I became interested in yarn bombing after seeing bike racks and signposts around Melbourne wearing brightly coloured knitted sleeves. Going to a yarn bombing workshop seemed like the next logical step. I attended workshops run by Yarn Corner, a local yarn bombing collective, where I learned how to loom and crochet.
Yarn Corner has members from all over the world who work together on yarn bombing projects in Melbourne. Anyone can join their Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/yarncorner). I signed up a few months ago and volunteered to contribute a piece to their installation at the Royal Melbourne Show. The brief was to cover Bessie the tractor in shades of green, and some trees in shades of pink and yellow. I crocheted and loomed a section for one of the trees.
I don’t know what I did with my time or my hands before I had such projects to work on. In those moments that used to be unaccounted for, between getting up and drinking my first cup of tea or between coming home from work and peeling off my boots, I sat on the edge of my bed and added another couple of rows to my piece. It grew longer and longer, but I can’t say that I ever sat down and devoted hours to it. At most I spent perhaps two hours at a time working on it while watching a film, enjoying the feel of the yarn sliding through my fingers, the deliberate movement of winding it once, twice, three times round the pegs of the loom, then the quick flick of the hook to press another row into place.
I took my piece with me wherever I went. Tram rides and break times at work were measured out not in minutes any more but in crocheted rows; seconds were marked by the sliding of a hook through loops of yarn.
The exciting thing, for me, was knowing that my piece was going to be part of something big, something that people all over the world were contributing to. I imagined us all building up our pieces stitch by stitch to make squares and sheets. These squares and sheets would travel over land and sea, converging in Melbourne, where they would be sewn together to make still larger pieces to cover the trees and tractor.
The Royal Melbourne Show took place last week. Hundreds of people visited the installation, took part in workshops and touched the finished yarn bombs. Just for a moment they must have felt what we did, as every centimetre of yarn ran through our fingers. It’s nice to feel connected to these people who I’ve never met, and connected by a craft that has spanned centuries and cultures.
I can’t wait to begin the next project.
Helen Caldwell is currently living, working and travelling in Australia, logging her experiences and thoughts on her fantastic blog, which you can find here