When my sister, Jill, and I aren’t working on publishing new knitting and crochet patterns or a commissioned installation, we do what we love most: yarnbombing. If you haven’t checked out our new zine called Fuse that’s all about what yarnbombing it is and why/how people do it, get with the program here!
Ever since our big Squid Tree yarnbomb in San Mateo, we’ve wanted to design a new character-based yarnbomb in a great spot. We got the perfect chance when CCTV-America asked to film us installing a yarnbomb for their new show about creativity called Full Frame: introducing our newest monster bench yarnbomb we’re calling Buttmunches!
The best part of yarnbombing to us is seeing what happens to it once we give it to the public. Jill considers it a social experiment to discover how people interact with our yarnbombs, whether they steward, steal, destroy, or hug them. These Buttmunches generate so much love so far we can’t stop stalking them on Instagram! Here are few highlights:
Our inspiration was to find a picturesque site in the city where both locals and tourists could enjoy our work. We love the way the waterfront is transforming into a new, vibrant heart of the city and wanted to show it some love. The Ferry Plaza is also sentimental to us since we have fond memories from the 80’s of taking the ferry to the Embarcadero to have lunch with our grandfather who worked at PG&E. Our mother also worked near the Embarcadero, and we’ve been going there since we were kids. I usually walk around areas on Google Street View looking for objects to transform into silly things with yarn. We think it a noble endeavor to make grown-ups smile. The benches had a gorgeous backdrop on all sides, and the idea of giving them a local bite, as it were, just came to me. Some objects shout at us, others need intense psychotherapy to coax it out.
We started yarnbombing guerrilla style, but our laborious yarnbombs are easy to steal or damage, so we prefer to get permission and confirmation that the site will enjoy it and become a kind of steward of the work. Many artists are forced to create guerrilla style public art because they have no other recourse. This becomes the distinction between public art and street art: one is welcomed, while the other refuses to be forced out by economics or government. Cities like Oakland and San Mateo are not only becoming new art hubs because of rising big-city rents. They’re attracting artists with welcoming attitudes in local government and business. We asked to do a free public art installation all over SF, but got turned down again and again. The company who manages Ferry Building also manages a property in San Mateo that we’ve worked with, so we suspected they’d be amenable to an installation, and they were!
Buttmunch went up on April 16. The whole thing stitched up about 3 miles of yarn, took 30 hours to construct, and 3 hours to install. We knit the bodies, arms, legs, and mouths on the Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine with Knit Picks Brava Sport and some value acrylic from the craft store. We crocheted the hands, feet, eyes, teeth, horns, and other details using more value acrylic from our stash. If you can believe it from looking at our yarn wall, we actually needed to buy orange for this project!
One of the things we love about our new art studio to work in is having so much SPACE! Even though we measure and calculate gauge again and again, there’s always a nagging worry about how a yarnbomb will fit. This time, we just pinned it on the wall in the right proportions and were able to sew the deets on just like we were in the field. It rocked so hard we’re psyched to start another project!
When they get badly damaged or soiled we’ll remove them and surprise people with something new. Until then, we hope you get a chance to see them in person. Be sure to tag us @knitsforlife and @thedappertoad so we can share in the fun!