Warmth on a Rainy Day

4651578380_586d344f33_oWe were in Coogee yesterday.

Waiting for two very important hospital appointments.

It was raining. Sue and I were off to a hairdresser at the top of the town.

To our delight, as we approached the traffic crossing, we saw some guerilla knitting above the button to press to cross the road.

I thought about taking a photograph of the knitting that wrapped the post but decided to wait until it stopped raining. It was a yellow sleeve with L.O.V.E. knitted beautifully into the sleeve.

When we returned twenty minutes later it had gone!

We wondered who had taken it. We hoped it might be one of the members of Guerilla Knitting Sydney taking it home to dry.

We hoped that others had an opportunity to smile on a wet day too. Guerilla knitting does that to you.

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Photo Credits

Coogee (Matthew Knott, CC BY NC-SA 2.0)

Guerilla Knitting (Nomad Tales, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Yarn Bombing: A Christmas Treat

My daughter Beth was given a delightful book for Christmas. Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain have written Yarn Bombing (2009) “the definitive guidebook to covert textile street art.” Ironically the image I have chosen from the book (page 85) is from a seascape!

Whenever Beth put the book down I was able to explore some of the wonderful stories and images in the book. I was delighted to find a manifesto created by Incogknito (page 106):

  • We anonymously promote knitting as adventure.
  • We aim to soften the edges of an otherwise cruel. harsh environment.
  • We juxtapose vandalism with the non-threatening nature of knitting.
  • We aim to readdress the nature of graffiti with a nonpermanent, nondestructive cosy medium.
  • If you don’t like it just unpick it.
  • We are a non-discriminating collective.
  • We aim to recruit members to tag on an international scale.
  • Actively contributing to a more positive type of global warming.

The manifesto concludes with the questions “Do you have too much responsibility in your life? Do you yearn for something pointless?” The manifesto suggests that if the answer is ‘yes’ then join the movement and become an outlaw knitter.

Some guerilla knitting appeared near my office at the University of Canberra and my response was in harmony with Mandy and Leanne’s introductory chapter:

Yarn bombing can be political, it can be heart-warming, and it can be funny, Most of all, yarn graffiti is unexpected, and it resonates with almost everyone who encouters it.

Reflecting on the book, its, images and its vibrant social essence encouraged me to think about how social media play a similar role although its pervasiveness (particularly in its Twitter forms) leaves some people with less resonance than the spontaneous joy of encountering yarn bombing.

(Page 81, Yarn Bombing)

I put the book down thinking about Jan ter Heide‘s observation that:

You can change the world a little by doing things, very small things, not big things, but very small things. It sticks in people’s minds. That was the start of this kind of idea (Knitted Landscape), to do something positive.

… and realising I had my 2010 resolution!

The Joy of Finding Guerilla Knitting

Rose White has observed that Guerrilla knitting has “a couple of meanings in the knitting community – to some, it merely means knitting in public, while to others, it means creating public art by knitted means.”

Her talk at the 24th Chaos Communication Congress noted that:

Contemporary knitters feel very clever for coming up with edgy language to describe their knitting, but the truth is that for decades there have been knitters and other textile artists who are at least as punk rock as today’s needle-wielders. This talk will cover the vibrant history of contemporary knitting, with a focus on projects that will make you say, “Wow, that’s knitted?”

Today at the University of Canberra I had that wow feeling. I came across these examples of the art form.

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The anonymity of guerilla knitting is such that I have no idea who installed these pieces. They may be devotees of Knitta. Or perhaps an acolyte of Bronwen Sandland. Perhaps someone from Parramatta. Whoever it was made it an unforgettable day for me … the first time since 2002 I have seen knitting in the wild!

This delight led me to concur with Kristin at Spinhandspun Design who observes that:

By covering construction sites, road signs, and technologies in handmade materials, each piece reminds us that our symbolic environments deserve a second skin: softer, warmer, imperfect, and tattooed with subtle reminders of our humanity. Ideas spread through human interactions…