Updated on January 16, 2016
Yarn Bomb that Bridge
My typical jaunt from Ohio to New Jersey goes a little something like this…
This time I decided to switch it up. There was some yarn graffiti that had my name all over it.
For those who haven’t heard of this phenomenon, yarn bombing is a newer form of graffiti that is less permanent than chalk or paint – it’s made with knitted or crocheted yarn. It’s meant to be an expression of art, just as most graffiti is. It’s a public art that has only been around for about 10 years.
My Mom and her husband Rick decided to drive with me from Ohio to Pittsburgh. It’s about a 2 hour trail – not too bad – until you attempt to use the GPS. I’m pretty sure that Pittsburgh has some sort of magnetic field around it where the GPS is forced to work improperly. Out of nowhere, it would throw us on roads blocks away and turn us around or just flat out not update and miss turns completely. We really needed to revert to paper and build up that brain power.
We finally made it to our destination, the Andy Warhol bridge. 1500 volunteer knitter and crocheters laid out their skills and covered the bridge with hand knit and hand crocheted blankets. I started counting the blankets but lost count somewhere past 372…after further research, we found there were about 580 blankets that covered the railings – both sides – of the bridge.
I spoke to a woman with a crochet hook who was on her volunteer shift of walking the bridge, fixing any fly-always and eyeing for vandalism. She told me how they shut down the bridge for two days, brought in a cherry picker and got to work with about 200 volunteers to assemble the knit bomb.
Though they did have to fight city hall for approval, there was a small discussion that broke out between two woman debating if the yarn bomb was graffiti or art. One woman said, “if the city approved it they how can it not be art!”
When I was in college, I did a documentary on graffiti and dealt a lot with the same “art vs vandalism” argument, so it was interesting to hear them justifying why this form of expression was any different….
The top half of the knitted bridge covering the peaks in solid colors was knit by a knitting machine, though all of the blankets covering the lower parts and the rails were knit by hand. Once the display is removed, all blankets will be donated to local homeless shelters and animal shelters.
We did the math and HOLY YARN. If you take 500 blankets and double it twice for the black railings and top peaks, you get about 2000 blankets. Then multiple each blanket by 10 skeins of yarn (for ease) and you get 200,000. Each of my example skeins is 170 yards, so that’s 3,400,000 yards of yarn – approximately 1,931 miles of YARN. Therefore, if you unraveled that bridge, it may reach from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Snowville, Utah! If they weren’t donating it, they should ball it up and beat the 1992 Guinness World record for the world largest yarn ball!
They will be looking for volunteers to take it down on September 7th so if you want to be a part of it, contact them Knitthebridge.wordpress.com.
I <3 the knitted bridge 🙂 But what do you think? Is it art?