By Sanja Zelen
On Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 11 p.m., 14 rebellious college first-years snuck out of the Eastside dorms. The temperature had dropped down to the 40’s and a dense fog had mysteriously taken over the campus. The scene is perfect for what they are about to do.
The students were all members of the Culture of Knitting Colloquium. They met in Collins to finish up their class project: a yarn bomb, an art creation made by attaching knit items. Their professor, David Altman, had assigned it to the class. He assigned the unusual meeting time to make the project seem mysterious and secretive, as it will be displayed without Willamette knowing it.
The class congregated in their first location of the night: Collins 205. They greeted their professor in the lobby and made their way up the white staircase stealthily. The professor unlocked the door to the classroom they have met in three times a week for the last three months. For the next half hour, they worked hard at sewing their handmade scarves and knit squares together. After perfecting the stitches, they were ready.
Ford Hall is the next spot on their list. Ford was the agreed upon location for the class to display their project because the stairwell inside is a big empty space visible to everyone on campus. The class had contributed other ideas, such as Hatfield Library and the Star Trees, but Ford was preferable because it was indoors and would keep the project in tact.
In Ford, the class spent an hour throwing, tying, cutting, fastening, laughing and having an overall good time. It was not an easy process, but many agree this project has done their colloquium justice.
When the class was done with their work, other students who were in Ford approached the masterpiece before them and looked up in awe. Many of them were not sure of what they saw.
If you ask the students of the Knitting Culture Colloquium, they will say it is a yarn bomb. It is hung between the Ford third floor stairwell and second floor railing, attached by zip ties. To add to the unique creation, the students had strategically thrown balls of yarn across the stairwells to create a “spider web” — hanging yarn in the air. Pinks, browns, whites, blues, greens, reds and any other color you could think of now populate the once dull and grey stairwell.
What is the purpose of the yarn bomb, one might ask? There are many answers to that question. The class aimed for it to be a whimsical creation, something that could give color to a once ordinary area. It is random, fun and appealing to look at. However, if you were to read their textbooks, you might find that it is a symbol of unity. Each student joined their creations together to “unite” the knit pieces, therefore uniting their own ideas despite their different knitting styles. If you look at it this way, this knit piece really does send a message — it is not just art. A knit object can have many different meanings.
When voting upon a final idea for the class project, some students suggested giving their knitting a deeper meaning by adding words of protest. Another idea was to knit in a message encouraging students during finals week. The idea of a whimsical creation won the vote. The yarn bomb can be seen as a symbol of all the hard work these students have put into their Colloquium as well.
The yarn bomb will be taken down Nov. 24. If you are interested in a project like this, contact any member of the Culture of Knitting Colloquium or join Stitch ‘n Bitch, the official knitting club here on campus.