Knitting ‘graffiti’ hits Philadelphia

    It’s called yarn-bombing, when rogue crafters surreptiously knit cozies for street furniture.

    In random parts of downtown Philadelphia, a new kind of subversive street art is bright and fuzzy. Guerilla knitters sew custom-tailored socks and wraps onto street signs, parking meters, and even trees.

    It’s called yarn-bombing, when rogue crafters surreptitiously knit cozies for street furniture.

    Jessie Hemmonds knitted a 15-foot cozy for a tree in Rittenhouse Square. It lasted about three days. She hopes her new creation will remain unmolested: a multi-colored sock for a bike rack at Reading Terminal.

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    Does she consider what she does graffiti?

    “I would say yes. I love the idea of putting an image outside in public. But I was worried about saying it, because I never knew whether the word itself would get me in trouble. So I avoid it. But if I were to answer it I would say, yeah.”

    Fortunately for Hemmonds, the director of the city’s Anti-Graffiti Network disagrees. Thomas Conway says sewing a scarf onto a bike rack is not considered graffiti.

    Sue Nelson, a tourist from Santa Monica, California, says it brightens up the street.

    “I had a painting teacher who said, “if one color is good, two is better,” Nelson said. “The more color the merrier.”

    There have been other sightings of knitted flowers and wraps on street signs around town, but the vulnerable nature of yarn makes them short-lived.

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