Random displays of creativity are ever-present in the street art world. Graffiti has evolved into large painted murals and stenciled images plastered onto the sides of buildings, streets and bridges. The trend of displaying art in unusual, unsanctioned public places is transforming and growing.

It seems that even average people want to seed bomb an old empty lot or slap stickers of their political beliefs onto the side of parking meters and mailboxes. In the last 8 years a new form of street art has taken hold- yarn bombing.

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Yarn bombing, or “urban knitting” has been considered the most unoffensive type of street art so far. Stencil graffiti, sticker art and wheat-pasting all have to scraped off or painted over- whereas, these knitted goods can simply be pulled off. Urban knitting takes way the undercover, illegal aspects of street art and makes it- well, friendly. With a few bleaching summer days or wet rains, the yarn looses it’s initial brilliance. As a Buddhist monk might suggest, this art is a lesson of impermanence. Which in a way, makes it that much more interesting.


Examples of this concept, also called yarn storming, guerilla knitting and graffiti knitting, started in the Netherlands in 2004 and in 2005 the trend made it’s way to the United States when a group of Texan knitters called Knitta Please used their unfinished projects to decorate public spaces.


Magda Sayeg, 37, from Houston, developed her idea of yarn bombing after creating a knitted door knob cozie. Since then, artists all over the world have adopted this style and are creating custom-made knitted products to fit the objects of their desires.


The emotions and thoughts experienced when encountering a yarn bomb may be akin to witnessing a flash mob: surprise, curiosity, wonderment and a sense of displacement. The idea is to wake people up from their daily routines and show them something beautifully orchestrated or designed- for no other reason than for entertaining YOU! It seems the key to the popularity of this art lies in the desire for regular people to claim and personalize sterile public places.


Written by Emily Jones

Image credits: Spiegal Online, Magda Sayeg: Knitta, Please, Street Art Utopia, Knit Hacker, Knit the City,

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