Yarn Bombers Liven Up Public Spaces

Guerilla knitting hits the Waterfront sheep in Belfast. (Photo: Alan in Belfast/Flickr)

Nature is inherently playful. Think of a squirrel falling off a branch into a stream, birds soaring on thermals for no "reason" or dolphins cresting waves. But once we become adults, most humans make little room for play, and urban environments are especially regulated and organized. Usually, they don't feel very fun or festive. And often, they don't even feel particularly human, even though we design and live in them.

Enter guerilla knitting, the practice of taking boring public surfaces — think lamp posts, poles and bike racks — and making them colorful and patterned by covering them in hand-knitted fabric. First attributed to the Knitta Please group out of Houston, Texas, in 2005, the practice quickly spread throughout the world, and is especially popular in Europe and Australia.

Also called yarn bombing, graffiti knit and knit tagging, it's considered street art and textile art at the same time. Check out some of the fun videos of this public art below:

Knitting in action! A pole in Marianblad.

A tree in Mainz, Germany.

Yarn bombing in Madison, Wisconsin, as part of a public art project by the Department of Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Human Ecology and the Madison Knitters' Guild.

Interested in learning more? Check out the teaser for the Yarn Graffiti documentary, which is currently in production.