Knitting Up a Storm – Sofia Hruby

In Stephanie’s previous blog post, Sensor VENTURA is now transitioning to Knit VENTURA.  Instead of creating a computer program incorporating the arduino board and a temperature and humidity sensor, Ms. Jo introduced us to a really neat and unique idea: yarn graffiti.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with yarn graffiti, it’s a form of graffiti or street art that uses yarn and crocheted pieces instead of chalk or paint.  For our project, we are essentially making a big quilt to cover the trailer.  This idea was inspired by Magda Sayeg, who is considered to be the mother of the yarn bombing art trend.  What started as a simple cover she made for a door handle in 2005 has evolved into a huge movement.  She has traveled all over the world covering statues, buses, stairwells, pipes, street signs, buildings, and even a trailer!!  What’s ironic about Ms. Sayeg’s work is that she rarely does any of the knitting herself.  She’s responsible for studying the object she is tasked with covering and goes to work picking out patterns and color combinations.  Once her design is complete, she gathers a team of “knittas”, friends and volunteers, who complete the knit work on looms that can crank out up to 5 feet of knitting in one hour.  Ms. Sayeg continues to grow the yarn graffiti trend she started ten years ago.

An example of Magda Sayeg’s work, picture found on her website:

In addition to being a really cool project, yarn graffiti-ing the trailer would also require us to learn a new skill – knitting.  I can’t say that knitting is completely new to me since my grandma taught me how to knit several years ago.  However, it’s been long enough since I’ve picked up needles and yarn that I had to watch several youtube tutorials to get the hang of knitting again (Good Knit Kisses videos were very helpful).  This is a brand new skill for Stephanie.  She is making great progress despite have no prior experience.

Stephanie casting on her first row of knitting
Stephanie casting on her first row of knitting, photo taken by Sofia Hruby

We were planning on incorporating some sort of experimental aspect to this project (testing if knitting relieves stress, thus lowering heart rate) but Stephanie and I have our hands full with installing the paneling, re-wiring, knitting, and reaching out to the community to find avid knitters to contribute to our project.  So far we have several of the girls from our school’s knitting club on board as well as a few teachers.  I’ve even involved my grandma who taught me how to knit.  Since we are limited on time and resources, we plan to incorporate knitted pieces found at thrift shops into our design.  This method of thrift shopping for knitted pieces is used by Magda Sayeg herself.  I’ve also contacted Ms. Sayeg to inquire if she’d be willing to collaborate on this project, since she is based here in Austin, but she has yet to reply.  Stephanie and I are really excited about this project and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

3 thoughts on “Knitting Up a Storm – Sofia Hruby

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  1. This project is so cool! It’s great that we’re gathering our community together by knitting; it’s one of my favorite things about the craft. I’m wondering how the knitted cover of the trailer will hold up outside; is there a special spray or treatment applied to yarn graffiti? I’ve seen Ms. Sayeg’s work (well, her “knitta’s!” work) around town awhile back, and noticed the covers didn’t stay up for a long time… I’m guessing due to the weathering they have to stand.

    Anyways, I’m so excited to see how the trailer cover turns out! It’s going to be awesome to have a huge knitted creation that members from all over the school community contributed to. If you guys get bored with garter and stockinette stiches, my favorite place to learn new ones is {} 🙂
    –Karrie Newton

  2. This is so swanky! I didn’t even know that yarn graffiti was a form of art, I think that it’s really interesting and amazing that you and Stephanie are incorporating this form of art with the trailer. I understand that you have your hands full with this project and dropped the whole “experimental” aspect of this but I think it would intriguing to see if knitting, which is a physical and mental skill, could trigger any kind of psychological change in a person’s mind. For instance, if the two of you are knitting enough to cover a large portion of the trailer (which will obviously take up a chunk of time no matter the level of skill) how will this affect the way you see other forms of art or see more abstractness in the various forms of art around you. I think I’m stretching this too far but I still think incorporating a small experiment in this process would be cool.

    Since there are various knitting styles and ways of design for when it comes to yarn grafitti, what techniques are you incorporating?

    Check out this website if you guys are stuck on something knitting wise!

    -Trinh Ha

  3. I agree with Karrie, this is a really cool project. I understand what you mean Sofia about wanting to do the other aspect about the knitting realizing stress, but being a a little constrained by time. This is not only a good way to beautify the trailer but also to bring the knitting club together and shed more light on them since they don’t always get the credit they deserve. Are you guys thinking about doing a certain color scheme or anything like that? Do you guys think you’ll be able to finish this creation by the end of the year? I too am excited to see how it turns out!

    ps I was also reading about some organizations that have to do with knitting, like this one specifically Knit-A-Square where each individual knits a square and the organization sends it to Africa where they knit a blanket for the children.

    -Lourdes Cruz

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