Who are these mysterious Yarn Bombers, and are there enough to both quench the thirst of our Yarn Bombing consumers and to keep the knittfitti going? Through my research I’ve discovered that there are many Yarn Bombers, some known and getting press, and others who post their conquests in blogs or on a Facebook page. I interviewed four Yarn Bombers to help get some insight to what these people are doing and where they believe Yarn Bombing will be headed in the next few years.
Picture By Magda Sayeg
I’ll start with the founder, Magda Sayeg started off with a group called Knitta Please in 2005, which as mentioned before was originally a sort of joke and social experiment to see how people would react to knit pieces out in public. The group contained between four and twelve people through its life and when it was disbanded, in 2007, Magda continued doing solo projects. However, even Yarn Bombing artists need help sometimes and Magda isn’t afraid to ask for volunteers to aid her in some of her bigger projects. Magda’s assistant, Karen McClellan, informed me that 177 showed up for a meeting in January for a community project in Austin and that they often receive emails from enthusiastic people asking if they can help with projects.
Picture by Cesar Ortega
While Magda is working on bigger and more complicated projects others are taking note and noticing Yarn Bombing, when asked what age group Yarn Bombing draws in the most I received the answer “I don’t really think its exclusive, it obviously draws kids because of the texture and color. Older generations are drawn to it because they remember their mothers or whoever knitting. But I think the 20s/30s/40s has to be our biggest fan group. There’s been a huge movement toward DIY and craft in the last few years, a new appreciation for handmade items.” This observation is good news for the future of Yarn Bombing, it shows that this sort of art is relatable and crosses the generation gap that other art forms do not. Yarn Bombing can be seen as appealing, colorful, and in your face, while also being soft and harmless in nature.
Picture by Insight 51
What does Magda see for the future of Yarn Bombing? She and her associates see this as only the beginning. “Magda is continuing to develop and evolve her work, and we only see the international movement getting stronger.” Karen McClellan says, “There are groups in every major city in the US and dozens of international cities.” This confidence from one of the leaders of the Yarn Bombing movement serves as a good sign of things to come in the Yarn Bombing world. With dedicated people and volunteers jumping at the chance to help out Magda seems to be proof that Knit Graffiti is still on the rise. Though, she is only one of many Yarn Bombers who shared her opinion with me.
This past quarter I have been researching whether Yarn Bombing will grow in popularity or become a faint memory in the upcoming years. This question took me on a journey that would thrill and inspire me. The first question I must answer is what is Yarn Bombing. Magda Sayeg from Houston, Texas started this form of street art in 2005, originally it was a joke to see how pedestrians would react to knit works being put outside, but the trend took off. This original act of knit graffiti spurred a reaction that made people take notice; Tina Fey even mentioned it in an SNL skit. Now you can Google “Yarn Bombing” and thousands of results will come up including blogs, pictures and newspaper articles.
I created a survey to find out if people actually know about the street art phenomena called Yarn Bombing and found that fifty-six percent of those who took the survey had not even heard of Yarn Bombing before. Most people deduced that Yarn Bombing has to do with yarn but a lot of people brought violent connotations to their perceived definitions. Once people were given the true definition of Yarn Bombing, (A form of street art where people take knit or crocheted materials and place them in public areas. Common places for Yarn Bomb tags are sign poles, bike racks, benches, railings and statues.), they not only thought of it as more interesting but also as something they would like to see.
This absence of prior knowledge about what Yarn Bombing is very important to the question “Will Yarn Bombing grow in popularity or become a faint memory?”. A lack of knowledge on the topic means that there is still a large market to tap and inform, but it also means that if people are not informed faster than they lose interest the art will be forgotten. The survey I created had promising results in category; while many had never heard of Yarn Bombing there was a large interest in actually seeing knit pieces up and in their neighborhoods. Most of the people who reacted positively to the aspect of knit graffiti also said they had no interest in actually becoming a Yarn Bomber. This means that while people are still learning about Yarn Bombing they mostly will become consumers and not producers of street art. This is true in most art forms, suggesting that there are consumers out there, but are there producers?
This weekend, starting tomorrow I’m going to take a bunch of surveys out into the world and find out who knows about how Yarn bombing is perceived. I have two different surveys, one to see if people already know about Yarn Bombing and if they do not, what they think it is, whether its violent or silly or stupid or a great idea and then another survey giving the definition and then asking what they think of it knowing what it is. I really think these surveys will show how much awareness there is right now and if, when people actually know what it is, they are interested in either seeing it or doing it themselves. I realize that the survey questions I posted on this blog are a little difficult so I have put up a survey monkey survey instead, the post got a lot of views but only a few answers.
To find out if Yarn Bombing is going to increase in popularity I think its really important to figure out if people actually know about it. The biggest thing that I’ve found through my research and personal experience is that people don’t really know about this craft. The people I tell seem interested in at least seeing examples and some really want to start working on tags. I think doing these surveys will not only give a feel for how much people know about Yarn Bombing but also spread awareness and curiosity. I hope the busy people in Pittsburgh and the University of Cincinnati will give me a bit of their time and fill out my surveys, otherwise its back to the drawing board for a new way to research Yarn Bombing. If you have any suggestions feel free to comment.
In other news I have seen a lot more graffiti on campus and not just sloppy tags but really nice looking pieces. If this is an indication that there are creative people wanting to start street art it may also mean that the tags I’ll be putting up may continue having positive reviews and reactions. I really need to knit more.
Please take the survey I have at
it’ll help me get a better feel for how many people know about Yarn Bombing (its only eight questions)
Wish me luck!
So, I made up a survey for both Yarn Bombers and Non Yarn Bombers I’d love it if you would help contribute to my research by commenting on this post with the answers to the survey that pertains to you. If you do not want your answers posted please specify in the comment otherwise I’m going to post them for curious readers. Hopefully through this research I can get a better grasp on where Yarn Bombing is headed and if it’s catching or being forgotten. It would be great if you could have your friends answer the questions of the survey as well the more people who answer the better the results will be. I will also be giving a survey through other means to get more balanced answers.
I’m posting the surveys in two separate posts to make them easier to read and hopefully encourage people to answer them. I realize that This is not the best way to give a survey but the answers I end up getting will be helpful.
4) How did you find out about Yarn Bombing and when?
5) What was your first impression of Yarn Bombing?
6) Have you seen Yarn Bombing in person?
7) Do you Knit or Crochet?
8 ) Do you intend to start Yarn Bombing? Why or why not?
9) Do you think that Yarn Bombing will grow or fall in popularity?
10) Have you told others about Yarn Bombing?
11) Do you know anyone who Yarn Bombs?
12) Do you read or follow and Yarn Bombing media sources like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or anything else?
4) How long have you been a Yarn Bomber?
5) How were you introduced to Yarn Bombing?
6) About how many tags have you put up?
7) Do you have a place to document tags ex. a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr etc.
8 ) Have you recruited other people?
9) What are your experiences with law enforcement while Yarn Bombing?
10) What age or ages do you believe are most attracted to Yarn Bombing?
11) Do you believe that Yarn Bombing is on the rise or falling in popularity?
I’ve decided that in order to find out if Yarn Bombing is on the rise or becoming a fad of the past I need to find out if people are interested in Yarn Bombing. Obviously there are many people out there, just look at some of the blogs like Streetcolors, KTC’s, Knittaplease, Yarnbombing, and Whodunnknit, and so so many more. But, even if there are people out their actively Yarn Bombing, for it to really stay around people need to continue being interested and starting to Yarn Bomb themselves.
I’ll have a survey put up on this site for people to comment answers so that I can receive more information and I’ll also be doing surveys around my campus. I intend to survey people before I’ve put up a lot of tags and sometime next quarter when people have had a chance to see them around. I hope to receive a lot of information to really see where Knitfitti is headed. SOOOOO, once these surveys are up it would be great if you’d comment your answers and then ask your friends to comment as well, I’d love to get a lot of input from Yarn Bombers I want to find out where YOU think this is headed. These surveys are coming soon and I hope you’re ready for them
I came back to the building today and all my tags are still up! It was a happy surprise for me and it means that my easy to remove yarn bombs don’t seem like horrible graffiti to the maintenance staff here, also that the students and teachers who use these classrooms don’t find them offensive enough to take down. I’m going to continue tagging this building and the grounds and see what happens, I’ll be a busy knitter this weekend.
If you are a Yarn Bomber and you’re interested in having your work published in my blog feel free to contact me, just leave a post with your email and what you’d like to talk about. I’d love to interview more Yarn Bombers and hear more stories and experiences.
If you are someone who has seen Yarn Bombing and you’d like to learn more or get involved you can also contact me the same way
The last thing I’d like to update you all about is that I have more interviews to post soon, I’ve been a little overwhelmed with classwork but I’m going to type up my entries about the interviews I’ve done very shortly.
So, my boyfriend says that when I decide that I like something I don’t like it I love it. It’s true. I love Yarn Bombing. My second installment in my experiment was put up today. So far I have only received positive reactions but, we’ll see if they’re still up tomorrow. I intend to continue tagging my campus until I receive a real reaction, maybe that will never happen. I think I’ll be doing surveys soon to see how aware students are of Yarn Bombing now and after I start bombing more often. I hope that my work will have a warm welcome and that people will enjoy the color I’m putting on campus. If I get in trouble I’ll know to stop. In the mean time I think that this Yarn Bombing is catching on, some people are starting to get interested.
All This talk of Yarn Bombing had me wanting to try it out myself, I’ve been knitting a lot recently but never actually got around to Yarn Bombing. I was talking to my little brother on the phone about this blog and he kept asking “Have you done anything, what have you tagged?” It made me feel silly, I’ve been writing about all of this, knitting in my spare time and have not actually experienced what I’ve been writing about.
Tonight I decided was the night I’d do my first tag. Someplace where not a lot of people go and where I wouldn’t have to immediately have to explain myself. I took what I had knitted already and walked to the back of the building and knitted it up. The whole time I was going through what I’d say if anyone caught me…. “Oh, yeah this is a social experiment I’m doing for my research and resources class. You don’t like it? You want me to take it down? Ok, but can I interview you about this, this is exactly the reaction I need for my paper?” So while thinking of the worst and how I’d manage to keep out of trouble I finished my work without any interruption. My first tag, done! I even put a paper calling card on it directing people to modernknitting.wordpress.com. I feel more like a Yarn Bomber already. I got the rush, I made a place more beautiful where it’s dark and dreary and I didn’t get in trouble. I’m just glad I don’t have to explain myself to anyone.
My First Tag
After this my intention is to put more Yarn creations up around campus and see how people react. I may even do a survey, I’m not sure yet. But, after putting up my first tag I got a taste of why people do this and I like it. I haven’t even seen anyone’s reaction yet. Once again I think this is something that is just in its beginning stages and will probably go through a lot more before it becomes a fad of the past…. but I’ll keep researching to see what I can find.
My First Tag