Sweaters not Bombs!

Sweaters not Bombs!

Yarn Bombing? A new worldwide craze has knitters and crocheters  adorning city objects – lampposts, fire hydrants, statues, bike racks and the like-  in knitted apparel. Produced in workshops mostly on knitting machines, then fitted stealthily during darkness, these creations, ranging from leg warmers to car covers, has been dubbed a “feminine” form of graffiti.  (This in itself is a bit sexist, as many men knit.)  

(see:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/fashion/creating-graffiti-with-yarn.html )

The garments fray within a few weeks, disintegrate, leaving bits of yarn for birds to build nests.

As a knitter, I’m baffled.

Why make something – and these projects aren’t your “make in an hour TV slippers”—that doesn’t last?

Sure I make sweaters and blankets for babies that outgrow them; and sweaters for myself that go out of style. Baby items are passed down to another child and I bring my old things to Goodwill. Someone might enjoy it!   My sister has recycled old sweaters by boiling them up so they shrink, creating “felted “ wool, and has made new sweaters by sewing pieces together. I’ve seen puppets and stuffed animals made the same way.   Grandson Simon wearing an original

“Hand knit by Grandma”

I’m all for public art. My town has a rotating sculpture display. While I might not like everything, I like seeing art in unexpected places. I love the painted deer, bears, and cows that some towns sponsor, often as a contest or for fund-raising,  providing artists opportunities to showcase their talents.  

Many charities are devoted to knitting for hospitals and the military.

Surely the expertise and imagination of these handcrafters could be put to better use.  Inanimate objects don’t need warmth; pre-mature babies and soldiers do.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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7 Responses to Sweaters not Bombs!

  1. Madeline Taylor: Last time I was at Earlham, I spotted several knit-covered trees. I just figured Indiana had gotten a lot colder…


  2. I like the pictures you add to the posts.


  3. Leslie Carno-Harf says:

    Interestingly, we have that in one neighborhood of Cleveland bordering Shaker Hts. which is an artistic funky area that struggles to remain relevant, as do many urban landscapes in Cleveland. This is a very suburban region.

    Someone decorated the trunks of the trees with knitwear and I personally love it. Why? It adds color and vibrancy to the drab winter landscape in Cleveland which is very, very grey at that time of year. You get the feeling of renewed life. I do agree that there are plenty of people who need clothes and that should definitely be a priority, but the stealthy revitalization of some older business neighborhoods is quite a fun way to add character to this struggling commercial/residential districts.


  4. Nathan says:

    I agree that it’s not the best public art material. Given the ecological and economic limits of wool production, every inch of yarn should go to clothing the many people in the world who lack. Sweaters for soldiers in the Afghan mountains makes more sense to me.


  5. Pingback: Summit’s Sculpture Statuary | cyclingrandma

  6. Caroline says:

    I’m also a knitter and I’ve never heard of ‘knitting’ for public art displays. The first thing I thought is I hope that wasn’t expensive yarn. Gosh, the cost sure goes up when making a project. I’ve only made scarves and blankets. Cold weather is approaching, so I need to find new yarns. 🙂


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