The Great British Button Biathlon

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in Craftstorms, Deadly Knitshade, London, The Fastener, Yarnstorms | 4 comments

Whodunnknit Pix: Marathon crafty graffiti street art! We're nearly there... #knitthecity #streetartIt’s a glorious day in the UK’s Olympic capital as you join us here on London’s South Bank, under the gaze of the iconic London Eye, for today’s crafty street art event: The Great British Button Biathlon.

Challenging themselves, and the world of craft graffiti, today are London’s Deadly Knitshade and The Fastener. The aim for these sneaky stitchers today is to continue in their quest to smash graffiti craft expectations to smithereens, achieve a new personal best and get away with a bit of graffiti in an area of London stuffed full of security. Eek!

Since the beginning Knit the City have been medalling (do you see what we did there?) with new ideas in the woolly world of handmade street art.

July 2009: the 13-foot Web of Woe launched the idea of awesome amigurumi-meets-street-art mash ups to create ‘stitched stories’ giving graffiti knitting a new lease of life
November 2009: a whole load of LED lights and wiring lit up the sneaky stitching for a handmade Halloween yarnstorm that glowed in the dark
August 2010: graffiti knitting turned green when an 8-metre giant knitted squid made from upcycled plastic bags got its tentacles around Mr Charles Darwin
February 2011:  a string of handmade hearts was hung at a record height of 7 metres with a bit of sneaky stitching magic

What will those woolly warriors get up to next?

As the purly pair take to the field there is something missing. Where is the wool?!?! Ladies and gentlemen, this is unheard of. A graffiti knitting yarnstorm without yarn?!

The crowd are on their feet. They’re looking to the judges for disqualification!

But what’s this?

Whodunnknit Pix: On your marks, get set... Setting up for our crafty Olympic street art. #knitthecity

On your marks…

They seem to have a entirely different plan. The judges are looking at the rule books, but it looks like they’re throwing the rule books out.

Whodunnknit Pix: Target acquired. Go! Go! Let the crafty Olympic storm begin. #knitthecity

Get set…

We could be witnessing a whole new style of street art. Let the handmaking marathon begin!

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - Handmade flag red



Great British Button Biathlon 1 - Handmade flag cross

And they’re off!

In a staggering five-hour graffiti craftstorm marathon, Team KTC have turned almost a thousand buttons into crafty street art without a stitch in sight.

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - Handmade flag middle

More buttons?

They have crafted on through three rainstorms.

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - Handmade flag label

Maybe just a few more buttons…

And several very sore fingers.

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - Handmade flag whole

MORE buttons!

But they have crossed the finish line! In an epic craftstorming marathon they have created a Great British Button beauty!

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - Handmade flag 2

*stands up for National Anthem*

They’ve done their crafty country proud. 

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - London Eye view

Eye eye! A pigeon admires the craftstorm.

The crowd are on their feet once more. Cameras are flashing. 

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - craftstorm snappers

Snapping sightseers


Great British Button Biathlon 1 - posing people

Posing passers by


Great British Button Biathlon 1 - more posting people

Terribly excited tourists


Great British Button Biathlon 1 - family

Flag friendly families


Whodunnknit Pix: Great British button-based graffiti pride from more passers by. #knitthecity

Button-loving locals

The crowd goes wild! There are buttons everywhere! You can hear the cheers from space!

The capital may be covered in a whole herd of anti-graffiti grumbling security guards and they still got the gold! Woo hoo!

But hang on. This is a Biathlon? Isn’t that two events? Where’s the second part?

Oh. Bugger…

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - security

Ello, ello, ello…

People making the public happy with unauthorised art? We can’t have that now can we?

On your marks (grumble), get set (mutter), goooooooooooo (sigh).

Whodunnknit Pix: Security! Boring grumpies make us destroy our Great British button love after an hour. Sigh. #knitthecity

Going, going, almost gone…

It was fun while it lasted and I think we can all agree the girls did a grand job for Great British covert craft.

What a shame there will be nothing left to show for it…

What’s this? They’re leaving the field! But there are still buttons in play! It just goes to show you can’t keep a good bit of graffiti down.

Thanks for joining us for what has been a quite frankly edge-of-your-seat heroic handmade event.

Please take care on the way out and make sure you take all personal belongings with you. We wish you an amazing remainder of your Olympic week.

Great British Button Biathlon 1 - abandoned heart

Button-based personal best

The Great British Button Biathlon was craftstormed by Knit the City’s Deadly Knitshade and The Fastener on the grounds of the Shell Centre on London’s South Bank on August 5th 2012 during the 2012 London Olympics.

We’d like to thank the kind security guards for letting us get away with it as long as they did and all the lovely London visitors who cheered us on and helped add the odd button. It was a fabulous day despite the pouring rain. 

A large raspberry for Shell for not letting us leave it up.

And huge congrats to all the inspiring athletes of Team GB whose amazing Olympian efforts make seven hours of messing around with buttons seem easy. What a fantabulous time to be in London this is.


  1. love this !

  2. Awesome! So disappointed I won’t be able to see it when I’m over in October. But by then, you may have created something equally awesome. Now to start thinking about what bits of woolly wonderfulness I’ll bring over in my suitcase and leave on the streets of London.

    • Yay! Come over and spread the sneaky stitch! London is a fabulous city to graffiti in. :)

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