Have you come across random objects in public spaces with a knitted covering? Like graffiti but with yarn! How I love the wonderful unique art of yarn bombing. Want to know the history, and how to do it? Read my guide and learn all about it!
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I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 28, 2023.
What Is Yarn Bombing?
Yarn bombing is a street art involving covering surfaces in public places with knit or crochet designs. It’s used to make a statement, or add fun and whimsy to an everyday object. It’s called Wool Bombing, Yarn Storming, Yarnbombing, Guerrilla Knitting, Kniffiti, Urban Knitting, and Graffiti Knitting.(1)
What Is The Purpose Of Yarn Bombing?
Most yarn bombers see their work as street art that’s temporary, non-destructive, and often interactive. The people who do it are also called yarn bombing crews, Fiber artists (fibre artists), and Guerrilla knitters.
Yarn bombs are a way to bring people together and build community spirit. It’s often used to raise awareness for a cause or make people smile.
For many yarn bombers, it’s part street art, and part one of the many new and creative forms of activism. The Twilight Taggers use it as a fun way for drawing attention to feminist ideals and anti-consumerist causes.
The Craft Club, in Essex, the UK, became Guinness World Record holders for the largest yarn bomb ever! It took place at a children’s hospice, involving 13,388 crocheted objects!
Where Did Yarn Bombing Start?
The earliest known instance of yarn bombing was in 2005. Magda Sayeg knitted a cozy for the door handle of her Houston boutique. She’s often credited with starting the yarn bombing trend, but it’s likely that others were doing similar things before.
Once, she and a team yarn bombed an entire bus in Mexico City! That would certainly draw attention to the craft! Here’s her TED talk discussing her adventurers in covering objects in public spaces around the world.
It’s a great insight into the mind of a yarn bomber and how the global community has grown. A fiber artist, Lauren O’Farrel, (AKA Deadly Knitshade), founded the group Knit the City in London in 2007.
Who Invented Yarn Bombing?
The term “yarn bombing” was coined in 2005 by Magda Sayeg, who’s credited with starting the yarn bombing movement. She inspired the formation of many groups, resulting in yarn bombing crews founded in Europe, Australia and Canada.
How To Yarn Bomb
If you’re new to yarn bombing, start with something small and simple like a doorknob cozy or a plant pot cozy. Use cheap knitted or crochet yarn like acrylic.
- To choose your target, pick an object that’s easy to cover and that won’t be damaged by yarn
- Make your piece of yarn art by knitting or crocheting a square or rectangle. Make multiple squares and sew them together. You’ll need something that’s big enough to cover your target.
- Attach your piece to the target, this will often involve hand sewing the ends of the knitted fabric together that go around the object.
- You can attach embellishments like tassels, pom poms, small knitted creatures or flowers to add interest.
- Stand back and admire your yarn bombed handiwork!
Congratulations, you’re now a yarn bomber. Remember to do it safely and get permission for your installation activities.
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Yarn Bombing Ideas
Yarn bombing can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Small knit projects or massive ones.
Here are some ideas: a doorknob cozy, a plant pot cozy, knitted hat or scarf for a statue bust, words knit into a blanket or scarf and hung on a fence, a bench cushion, a mailbox cozy, a park bench blanket, an old bicycle, a street lamp cozy or one for lamp posts, or a whole car!
There are many possibilities and creative forms for yarn bombing installations in an urban environment. They all vary in texture depending on the yarns chosen. Avoid doing it on public property like a stop sign.
Here’s a video tutorial by Hooked by Robin on one example of a yarn bomb.
It’s a fascinating look at the process.
How To Yarn Bomb A Tree
Always get permission before yarn bombing a tree. Most people recommend only leaving them on for a few weeks, and do it in the colder months, not when it’s warm.
How To Yarn Bomb A Chair
This is a great way to add a splash of color or pattern to an otherwise boring chair. Crochet or knit a large rectangle and drape it over the back of the chair.
How To Yarn Bomb A Bike
Make sure the bike is part of a garden or art installation before you start yarn bombing it. Pick a color scheme and knit or a piece that’s big enough to cover the seat or handlebars. Attach the piece.
FAQs About Yarn Bombing
How Is Yarn Bombing Different From Graffiti?
Yarn bombing is seen as a more whimsical form of street art. It’s temporary and doesn’t damage the surfaces it covers.
Does Yarn Bombing Hurt Trees?
Only if it’s nailed to the tree. If it’s just wrapped around, removed after a few weeks, and done when it’s cold, it’s fine!
What Is Yarn Bombing Day?
It’s celebrated on June 11th every year, as a way to encourage people to get out there and make something colorful!
Is Yarn Bombing Legal?
It depends on where you are and what you’re covering. Always get permission before you start yarn bombing.
Is Yarn Bombing Vandalism?
It depends on your point of view. Some people see it as street art, while others see it as vandalism.
How Does Yarn Bombing Differ From Traditional Street Art?
It differs because it’s usually temporary, non-destructive, and often interactive.
Hope you found this article helpful! If you have questions, leave a comment below. Happy yarn bombing!
Read next: All the wonderful yarns I recommend for your knitting projects.
- Wikipedia contributors. 2022. “Yarn Bombing.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. August 16, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Yarn_bombing&oldid=1104748702.