Happy International Yarn Bombing Day

I recently discovered that June 9th is International Yarn Bombing Day. The origins of yarn bombing (or knit graffiti) are often debated, but it is said to have begun in Texas, USA in 2005. Colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn are displayed in public places, often by anonymous crafters.

It got me thinking about whether I would ever have the confidence or skills to participate in a yarn bombing. What motivates people? Is it just a fun way to express creativity, or are there statements to be made? Whatever the idea behind a yarn bomb, it sure is a fun way to decorate a street or item, and it’s bound to make people stop and smile.

My yarn bombing research led me to rediscover all the recent knit graffiti I had seen online and in the national and local news.

Some of you may have seen the recent press about guerrilla knitwear artist Olek’s crocheted outfits for Anthony Gormley sculptures on Crosby Beach, Merseyside. Although the sculptures have been on the beach since 2005, Olek wanted to transform the sculptures into something new. She says “By covering them and giving them a new skin, I made them more alive”. Would this be the same for a tree? Or a railing? I know if I discovered a branch covered in a multicoloured plethora of yarn, it would certainly make me notice the tree when I would have otherwise walked on by.

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It’s said to be technically illegal to yarn bomb (considered a form of graffiti), but many local knitting groups are embracing the trend and I even discovered a recent yarn bomb in the nearby city of Norfolk.

The Norfolk Ninja Knitters spruced up lamposts and sculptures outside the City Hall, but sadly the council removed the yarn bombs 🙁

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These yarn bombs I found on Pinterest are really inspiring….

I love this London phone box, with Big Ben as the backdrop!

Source: www.knitthecity.com / Image © Knit the City

This one would really make people think twice about dodging parking fees…..

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I wonder how long this tree yarn bomb took?

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Have you spotted a great yarn bomb in your area? Have you ever yarn bombed?

Claire x

 

 

Crochet at The Sheep Shop

As part of my handmade mission for 2012, one of the goals I set myself was to learn how to crochet. I’ve always dabbled with a bit of knitting, but never really understood the concept of making items with just one hook? Where do the stitches go? How do all these loops make a hat or a scarf? It was time for a class.

The Sheep Shop is my favourite place to buy yarn in Cambridge. When I discovered they also ran classes, my craft buddy (formerly study buddy) Jess and I signed up for beginners crochet.

The Sheep Shop is run by Sarah, who happily answered some questions about her journey with yarn….

When did The Sheep Shop open?

November 23rd 2011 (I hadn’t realised – it’s 6 months!)

Can you tell me a bit about the beginnings of the shop & why you started this venture?

I felt Cambridge didn’t have much choice for nice yarns, and no comfy environment to revel in choosing them.  The idea kept popping into my head that I could open a yarn shop myself.   I used to work for the county council waste team so it was a big step, but eventually I listened to that idea, and am very glad I did as it’s a joy every day to meet the most lovely people (all knitters are lovely!) and be surrounded by all this incredible colour and texture.

What kind of response have you had to the shop & the classes?

It’s been rapturous. It makes life worth living when people go round stroking everything like they’re cats in a field of catnip – and some have purred.  They’ve been very generous with their comments.  A lot of praise belongs to my wonderful mother – she’s the one who designed the shop and all the decorative and display touches.  The classes are still settling in.  We’ve found some awesome teachers, but trying to match what people want to learn with when they want to learn it is a bit of a learning curve, some have ended up very oversubscribed with others empty.

What is the best item you would recommend in the shop? Favourite yarn etc?

Argh, I love everything!  Circular needles are the bees knees – they are more comfortable to use, easier to carry around, and knitting in the round means you can cut down on seaming, purling and if you’re doing Fair Isle you always have the pattern side facing you.  And interchangeable ones mean you don’t have to have millions of sets of needles of every size and every length.  So the Knit Pro needles are A Good Thing.  I’m a sucker for soft and silky yarns which feel heavenly between the fingers.  My favourite yarns are Mirasol Miski (baby llama), Malabrigo Merino Worsted (supersoft wool), Louisa Harding Grace (silk/wool blend – was up until 2am knitting it because I didn’t want to put it down!) and the Hjertegarn bamboo/cotton mixes – these are cheap as chips but feel silky and gorgeous.

Which do you prefer, Crochet or Knitting?

Well, I’m a bit of a one-trick pony.  I’ve only done a tiny bit of crochet, but keep coming across marvellous patterns on Ravelry and then have a “damn, it’s crochet” moment.  So I guess I’d better learn!

 

Such pretty yarns! For the class we chose some bright colours to crochet with and got to work on understanding the basic stitches and differences between UK/US terms (which I found highly confusing!).

Our teacher Michelle, was self taught and she was kind enough to share with us her many projects which provided inspiration. How lovely is this lace scarf?

At the end of the class we attempted a Granny Square, but I know I am going to need more practice. That’s why I’ve signed up for another course! (I also used really dark purple yarn which made it super hard to see the stitches.)

Many thanks to Michelle for a great class and to Sarah for the lovely hospitality and advice on yarn and books. I’m really looking forward to my next class and feel lucky to have this tranquil corner of yarn in my neighbourhood.

The Sheep Shop has a great Ravelry group and also Facebook and Twitter pages.

Have you been learning to knit or crochet? I’d love to hear your experiences and see your projects – please leave a comment!

Claire x

Postcard from Cambridge

For a while now I’ve been getting to grips with my SLR Camera and venturing out on photography trips around my home city. Cambridge is hugely photographic, with plenty of postcard images on every corner. Combined with the creative buzz, architecture, river views and green spaces, it is difficult not to feel inspired every day. I know I am lucky to live here.

I hope you will enjoy my ‘tour’ of the city through this post. If you don’t even plan to ever visiting Cambridge, I hope the photography will at least be something nice to look at.

The most iconic/postcard image of the city is Kings College, used by locals and tourists as a hotspot for outdoor lunch or meeting up (weather permitting) to watch the world go by.

Just opposite, is the super tasty and decadent Fudge Kitchen where you can taste, make and buy SLABS (yes, slabs) of fudge to take home. I recently tried the maple syrup & walnut fudge and it.was.amazing. They even have a loyalty card with double points on a Friday. Win.

The Market Square hosts all manner of sellers, incuding my favourite vintage sellers Retrovert and the Ostrich Farmer on Sundays. Waffles, fresh flowers, cakes and fruit and veg all week, come rain or shine. A shopping must for visitors and residents.

The River Cam is my little haven for quiet time and walks. Equally you can join the masses and punt along the backs of the college or even get up at the crack of dawn for rowing training. I am lucky enough to live incredibly close to the river.

My prerequisite for living in Cambridge, was getting a bicycle. It is the best way to get around the city and my trusty dutch bike gets me places in all weathers! You see all sorts of cyclists in the city, from those riding with an umbrella to pooches in baskets.

The Sheep Shop is a definite for knitters and crochet fans. Tucked away along the river, this quiet haven of yarn includes a shop and courses at a reasonable price. This weekend I will take the first steps towards learning crochet – watch this space!

I hope you enjoyed the tour today!

Claire x