civilized disobedience part 1

below: one of Knit the City's projects in London, image courtesy of Lauren O'Farrell


The majority of knitters who practice civilized disobedience prefer anonymity, apparently officials don't distinguish between knit work embellishing a bridge and spray painted graffiti. In the UK, groups espousing knittivism or craftism, a form of militant knitting activity, use knitting in mass demonstrations or urban interventions. Knit the City Yarn Corps,  integrates knittivism with the Japanese art of amigurumi, or tiny knit figures. Comprised of Lauren “Deadly Knitshade” O’Farrell among others, the cartel operates “from a secret underground wool-lined bunker in the heart of the busy metropolis of London... In our formative days each of us were beckoned into shady underground doorways by our mysterious hooded mentor. There we were relentlessly trained in ways of the yarnstorm...” Members of the Knit the City Yarn Corps, even unaffiliated Twitter knitters gather for yarn actions, knitting a revolution one stitch at a time. Knit the City has various books, see: 

Magda Sayeg, the 36-year-old Texan credited with inventing yarn-bombing in 2005, may have been the first, but ever since I've lived in NYC the Gandhi statue in Union Square wears a wool scarf in winter, varying from year to year, granted it wasn't until late in the 90's that the scarf was hand knit, by whom, who knows. Anyway, Sayeg knit a yarn cozy for the front door handle of her boutique, and had such a positive response, that she conceived of using knitting to tag public spaces. "To my surprise it caught the attention of people passing by my store. So I decided to go out and tag things in the urban environment and that's when I really saw the reaction. People were getting out of their cars and taking pictures, which was really seductive for me."

Yarn bombing, graffitistrickbombe, yarn storming, strickguerilla, has become a popular art form, and worldwide, knitters have been using this medium for aesthetic and political purposes, garnering the attention of the press and public. Marianne Joergensen's pink tank cozy protested the war in Iraq.  Even the august Economist featured an article about yarn storming actions to protest nuclear energy and nuclear power's future in Germany following the disastrous 2011 tsunami that virtually destroyed the Fukushima plant north of Tokyo. see:

above: yarn shop in Gothenberg, Sweden, Deisy, adorns the scaffolding with knit.below: Finnish designer, Sara Paloj√§rvi constantly takes action such as this recent project:

Even a flicker site devoted to knit graffitti or yarn bombing  features worldwide participants including this adorable automobile cozy see:


  1. Hi. Can you please drop me an email at You made a mistake in your article with your Knit the City info and I want to correct it. Thanks.

  2. Picture 3 is not actually Aberdeen in Scotland. I live in Aberdeen and that is not a picture of Aberdeen.


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