Yarn Bombing the Peace Grove

Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 12:52 pm

A guerilla art project knits together a group of students, townspeople, and local alumni

“I was working on my calculus homework in the math lab, and one of the tutors got sidetracked and started to tell me about an article that she had read about ‘yarn bombing’  — people knitting sweaters for trees to decorate public places — and I was seriously intrigued. I’d never knit anything before, but women in a knitting group in town [including Joan Baker ’51 and Dorothy Palmer ’62] welcomed us into their Sit ’n’ Knit group and taught us how. They have us over to their houses every Thursday night for knitting sessions! Almost half of the students in my tutorial joined the project, and we set up a knitting station in Burling so anyone could take a break and knit on one of the sweaters.” —Cassie Miller ’16

“At first people were hesitant about the project, sometimes thinking that we were trying to keep the trees warm. After we explained it was more of a public art installation that we were initiating as part of our tutorial [anthropology professor Jon Andelson ’70’s Our Prairie Town: Local, Regional, and Global Perspectives], they were much more enthusiastic. At the public knitting station in Burling, people were knitting like crazy. That sweater turned out to be much longer than the rest and was full of different knitting styles and patterns, representing, however cheesy this may sound, all the different people who worked on the project. I like thinking about people walking up to the library feeling stressed about school or life in general and smiling when they see our tree sweaters. —Sophie Neems ’16