I’m knitting a sweater for a plane – or at least that’s what my two year old neighbour Stan tells everyone (keep in mind that Stan also “fixes” my house by hitting it as hard as he can with his plastic toy hammer). Upon reflection however, it is a very accurate description of what I’m doing.
I’m working with a group of knitter and crocheters from across the Yukon (and around the world) who are attempting the largest transportation yarn bomb in history. That’s right ladies and gentlemen – we’re going to break a world record.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term yarn bombing (also called yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting, and graffiti knitting) is a type of street art/graffiti/public art installation that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk. It is often used to promote and engage the public in fibre arts, to redirect the nature of graffiti with into a non-permanent and non-destructive forms, and to tell “stitched stories”. One of the most prolific collectives of yarn bombers in the world, Knit the City, sum up their work this way: “to guerilla knit the city of London, and beyond that the world, and bring the art of the sneaky stitch to a world without wool”. If you want to learn more about yarn bombing, I recommend these three books: Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Leanne Prain, The Aesthetic Variable: Defining Street Art (Graffiti, Flash Mobs, Yarn Bombing, Street Installations and More) by Beatriz Scaglia, and Knit the City by Deadly Knitshade.
The massive yarn bombing project I’m working on right now is organized by Yarn Bomb Yukon. It is a collective of Yukon knitters and crocheters led by the fearless trio of Jessica Vallenga, Bree-Ann Lucas, and Vanessa Corkal. And the goal is to yarn bomb Whitehorse’s DC-3 landmark.
The Douglas DC-3 is an fixed-wing propeller-driven airliner, the speed and range of which revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and WWII makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made. Whitehorse’s DC-3 lives on a pedestal outside of the Whitehorse airport and acts as the world’s largest weather vane. And we’re going to cover it with yarn.
This interactive art project is created in partnership with the Yukon Transportation Museum and the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery. The purpose of this interactive public art project is to transform a historic aircraft into a large scale public art project; to foster an appreciation for fibre arts; and to teach the lifelong skill knitting and crocheting techniques to adults and children. Once the project is complete, blankets will be donated to local charities and shelters. The pattern to yarn bomb the DC-3 is based on blankets that are 4×6 feet. Mary Ellen Read, architect atNorthern Front Studio, created the pattern.
All of the actual knitting needs to be completed by mid-July, so that the pattern can be assembled between July 23rd and August 10th. The actual installation will take place on August 11th and 12th. You will be able to check out the finished work at the airport until August 27th.
As the deadline to complete the pieces approaches I’ve been knitting constantly. My husband Tyer has gotten right into the spirit of the project – whenever I’m sitting still and don’t have knitting needles in my hands he walks by and barks “KNIT”. My puppy Shiloh tries to help as well – although that usually results in her sitting on me, the yarn, or the finished product while I’m trying to work. The piece I’m putting together right now comes from the largest ball of yarn I’ve ever seen. It’s about 6 feet by 2 feet right now and it’s still growing (thank God for big needles). Once I finish it I’ve got two more giant balls of yarn to work through….wish me luck – I think that my right bicep is starting to get stronger than my left due to the constant clacking of needles.
If you would like to get involved in the project – by knitting, crocheting, or donating yarn – contact Yarn Bomb Yukon. Items can be mailed to the Yukon Arts Centre, 300 College Drive, Whitehorse, YT, Y1A 5X9