Hankering for Whimsy? Drop a Yarn Bomb

Statue scarves and tree cozies mysteriously appear around town. And just as mysteriously, they disappear. These transient yarn displays in public spaces are a kind of street art known as yarn bombing.

Yarn bombs have been showing up around the globe since the early 2000s. In Corvallis, the largest yarn bombing to date was undertaken for the Fall Festival last year. As temperatures rise and skies begin to clear with spring, the keen-eyed might glimpse new bombs dropped in and around Corvallis.

Local yarn aficionado and owner of Stash Sonia Ruyts said that, for her, yarn bombing was a way to bring color and happiness to people in a whimsical way. Anything stationary is fair game: public fixtures, trees, sculptures, lamp posts, fences, bike racks.

Yarn bombs don’t bring warm fuzzies to all, though. As easily removable as it is, it can be considered a nuisance like other forms of graffiti.

“Some people get really upset about stuff being put on trees because of the moisture,” Ruyts said.

Some pieces are draped over or around stationary objects, like the scarf wrapped around the neck of the sculpture in OSU’s Snell courtyard. Others are made in pieces offsite and then assembled onsite, like many of the pieces that decorated the Fall Festival. Either way, secrecy is key.

“We had volunteers knit and crochet things for us over the summer that we put into bigger pieces,” Ruyts said. It only took a few hours under cover of darkness to put the pieces up. “When we got the gazebo we used zip ties and pieces of yarn to tie it off.”

Whether you hanker to knit yarn bombs or a scarf and do some socializing, too, the weekly Wednesday Stitch Night at Stash from 5 to 8 p.m. is a gathering for yarn enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels, free and open to the public. For information, visit http://www.stashlocal.com/index.html.

by Lana Jones