Yarnbombing: It's All the Rage

By Vritti Goel '12, Editor-in-Chief

This year’s first-year class is stepping up its activism with... yarnbombing?

Yarnbombing, also referred to as yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting, graffiti knitting or yarn graffiti—like regular graffiti— attempts to reclaim a public space for artistic and political expression.

In this spirit, the Armed RevolutioKnits (ARK) “have decided to express discontent with the maltreatment of women worldwide and promote positive social and political change through the art of yarn bombing.” With the motto “We fight with sticks for chicks!” this new group supplements yarn concoctions with social media to specifically advocate for women’s issues and against rights abuses. “We decided that the 5Cs needed a feminist activism group,” said leaders Megan Petersen (’15) and Lizzy Pfeiffer (’15).

Members have enjoyed the opportunity to take part in a movement that blends these two interests. Alex Washburn (’15) agreed. “I love this group because we’re using alternative forms of communication,” Washburn said. “Guerilla art is a way to circumvent the usual system of bringing attention to issues. It says, ‘We need to take a step back and look at the situation outside of the framework in which it’s currently viewed.’”

“It’s student activism,” said Yushuang Sun (’15). “In democracy... students’ grassroots groups are [key] in politics, and making changes we think are right.”

“And knitting is really, really, really fun,”added Sun.

A very new group, ARK has already had two rounds of yarn “tags” and posters. For their first endeavor, members created yarn “tags” and posters focusing on sexual and dating violence. Their second and most recent theme was women’s heart health, the tags for which went up Friday. Together, this team of determined knitters made almost 100 hearts to put up around the 5Cs.

While that number is impressive, Petersen and Pfeiffer have run into frustrating challenges—some with which many organizations on campus could relate—with their group.

When it comes to membership, Petersen attributed the low number to the fact that the club was started in the middle of the academic year. “We also have trouble finding members because people think we need only knitters, which isn’t true. We really need blog writers, photographers and taggers, among other things,” she said.

The group has also had posters taken down (some of the yarn is still hanging, though). “It strikes me as odd that a stamp of approval on a piece of paper is more important than the message that piece of paper may be carrying. Especially at a women’s college, why would we take down signs that raise awareness about women’s issues? These issues are there whether you approve them or not,” said Pfeiffer.

The tags and posters have not been approved by SARLO because Pfeiffer and Petersen feel that doing so would defeat the aspect of spontaneity that is characteristic of yarn graffiti. In the same mischievous spirit, the leaders say a huge draw to the group could be the chance to be a “ninja.”

Said Pfeiffer, “We dress in black and look very creepy. We were briefly shadowed by Campus Security once and had several close encounters with foxes. It’s all part of being a ninja.”

Look for this group throughout the year and into next semester, as they seek out more members (experienced in the art of knitting or not) looking to voice their opinions on a number of issues deemed important by the group.

It doesn’t matter if you want to knit, blog or just observe the graffiti that will soon pop up with more frequency around campus. “We don’t need people to agree with us. We just want to get people talking,” said Petersen.

For more information, visit ARK at armedrevolutioknits.wordpress. com or email at stricken4macht@gmail.com.