Finding members of the local yarn bombing community is not easy. They like their anonymity—not because of fear of retribution, but for fear of attribution. While they don’t employ voice enhancers or masks during interviews, yarn bombers do enjoy a certain level of mystique. After all, if they were known, it would take away the magic.
Yarn bombing has become a popular street art medium; a gift to the community from flash mob-style fiber artists. Locally, it began in 2009 with a group called B.Y.O.B. (Bombing Yarn Over Bend). They are self-described as “a tightly knit, loosely wound group of people seeking to add to the beauty of Bend though the cozy medium of fiber.”
“A few of us, brought together by our love of cyclocross, thought it would be fun to yarn bomb a cruiser bike, which we later named the Lanterne Rouge, in celebration of the first Cyclocross Nationals in Bend,” says E.G.J., one of the founders of the group.
The next year, the group of female sports enthusiasts and fiber artists auctioned a yarn-bombed cyclocross bike for charity. Then, they set their sights on larger, more public installations, including lantern posts, bike racks, and the Redside Trout sculpture by Miles Addison Pepper at the Simpson and Colorado Avenues roundabout. The good-natured group plots their random acts of color from Gossamer The Knitting Place on Galveston Avenue.
In 2015, a splinter group started a new tradition. Early Valentine’s Day morning, Waldorf School of Bend families placed over 600 felted “heart bombs” on the trees of a two block stretch of downtown Bend. Each knitted delight carried a request to “take one and pass it along.” School children, families, teachers, and residents of a local retirement facility spent six weeks hand-making hearts for this event.
Say the right words at Gossamer and you can be included in the next “bombing event.” All are encouraged to join the fun; as long as you love knitting and have a penchant for the mysterious.