Crafting is a great way to spend time with friends and family, and it usually doesn't cost much money. In fact, there are many ways to repurpose scraps, orphaned buttons and other household items into functional and creative masterpieces, especially through knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and the like. There is also a growing availability of green knitting products, such as yarns made of naturally treated wool or organic cotton, as well as recycled fibers.
Several books help point the way toward working with repurposed and organic materials, including Sewing Green and Alterknits. We also find inspiration from many crafters who are pushing the envelope, and sharing their work online.
Shown here is part of the Yarn Theory Gorilla Knitting Project at PS 122 Gallery in New York City. Read on for more examples of urban knit art, which some call "green graffiti."
Life Finds a Way
We love Knitted Landscape, a collaborative site that encourages people to upload photos of their own creative projects. The community is about "knitting, art, inspiration, landscape, beauty, humor, nature, photography, imagination, make people smile."
We adore the images of handmade mushrooms and other natural designs, placed in provocative spaces. It gets us thinking about humankind's tremendous impact on the planet, our relationship to the natural world, and our perspectives on it through art, creativity and the senses. And they're cute!
Fruit of the Loom
An Urban Flower
Transforming a Gas Station
A thought-provoking project of the International Fiber Collaborative, dubbed World Reclamation Art Project (W.R.A.P.), brought together the work of professional artists, hobbyist crafters and students, all with the goal of highlighting society's harmful dependence on oil. Participants crocheted, knitted, stitched, patched or collaged 3-foot-square fiber panels, with each unique one expressing concern about the topic.
The panels were then sewed together, to completely cover an abandoned gas station in central New York. This project is an example of people remaking an ugly industrial legacy into something softer, gentler and more beautiful.
Entitled "tree cozy," this crocheted masterpiece by Carol Hummel took 500 hours to complete. The colorful installation stood for nearly three years outside Cleveland Heights City Hall.
Protest art has taken many forms over the years — and sometimes requires people to take up their needles. In a recent project in Denmark, artists covered a tank by knitting and crocheting, turning a menacing machine into a pink plaything. A video about the making of the project — which protests Western involvement in the Iraq War — is available from the Nikolaj, Copenhagen, Contemporary Art Center.
Some of the true pioneers of the knit graffiti movement are Houston-based KnittaPlease, a group bringing color and expression to urban landscapes in a nondestructive form. Knitta "tags" have been seen around the world and have inspired a number of other artists. What do you think of the idea?
This old junker got a cheery spruce-up, thanks to KnittaPlease.
Knit Tie Graffiti
Stockholm's historic sculpture of Karl XIII gets a dapper update in the form of a knit tie and peace sign, courtesy of Maskerade.
In Territorial Knittings, Lauren Marsden covered the signs of every street on which she has lived in Victoria, British Columbia (without permission from the city). Luckily, she knit replicas of the signs, so the goal wasn't confused motorists. She definitely made her mark!