Periodically I like to mix things up so today's post is slightly off the beaten path. While I was a member at Southwood United Church in Calgary I co-ordinated the prayer shawl group. This is a ministry that involves a wonderful group of people who knit and crochet shawls to be given to people in need of prayer, comfort and support. (For more information on prayer shawl ministries visit the original shawl ministry website or email me). During this time I published a monthly newsletter that typically included a thought-provoking, faith building article along with a pot pourri of knitting/crocheting tips, facts, puzzles, etc. so I have an interest in all things "yarnish". From time to time, in addition to recipes, I'll be posting some knitting/crocheting related topics and sharing some of my experiences as I travel across Western Canada in my role as a medical sales representative.
Today during my drive back home from Calgary I stopped in to pick up a tea at Starbucks in the Chapters store in Red Deer. Given that I'd already had two cups of tea and three bottles of water I practically floated in the door. As I scurried past the pay phones, knees pressed together on the way to the washroom, I spotted a small sampling of public yarn bombing! What is yarn bombing you ask? This is the very same question I asked myself a couple of years ago when I first heard the term used on a CBC radio news broadcast in Saskatchewan. Given my innate sense of curiosity I was forced to resort to the only logical form of research...I googled it!
I was intrigued to discover that yarn bombing was created as a way of using up left over bits of yarn - the yarn is knit or crocheted into various forms and then used to decorate public areas. By the yarn bombers it's viewed as a form of creative expression, and I suppose that's how graffiti is viewed by its artists as well. Unlike regular graffiti though, yarn bombing is easy to clean up or remove. According to Wikipedia this is an art form that's popping up all over the world, with its origin in Texas...who knew! I was so excited to actually see a sampling of yarn bombing live and in all its fuzzy glory (even if it was a small sampling) that I raced back to the car, a silly grin of excitement plastered on my face to retrieve my cell phone and take a picture! This is actually the second incident of yarn bombing that I've witnessed - the first being in Victoria in December. However since we were driving down Douglas Street in rush hour traffic at the time I deemed it best not to leap out of the car to examine up close and personal.
Now I can certinaly see some obvious benefits to yarn bombing:
1. It's always a struggle to know what to do with those left over bits of yarn. If you're like me you're loathe to throw out ANY yarn in case you might NEED it at some point in the future so the yarn bombing activity solves that little dilemma!
2. Some of the public statues you see loitering on city street corners and parks could definitely use some livening up and maybe brightly coloured yarn is the answer.
3. If you've got too much time on your hands and want to add some excitement to your life this could be a good past time.
4. Don't forget the "what if I get caught" adrenaline rush that goes along with it! (I wonder if there's a fine or any by-laws against public yarn bombing. Is it considered defacing public property?)
So there you have it, the seedy underbelly of the knitting world rears its ugly head in an unsuspecting retail environment. What about you? Yarn bombing - creative expression or defacing public property? Have you witnessed a public yarn bombing? Please share your thoughts by clicking on "comments" below.