Friday, August 26, 2011

article in the Record

I went in earlier this week to meet with Michael Fitzgerald regarding our yarnbombing of California Street. We had a pretty good chat in his "corner office" (his desk is in one of the corners of the newsroom) about what Knitorious 209 is doing, why I personally like it and a bit of background about my interest in crafts. I knew an article was going to be in the paper later in the week (Friday or Sunday) but wasn't sure when, or what all would be in it.

Cue the text messages, starting shortly after 7 am. "Have you seen the front page of the Record?" was the first.

My first thought? "Oh dear... my mother is going to kill me."*

Our article is actually on page A-3 (and continued on A-4), but when I dashed off to the 7-11 on my way to work (yes, I don't subscribe anymore - sometimes I didn't have time to read it, and unopened papers would pile up in the basket inside the door, making a comfy bed for the cats to sleep on).... I wasn't sure what to expect.

My jaw dropped when I saw the top of the paper.  (and I like that below is the headline "Nightmare Scenario". Not that the East Coast is in danger from a hurricane, just how it reads: "Stockton Goes Knits.... Nightmare Scenario".)

The "pom-bomb" on the cover is the one we left for Mr. Fitzgerald on the front door of the Record's office, back in June.

It is an amazing article, and Knitorious appreciates the publicity! We also hope it inspires others to yarn-bomb the area as well.

[ETA:] We've also been featured on his blog today as well. Check it out, here.

* She didn't kill me, BTW, but when I called her up - before she'd read the paper - she asked if I was quoted in the paper, and when I confirmed it, she said "Oh, no...."

Spool Knitting...

My dad taught me spool knitting, using a spool he had used as child. It was made by a relative of one of his childhood friends. I loved working on it during car rides, especially when I tagged along with him on vacation when he went to the Santa Cruz and Tahoe regions. After he passed away, going through the storage unit he kept and sorting through things to sell, keep or trash was my job. I cried when I rediscovered this spool in a box of miscellaneous toys and things from my childhood.

I'm currently working on a project for a friend and co-worker in pastel blue/green/lavender variegated crochet thread. Sorry the picture's a bit blurry.

A similar item, called a Wonder Knitter (by Clover) was used to make some of the items for the June 11th yarn-bombing; specifically the snakes and the cherry stems. I also hope to make antenna cozies to put on automobile antennas.  :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yarnbombing: Patterns and ideas...

You don't have to be an expert knitter or crocheter to yarnbomb; a knowledge of the basics is all that you'll need.

There are two ways that Knitorious 209 approaches yarnbombing. One way is to pre-make little items using scraps of yarn: flowers, butterflies, pom-pons... quick and easy projects that can take only a few minutes to do. Add a knit or crochet strap or attach to a larger piece, like a rectangle. This way, you can always carry some with you in case you find a spot in need of a little color.

Many of our patterns have been found here: Crochet Pattern Central and Knitting Pattern Central. We've also free-handed many items (crochet works great for this, but knitters can do it, also). If you want a little variety, check out different stitch patterns. Granny squares, basketweave stitch, puff stitch... These all add a bit of texture and interest.

The other way we've yarnbombed is pre-planning and designing, like we did with MLK Jr. Plaza. I used Google Maps to find the place, then switched to street view to get an idea of the place and the neighborhood around it. What kind of fixtures were there: statues, monuments, light poles, benches? What kind of plant life did we have? Was there anything else interesting nearby?

After that, we actually drove over there (in a light rain) and three of us wandered around the park after dark; brainstorming. We had tape measures to get some measurements of parking meters, benches, flag pole, statue. We eyed the trees and how low the branches were, and looked around, watching for pedestrian and street traffic patterns.

The evening of, we dressed normally; nothing bright or flashy. Purses were not brought; just car keys and ID, zip ties and round-tipped scissors (in case we get caught and have to take things down), and dark tote bags with the "bombs" inside, separated into their own plastic bags so nothing will tangle. (This is crucial with items like the pom-bombs.) It is quick and easy to use a zip tie or two to secure a yarnbomb. Some people sew or crochet together the ends of the item - that can be difficult in the dark! There are people who yarnbomb in broad daylight... so far, we haven't tried that option.  :)

This weekend, I'll post the instructions for how some of us make our pom-bombs! We use fancy pom-pon makers, but you can make your own out of some cardboard!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pictures from the California Street yarn bombing!

As I was in downtown Stockton this afternoon, I decided to check in and see how our yarn bombing was holding up.

My first (and favorite) monster foot was gone. For some reason, bus stops seem to lose their decorations quickest. I don't know why... is it a city worker? someone on the street?

Some of the paper tags were gone on things remaining up. I don't know if people are removing them, or they're being whipped around in the wind, or what. May have to experiment with stronger paper...

Anyhow, I took pics of only one side of the street, as I did not want to run across a busy street to get the other side's "bombs". I did see several still up, some with the papers waving in the breeze.

Is this what they call a California Stop? Well, it has a foot on the bottom of the pole; maybe it will hop out and attack you!

 A closer view of the foot. Much nicer tagging than the sprayed graffiti on the ground.

A flower on the corner of the fence. Tag was gone, and it looks like someone gave it a good yank.

This "pom-bomb" did not last - someone either wanted it, or didn't like it, I'm guessing.

Another monster foot on the No Parking sign. This one was missing its tag, also.

Close-up of the foot.

A little flower wrapped around a pole; again, missing tag (no, that's not it in the bushes behind). This was turned to face the other way; I twisted it around before taking a photo (yes, I'm advising it was staged. Well, "adjusted".)

Another flower bomb, this one placed up high. Yay! Still a tag attached!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

California Street "bombing"

Last night, three of us went yarn-bombing along California Street, between Alpine and Pine Streets. We did quite a few little things, especially in front of a children's clinic, where some of the poles got monster feet. We snapped a couple of pictures - hope to go back tomorrow or Monday and take some daylight pictures. I'm hoping to see if anyone comes here because of the new tags on the yarnbombs - we added a QR code to them.

We were supposed to be accompanied by Michael Fitzgerald from the Record, as he was unable to make it in June and had wanted to come along and participate, but he did not materialize or phone me, tho I had responded to his email requesting my cell number.

Our original plan had been to bomb the Miracle Mile for the street festival that was supposed to take place today, but 1) it had been bombed already by someone else on the 4th of July, and 2) the festival got cancelled.

Note to other yarn-bombers: do not buy zip ties at the 99 cent store. They break easily! Will be sticking with better-quality zip ties in the future.

We have a few large "art projects" in mind for next year, though they will take some planning (and hopefully more participants - yes, we welcome volunteers!). Meantime, we will probably do one more bombing in the next couple of months... we want to do places that need a little fun and color, where there's a good amount of foot traffic. Suggestions welcome!

And I want to thank the UPS Store in Lodi for their awesome job in helping us prepare our paper hang tags. The previous time, we got them printed at another store, but for some reason, the embedded fonts in my .pdf file don't save correctly, so some of the text comes out with pictographs. The original store had fixed the issue back in June, but apparently has new, less-proficient staff working the copy center. The owner of the UPS Store was able to fix the issue and get the copies printed ASAP, without charging a "rush" fee that the original store was going to charge me.

Off to work on some pom-bombs for the next time!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are you here because of a "tag"?

Did you find something like this floating around somewhere unusual?

We've been placing small yarnbombs in cities around the 209 area code since June of 2011. Yes, it can be viewed as vandalism, though it is temporary and shouldn't harm anything. We're being very careful about how we're doing this, to be considerate of property and plant life.

If you found our tags... What did you think when you noticed the yarn? Did it remind you of something, someone, or an important memory? Did it please you? Annoy you? Baffle you? Please comment and let us know.

Yes, we realize there are much more "worthy" things we could be doing with our scrap yarn. But it's ours. We have made blankets, scarves, hats and other items for charity groups in the past - most recently for Warm Up America earlier this year. We are entitled to have fun, too, aren't we?  :)