And why you might want to try it yourself
I have mixed feelings about yarn bombs.
My pragmatic and decidedly utilitarian side thinks that they are a waste of time and yarn.
My more whimsical side thinks that yarn bombs are fun and that fun is good.
Durham, North Carolina
My first experience participating in the creation of a yarn bomb was in March of 2011. A crochet guild I was active in at the time had set as one of our community projects the yarn bombing of “Major,” a large bronze sculpture of a bull, located in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Whatever argument I might have had with myself, the whimsical side won out and not only did I make large pieces of crochet for inclusion in the overall design, I helped put the finishing touches on the piece:
It was an interesting project that got a fair amount of attention, but while I was glad I participated, I still didn’t have a clear sense of the power of yarn bombing.
My next encounter with a yarn bomb came a couple of months later. My husband and I had driven to Annapolis for the day to see the Raleigh Boychoir (of which my youngest son was a member) sing the prelude for the Protestant Baccalaureate service at the United States Naval Academy.
After a successful performance, followed by a tour of the Academy, we got in the car and headed south, back to Raleigh.
On the way, we stopped at “Louisiana Flair,” which was my “go to” dining spot whenever I found myself in Richmond, and it was there, as we walked from the restaurant back to our car, that I encountered my first yarn bomb “in the wild”
I oohed and aahed over what struck me as an ingenious use of Red Heart Super Saver spring green, pretty ‘n pink, and bright yellow. Who, I wondered, was Knitorious? I asked that question in a blog post, and within 24 hours, the ever elusive Knitorious had left this comment at my blog:
Glad you enjoyed your stop + my bomb in RVA, Crochetbug!
There aren’t words to describe how it feels to find a yarn bomb and then reach out into the universe and connect with the yarn bomber, but it is a little like thinking you have found the keys to the universe — and maybe you have.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Fast forward to August 2017: a crochet peep sent me a link to an announcement of crochet news in my area — Olek, was going to be leading a workshop in Raleigh.
The purpose of the workshop was to teach the specific crochet technique used to make the panels for Olek’s distinctive crochet installations. As part of her “Love Across the USA” tour, she had planned an installation to celebrate the life and music of Nina Simone that would be installed on the side of the Raleigh Convention Center.
The workshop was during the time of year that I think of as “state fair crochet season.” I had a decision to make. Grab the opportunity and risk not finishing my state fair piece for the third year in a row, or just stick to doing my state fair piece.
It wasn’t an easy decision for me. I had already failed to finish the state fair piece in question for two years running. Another missed deadline would make it three, but it isn’t everyday that the mountain comes so close to you, so I decided to make the 20 minute drive to the mountain.
I learned a lot while I was there, and most importantly (for me), I was selected for the assembly team, so in mid-October — when I had missed the state fair deadline for a third time — I at least got to learn how to put together the 162 panels that comprised the finished piece.
When it was done, it was truly a sight to behold:
I took the time to write a number of blog posts memorializing the techniques used because I thought someone somewhere might want to use them some day.
As it happens, I was the someone, and the somewhere was the back fence of my new home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Near North Valley
There were a lot of features we liked about the the house that we were buying in Albuquerque, but one of the more important features, as far as I was concerned, was the fence.
It is a smooth expanse that borders on a walking trail, and it struck me as “just right” to install a yarn bomb. I had all sorts of ideas for what the first project could be. Most of my ideas were more ambitious than would be reasonable for a solo first project, but after four “crochet seasons,” I had finally finished work on the afghan that had bedeviled me.
In terms of my crochet, I was at loose ends and ready to work on something that was more straightforward and smoother sailing than my project I had just finished, and I was ready to try my hand at a yarn bomb.
After several rather frustrating attempts to use something called Stitchboard, I decided to go old school, and I got out a graph paper notebook and pen and made some preliminary designs:
With the design work begun, I got out my hook and yarns and set to work.
Over the course of the next seven days I crocheted and made graphs, made graphs and crocheted, and eventually all of the pieces were done:
All I had to do was join all of the pieces and staple it to the fence!
I worked furiously in an effort to make sure I had my piece up in time for Day of the Dead. After having missed the state fair three years in a row, I wanted to make sure that I cemented some more finishing mojo.
I stayed up late, I got up early, and then all of the pieces were joined. But I had overlooked getting a staple gun and the staples needed to secure the finished piece to the fence. Fortunately, the new house, in addition to having an enviable fence, is also near a hardware store where I was able to get the supplies I needed.
After carefully reading the staple gun instructions, I took my piece out to the fence, and after several hesitations, I finally decided where to place the first staple, and it was in that moment, when the staple gun released that first staple, that I truly felt the power of a yarn bomb.
I made a few mistakes as I put up my piece, but I had remembered to buy an industrial strength staple remover, so I was able to correct my mistakes as I went, and soon, the yarn bomb was up for all the world to see:
When I began my project, I had thought that the power of the yarn bomb would come from the making of it, but it turned out the real power of the yarn bomb comes from sharing it.