandering Heart

25 Mar

All yarnbombers hate having their tags taken down . It makes me feel sad , mad , insulted , vaguely persecuted and a little silly .  But you have to take that risk to yarnbomb  , no romance with out rejection apparently.

And it’s such a wonderful thrill , a miracle when everyone silently agrees to leave a yarnbomb up on a fence for weeks and weeks  ,  so many  people being kind .

When I started this felt heart street art series I knew that it would be tricky – the hearts are really fun to own and put up on your own wall  . I knew I would be putting out a big marshmallow and asking everyone to to not eat it .

I put this big blue heart up at a construction site on a temporary Tri City fence . After a month I drove by one day and not only heart was gone but the whole fence was gone . Poof ! I posted  a picture of the felt heart and the fence on my Facebook page and told all my friends that my heart was gone .

The next morning I got up , put on my brown handspun sweater , drank a quart of water and went to my computer to look at Facebook . They tell us that Facebook is keeping us from our flesh and blood friends but my physical friends don’t want to talk about yarnbombing first thing in the morning . So I opened up my Facebook page and there was the most amazing thing .

My heart was sitting on that same Tri City fence but now it was up in Sonoma !  The fence had come down in Berkeley with the heart still attached and had gone back up again at a different site  with the heart still on it.

This made up for all the moping and grinding of teeth over my many disappeared hearts . The first traveling yarnbomb !

This is what it said under the picture . ” You have friends in many mysterious places . The felt heart stayed out all night wet and frozen and now it is  a perfect hardness. ‘

I was so happy to find my hard blue heart .

Sf Weekly post with yarnbombing here

Yarnbombing And The Safeway Fence

27 Feb

This construction fence started my whole felt bombing project . This is not a bad fence , it’s just a very big domineering fence . I looked at this fence and wanted to yarnbomb  it.

I’d been thinking a lot about chain link fences and how they make us feel . This big fence went up suddenly and really changed the neighborhood visually. I felt kind of pushed aside by it and it made me think about – who decides what we have to look at ?

We look at so many things every day that advertisers are making us look at . Plus bill boards . Construction projects . Harsh metal fences on empty abandoned corners.

It makes me want to cover everything with knitting .

I’ve gotten a little soft in my yarnbombing after spending so much time doing The Oakland Museum commission. I was really jittery about yarnbombing this big , public privately owned corporate fence. This is good , it’s important to go towards what scares us.

I started yarnbombing by walking all the way around the fence looking for the right spot and for security guards. A well equipped guard walked slowly by . I decided he was guarding The Bank Of America. Wiring , wiring , I got a heart up in 5 different squares. And they didn’t look right at all ! .

I realized that the 5 hearts together were a new art piece and they needed composition .  Composing an installation is the same as composing a piece . I took them all down and started all over. Very nerve wracking.

And then I thought ” Oh what the heck , what”s the worst thing any one can do to me ? Yell ? “

That’s when the meter maid pulled up and started ticketing my car .

I decided that I should group all the heart tightly on 2 panels . I wanted the color and the pattern of the hearts to be startling and strong .As I wired them up the fence began to look like an art show. People began to stop and look and take pictures.  I knew then that I had gotten it right.

This was installation was only up for 2 days before someone – probably the fence owner – took it all down. I knew that it was extremely likely that this would happen and I wanted to do it anyway. For most street art it only lasts as a picture and I was very happy that I knuckled down and took the time to make an installation that would make a fine photo. All the rest of the hearts are still up and I get to see them as I drive all around.

    Berkeleyside had a contest to identify all 6 yarnbombed hearts installations. The prize was a box of chocolate. i really wanted to enter , I could have won for sure . The contest here.

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