What happens when you combine the warm and fuzzy art of knitting and crochet with the gritty urban landscape? A phenomenon known as knitfiti, or yarn bombing!
Whether it’s wrapping a bike rack in colorful wool, knitting a cozy for a stop sign or covering a tree trunk in crochet, yarn bombing brings warmth and whimsy to things that have neither. In other words: It makes people smile.
If you’ve ever had a yearning to make the world a more cuddly place, then you’re in luck. We’ve got everything you need to know to take your handicraft off the couch and into the streets. Bombs away!
What is Yarn Bombing, Exactly?
A yarn bomb is a form of street art where yarn in any form (knit, crochet, latch hook, cross stitch, amigurumi or simple wrapping) adorns an object in the public environment. Think of it as graffiti, just sweeter and kinder (yarn installations aren’t permanent or destructive).
How to Yarn Bomb
1. Find the Target
Look around for a simple, plain object that might benefit from a little softness and color. Ideally, it should be close to home (so you won’t have to travel far and can keep an eye on it). It’s also a good idea to check in with the art council or city council if it’s on public property.
If you plan to knit or crochet a fabric, then choose a 3D object that you can sew your fabric around, like a tree, street post or statue. While scoping out your options, make sure there’s a way to keep your yarn bomb from falling down. If you choose to wrap a street-sign pole, for example, you’ll need to figure out a way to attach a string (into a hole in the post, maybe, or around the sign), so the yarn doesn’t droop to the ground at the first hint of rain.
If you plan to cross stitch or latch hook directly onto an object, look for something that with plenty of openings, like a fence or a park bench.
You can also adorn an existing object with handmade pieces, like adding pom poms to tree branches, or amigurumi to a park bench.
2. Sketch and Measure
Draw a rough diagram of your object, then take measurements of each section you’re planning to cover, including height, width and/or circumference, and put them on your diagram. For example, if you plan to yarn bomb a tree, draw a diagram of the area you plan to cover, then measure the circumference of the trunk at both wider and thinner parts and the height of the area you want to cover, as well as the length and circumference of any branches you intend to wrap.
A fabric-measuring tape will work best since it lets you measure oddly shaped objects, such as the arms of a statue or branches on a tree.
3. Start Designing
Decide if you will be knitting, crocheting or using another fiber technique to make your yarn bomb. In creating a design, consider:
- What colors am I going to use?
- Will I be creating a repeating pattern?
- Will I be putting an image into my piece?
- Will I be creating a patchwork piece?
4. Start Stitching!
Make the pieces that match the measurements on your diagram. For example, if you have a tree trunk that measures 36 inches around and 50 inches tall, then create a rectangular piece with those measurements. Keep in mind that you'll be sewing a seam on the object when you install it using yarn and a yarn sewing needle.
If your plan is to latch hook, cross stitch or wrap yarn around an object, do any planning, measuring/cutting and pre-assembling you can.
5. Commence Bombing
When choosing the best time to install your woolly wonder, consider: Will it be easier during the day when you can see what’s going on, even though it will risk your anonymity? Or would it be better to do it at night when no one is around?
What to Bring
- Any necessary tools
- A ladder if you need to reach tall branches
- A friend so you feel safe installing in the evening
- Your diagram to help you find the corresponding pieces
- A yarn sewing needle, yarn and scissors if you'll be sewing
Wrap each piece around your object, and use a simple stitch to close the seams. If you need to use several pieces to cover different parts, use a simple stitch to sew all of the pieces together to create the illusion of one cohesive piece.
Thanks, yarn bomber — you just made the world a cozier place!