The Life Expectancy of a Yarn Bomb

Walking down Sydney Road last week I did a double take when a familiar looking orange, pink and blue woolly cuff caught my eye. It was the yarn bomb Grace and I put up almost a year ago, looking significantly grubbier than last time I saw it.

Before: February 2012

After: November 2012

I hadn’t really given much thought to the life expectancy of a yarn bomb before. I think I assumed that you put them up and left them, and they brought sunshine into people’s lives forever and ever after that. But no. They get bleached by the sun, matted by the rain and dusty from passing traffic.

We went back with a pair of scissors yesterday and cut it down, like the socially responsible yarn bombers that we are.

All My Stuff Falls Apart and I Drop My First Yarn Bomb

I’ve been putting up with the burst seam on my rucksack for years. It’s the only piece of luggage I take if I go away for a long weekend and every time I stow it into an overhead luggage rack, I say a little prayer that this won’t be the time that it explodes and showers the other passengers with my balled-up knickers.

My big backpack is also falling apart. I only just bought it before I came here and already a metal rod has worked itself loose and speared through the strap so that it jabs me in the bum when I walk. I’m not very impressed with the design. It’s got all these fancy features that are supposed to make it suitable for mountain hiking and it can’t even withstand a few weeks propped up in the corner of a youth hostel dorm.

At least I got a good bit of wear out of my sandals before the stitching on one of the straps came undone. I’ve been putting up with that for a while too. When you travel, you just have to put up with some things. I kept wearing my jeans until the hole in the knee became so advanced that the lower leg nearly dropped right off.

The final straw was when the button popped off my denim skirt. I marched into Lincraft to buy a needle and thread and that was where I saw the flyer advertising a yarn bombing workshop.

A yarn bombing workshop! Can you believe it? So yarn bombing is no longer considered to be an illicit activity carried out only under the cover of darkness, but a worthwhile pursuit that is accessible to everyone. I signed myself up and went along to City Square a few weekends ago for the workshop, which was run by Melbourne based yarn bombing collective, Yarn Corner.

The previous day Yarn Corner had stitched up the trees in City Square in brightly coloured yarn bombs (with permission from the council) and the workshop took place under a canopy surrounded by these beautifully decorated trees. The ladies from Yarn Corner were so generous with their time and materials: they taught us how to knit and crochet and gave workshop attendees a free goody bag containing all the tools of the trade. They also shared their tips for successful yarn bombing. For example, measure the object you want to yarn bomb before you start knitting. Doh! Go out in pairs to put up your work – as well as having moral support, one person can hold the yarn bomb in place while another person stitches it up. Photograph your work immediately because if you leave and come back later to take a photo, it might be gone. If your work does disappear, don’t get too disheartened because you don’t know who’s taken it and why.

Over the following week, as well as making repairs to my rucksack and sewing the button back on my skirt, I crocheted two small squares. Grace also crocheted a square and last weekend we stitched them together and went along to Sydney Road to drop our first yarn bomb. While we were putting it up, two young guys walked past and one of them said thank you! It made my day :)