A few weeks ago, I was asked by Teresa Murray, an extraordinarily creative knitter here in my hometown, if I wanted to participate in a surprise project to dazzle and cheer our little downtown clock plaza with yarn. We’d be yarnstormers, she explained, and the goal was to knit and/or crochet colorful creations which we would then wrap around the clock, lampposts, trees, benches, bike racks etc. No need to buy new yarn, the challenge would be to use whatever we had on hand. I immediately said yes, for I love a challenge and especially one that celebrates and blesses community through art.
I chose a tree with a 72 inch circumference and quickly had a vision in my head of what I wanted to create – a patchwork of happy patterns framing the the word HOPE.
Then, each day for two weeks, I spent at least an hour a day (and much more towards the end when I realized the project was bigger than I anticipated) knitting. Since the final project needed to stretch 72 inches, I divided the project into three panels that I sewed together at completion. The center panel featured the letters H O P E each offset by colorful complementary yarn. I knitted the side panels patchwork quilt style, creating the brightest and cheeriest variety of colorful patterns that I could think of including stripes of all varieties – both vertical and horizontal, dots, checks etc. And I used the largest needles I had, size fifteen, intentionally knitting loosely for maximum stretchiness.
When finished, it only measured 50 inches in diameter and I was worried it wouldn’t stretch around the tree completely. But, thankfully, it was strong and plenty stretchy and I was able to wrap it around my assigned trunk and sew it in place with ease. The result? Success! Joy!
It now hangs for a limited time with the knitted and crocheted creations of fifteen local “fiber artists” as Teresa so charmingly has called us. Each piece is unique and together they fill the space with color and joy. I’ve been down town a couple of times since the installation and have enjoyed watching people sit in the plaza enjoying the installation as they sip coffee or nibble ice cream.
My hope is that the installation will be a reminder that hope lives and that, with intentionality,love and respect for all, we can come together as a beautifully diverse community (and world) of humans – each special and unique – but lovingly knit together into one humanity – just as all the colorful bits of yarn in this installation have come together to create beautiful works of art.
And the writer in me can’t help but be reminded that writing stories and poems is a lot like knitting. And that like these knitted creations, stories and poems also have the ability to bring us together and instill hope. Surprise, surprise, I’ve even written about the parallels between knitting and writing on this blog – twice! Here are links. Enjoy!