On the 8th of July 2009 the Knit the City Yarn Corps stood back, in the heart of police-swarmed Parliament Square and the shadow of Big Ben, to wipe their brows, exhale with relief and put away their tapestry needles and cable ties after another successful yarnstorm.
The infamous Phonebox Cosy stood proud and woolly in the dusk and all was right with the world of graffiti knitting once more.
It was a journey of covert phonebox measuring, panic knitting, strawberry beer sewing, emergency stretched stitch saving, and a run in with the long arm and confused faces of the law.
Grab a seat by the fire, top up your tea, and we’ll tell you all about it through the medium of interpretive dance words and pictures.
It all began with a big idea, some woolly thoughts and an undying love of London. Mix them all together, grab yourself a tape measure, spend a week with six people knitting like the devil is after them and wants their soul and their stash, and before you know it you’ve got half a phonebox lying on the carpet in a deserted area of the Royal Festival Hall.
Cut to the big day. Passers by pootling about the National Theatre stop to ask what on earth we think we’re doing. We’re not so sure ourselves.
Before our eyes begin to bleed and our fingers drop off we’re mercifully done.
At least to the point where we can stop for a pint of strawberry beer or two to fortify us for the yarnstorm ahead. The remaining sewing will henceforth be done on site. Eek!
We practised on a less exposed phonebox a half hour before descending on our target. Those of us who attended the practice have vowed to never speak of it again. Due to the horror there is no photo documentation of this part of the yarnstorm. Feel free to watch the latter parts of The Shining and Blair Witch for reference.
Some major adjustments were going to have to made in order to counteract our dreaded enemy the Stitch Sag. Curses!
We arrived on site from all parts of the city. There were police everywhere but when a yarnstorm has been planned this much and worked on this hard it is going to happen. Even if we all get locked up.
And so we began.
Halfway into the yarnstorm the ello ello ello of the local constabulary could be heard. Brave Lady Loop stepped up to turn on her cashmere-like charm. After some eye-narrowing, a few head scratches, and a couple of cheeky phone photos ‘for the wife’ who apparently knits too, we are let off with a Stop and Search warning. The search grounds are that we were “seen decorating telephone box for photography session”.
It was at this point the Yarn Corps were particularly glad we’ve chosen to ‘yarnstorm’ rather than ‘yarnbomb’. In London the B word has too much history for us to be flinging it about wrapped in wool.
It took over an hour. Passersby came up and it hugged it, had their photo taken with it, manically grinned at us and implied we were a bit nutty but it was nice to see.
We stood back and admired the woolly wonder of the phonebox cosy for about half an hour. The police hovered.
You can see the final result in our Yarnstorm the Third post if you click here.
The Yarn Corps sloped off back to the secret wool-lined bunker. The phonebox cosy divided in our swag bags.
Visions of the next yarnstorm are already dancing in our heads…
For the inside story from other Yarn Corps members see:
(Special thanks to Mother of Poirl for taking the photos during the yarnstorming and for helping with technical advice)