On October 30th, Mandy Moore and I will be celebrating the launch of the fourth printing and tenth anniversary edition of our book Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. For this special anniversary, we’ve added a new chapter featuring new yarn bombing works that delight us.
Yarn Bombing: The Art of Knit Graffiti was first published in 2009. In many ways, the book has become one of the most unanticipated yet joyous aspects of my life.
In 2007, I attended a graduate program in publishing with the hunch that I might hang up my long-unused creative writing and art history degrees, and instead pursue a career as a book designer. Little did I know that during the course of my studies, I would be ask to pitch a fictional book project that could be part of an art press. Yarn Bombing started as a silly school project that I pitched for fun – I had no idea that it would become a reality, much less something that would be out in the world being read and enjoyed a decade later.
The inspiration for the book came from a couple of sources: a stitch and bitch that I’d started with some friends; the discovery of a handful of knit graffiti blogs through BlogSpot, an early blogging platform; and many of years of working as a programmer in community art council and art gallery settings, punctuated with the frustration that the so-called worlds of ‘high art’ and ‘low art’ never seemed to mix.
I threw the idea of a knit graffiti book out to my classmates, and they were encouraging. I took the idea to my instructors who informed me I had to pitch the book with a have a Canadian author, rather than best-selling knitting author Debbie Stoller. As luck would have it, Mandy and I had crossed paths at Knitting and Beer, a stitch and bitch that I used to run with some friends at a pub. She had been editing for Knitty.com and had just moved to Vancouver, and I immediately was awed by her knitting skills. I pitched Mandy as my ‘fake author’ for the project and never gave it another thought – until months later when Robert from Arsenal Pulp Press, who had attended my class’ pitch day to give us industry feedback, asked if I’d like to come in and discuss creating the book for them. A real book, with Mandy as my co-author.
And so, this is how Mandy and I really got to know each other – I sent her an email, asking her if she remembered me, and I asked her if she wanted to write a book with me. She was receptive, and through many late nights of writing, eating too much candy, and laughing hard through stress – we somehow wrote a book together.
Yarn Bombing continues to be a project where, somehow, as if by magic, synergies occurred. Beyond the collaborative efforts of Mandy and myself, the project was truly the culmination of many hands. Friends, classmates, and significant others put in long hours to help out with modeling and photographing projects. Artists from around the world contacted us and offered to participate. Favourite locations in the city opened their doors to us. My friends who worked in bookstores did a lot of hand-selling. Friends of friends wrote media stories on us, and shared knitting projects with their relatives. Yarn Bombing, both in 2009 and 2019, is truly a book made by a community.
The last decade has brought many changes. When we wrote the book in 2008, social media was new and existed through MySpace and blogs. The City of Vancouver was a quieter place then (prior to the boom of hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics) and most of the locations that we shot in no longer exist. Many of the friends who posed for photographs have since changed relationships, become parents, or moved to other locations. We’re different than we used to be, but that’s okay – the spirit of yarn bombing has taken on new forms. Society has become more conscious of the right for human dignity. Protest culture has grown. Sustainability is not a luxury, but a basic tenant to human and species survival. Anarchy, hand-making, and coming together as a community are now widely recognized as vital political acts. The issues that we addressed ten years ago are still being talked about, and addressing them has become a vital part of work in many communities of citizen-maker-activists.
Gathering with other people to make something out of the ordinary with a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of gumption is what remains true in the old and new editions of the book. I hope that Yarn Bombing continues to delight readers and that it encourages you to find your own creative projects, and your own co-conspirators. When you join forces and ideas with other people, there’s no limit to what can happen.
Join us for the:
Vancouver, Canada Yarn Bombing Book Launch Party:
October 30th, 2019 from 7pm-9pm
Broadway Book Warehouse
Book signing, free refreshments, and a BYOY stitch & bitch (bring your own yarn & needles and hooks)
RSVP and invite your friends via Facebook